Fishers Green Foray

Fishers Green Foray

Distance 12 miles
Terrain Tarmac and gravel paths – all weather surfaces
Starting point Fishers Green car park, Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 2EF (height barrier)
Quick guide  
Download PDF version of this route
GPX file of this route
Total elevation gain 220ft
Cycling time* 1 hour 12 minutes
Calories burnt* Around 430 calories
Things to note This route involves crossing sections of road

*Cycling time and calories burnt are calculated using a cycling speed of 10mph and a weight of 10 stone.

This route takes you around the outer edges of the 1,000 acre River Lee Country Park and shows the diverse areas that make Lee Valley Regional Park simply unique in the area. From how we manage our farmlands, to the wildlife that makes the area its home and the historical significance of the area during WWII - this ride will touch on it all.

One of the longer rides in our collection of routes but with plenty of stopping points if you need to take a break, it’s not a race just an idyllic place to pedal away the time.

Along the route you’ll find…

The Glade Sculpture

Before you embark on your ride take a quick look at one example of the sculptures that you’ll find in River Lee Country Park. The skilful blending of metal and wood forms the basis of this fantastic sculpture which represents the hidden world of the minibeast. From the tall flower protecting the ant to the smaller flora that grows closer to the ground, all these make up the minibeast’s habitat.

Lee Valley Park Farms

This site has a varied history and you’ll never believe was once a scrapyard! Bought from the Coop and with extensive redevelopment works undertaken the farm, along with its sister farm, Holyfield Hall Farm, were opened to the public in 1977. Now a popular open farm where visitors can see a whole host of animals, from pigs to sheep, meerkats to Bearded Dragons, all can be found behind their doors. Café and toilets are available on site.

Holyfield Hall Farm

This working, commercial dairy, arable and beef farm is open to the public as part of Lee Valley Park Farms’ visitor experience. This farm uses modern farming practices to ensure that it performs well but they don’t forget the about the environment either. They’re entered into the Government’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme which helps them ensure they’re doing the best for the wildlife that lives around the farms. You’ll see as you cycle along each field has a strip around the edge, which is at least 6m wide. This strip is planted with a special mix of wildflower and grass seeds for the local wildlife to feast on. These strips aren’t ‘farmed’, no farm animals graze it and no sprays are applied to it, its left to go completely wild, only being cut once a year to encourage next years’ growth. And we don’t forget about the trees and ditches, a maintenance programme is in place to manage these areas, in the best way for the wildlife – you might catch a glimpse of a Water Vole in the ditch by the farm buildings or see Barn Owl hunting the hedgerows in search of dinner. The farmland runs right up to Nazeing with other small pockets of land around the park. You may even spot cattle grazing whilst you’re out and about, these are there as natural lawnmowers to help maintain environmentally sensitive areas of the park.

WWII remnants

All throughout the park there are reminders of the importance of the area during the war. You’ll see the remains of a pill box in the field, just one of the many that were dotted around the area. As you climb the hill from the farm towards Nazeing you’ll notice how high you are and the views that you’ll see. This was a location of search light battery whose lights roamed the skies looking for enemy fighters as they approached London. The River Lee acted like a set of landing lights for the enemy bombers and they’d follow it all the way in and out of London.

Clayton Hill

With a pond at its heart this open space is a great area to stop and catch your breath. See what lurks in the ponds and make friends with the ducks who make this area their home.

Glasshouses

The Lee Valley is renowned for its acres of glasshouses that can be seen shimmering in the sunlight and is often described as the cucumber capital of England! 80 million of them are grown in the area each year along with 50 million sweet peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and varieties of lettuce. Much of this produce is sold in the major supermarkets throughout the country and it’s said that the rare chalk stream filtration of the Lee Valley’s water adds a sweeter taste to the produce.

Old Mill & Meadows

This site is steeped in history and was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Over the years, as you can imagine, the site has changed a lot and following a devastating fire in 1949 there’s now little left of the mill apart from a section of 16th century floor. However the area still bustles with life, whether it’s on the pathways or the river that runs through it.

Silvermeade

This area is a network of ditches, pools and reedbeds and is home to a colony of Water Vole, an endangered and protected species in the UK. The charismatic creatures live above and below ground and even have entrances to their tunnels below the waterline. As well as the Water Vole the site is also excellent for dragonflies and in the summer months cattle can be seen grazing the fields acting as our lawnmowers. Plants that thrive in these damp meadow conditions are the Cuckooflower and the striking pink Ragged Robin that nestle amongst the grasses and sedge. The long grass next to the water’s edge is a great place for Grass Snake to live who often hunt their prey along the edges, and they’re not afraid to take dip in the water either.

Lee Valley White Water Centre

White water rapids on the edge of London you’d never have thought it. But following the London 2012 Games that exactly what we’ve got! This fantastic venue offers rafting, canoeing, hydrospeeding and hot dog sessions – everything that will ensure you get wet and have fun. The site has a licensed café so makes a great refuelling point during your ride, take it easy and watch others take on the rapids.

Gravel pits

River Lee Country Park never used to look like this and is the result of man’s intervention. The deposits of sand and gravel, which were left by ice sheets as they retreated at the end of the last ice age, were highly valuable to the construction industry. After extraction of the gravel, pits were either in-filled using landfill or left to fill with water providing the network if lakes that you’ll see as you cycle along. These lakes form a Site of Special Scientific Interest in River Lee Country Park and are part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area, recognising their national and international importance for wildfowl.

Hall Marsh Scrapes

This area is a prime example of the habitat that has been created as a result of the regeneration following the industrial past of the area. As a section of floodplain grasslands this is a great place to spot Little Egret, Lapwing and other wading birds. On the other side of the water you’ll see a fence, behind this fences lies the 170 acre Royal Gunpowder Mills. Used for the production of explosives from the 17th century right through until it ceased operations in 1991. Water was crucial to the both manufacturing process and the transport of explosives and the site has its own manmade canal network which is fed from the River Lee. During WWII the site didn’t expand its output very much as the site was too easy for enemy bombers locate. The site has played a huge part in the countries wartime history over the years, to find out more visit their website royalgunpowdermills.co.uk

Hooks Marsh

As you wind your way along the river watch out for signs of the secretive Otter. Living along this stretch they can sometimes be seen swimming in the waters or you may even spot signs that they’ve been there. Information panels along the route will help you know what to look for and tell you more about this great creature.

Fishers Green

An area of great beauty Seventy Acres Lake offers a snapshot of the wildlife that you’ll find throughout the area. A viewing platform near the waters’ edge allows you to get close up views of the waterbirds on the lake. If you want to have a closer look the Bittern Information Point, staffed by volunteers, is open throughout the year and allows you to see out across the lake at the less obvious wildlife. Our knowledgeable volunteers will guide you and tell you who’s who in the wildlife world. Live wildlife cameras look out over the lake throughout the year providing a close up look at the changing wildlife through the seasons such as wintering Bitterns and Common Terns throughout the summer breeding season.

Toilets

Refreshments

Alternative starting points

You can ride these routes on any type of bike but the best ones to use would be either a mountain or hybrid bike.

Please cycle responsibly in the park, for more information check our cyclists code of conduct.

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