As Adele says “Blame it on the River Lea.” But which part? It’s a long river. If you want to do a River Lea walk do you head for the bit around Chingford, Tottenham, Clapham, the Hackney Marshes, Bow Creek? I had a look along all these sections and decided the most interesting was the section around Three Mills.
So you start in Bow, and before you even get to the river you see some of this area’s fascinating history. Gandhi, Gladstone, Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffragettes, the Bryant & May Match factory, to name but a few. And then once at the river, you see beautiful 18th century Three Mills. As well as its interesting history and charming architecture, it’s also where Masterchef is filmed! Perhaps you’ll see Greg & John, or Monica! And perhaps the most spectacular piece of architecture in the whole of East London can be seen from here too. This Victorian pile looks like a place of worship but is actually something very different!
And as you head along the river you see the huge changes being made to the area due to the “regeneration” and “legacy” of the 2012 Olympics. There are locks that changed the flow of the waterways, the spectacular Olympic swimming pool and the controversial Orbit art structure and London stadium.
And as well as following the River Lea, you also walk the towpaths of The Three Mills Wall River and Waterworks River, and also see the confluence of the River Lea, Prescott Channel, Bow Creek and Channelsea River. You also glimpse the City Mill & Bow Back River too, and you hear why there are so many waterways in this area.
And towards the end of the walk you stroll through lovely wetlands. The transformation from Victorian working river, to Olympic site to wetlands full of birds and insects is dramatically sudden. And from here you see the River Lea disappearing into the distance, becoming the rural river that most of it is.
Start: Bow Church DLR station
Finish: Stratford International DLR/Railway station