Oyster Spoke 4 of 8, Routes into London for hybrid bikes using Oyster stations.
- Total Distance: 38.2km
- Total Ascent: 17m
- Highest Point: 29m
- Lowest Point: 0m
Navigating the Lea Valley
The River Lea is a major tributary of the River Thames. It has a long association with navigation, as the marshes of Walthamstow have produced a dugout canoe from the Bronze Age and parts of a Saxon barge. It became important for the transport of grain from Hertfordshire, but navigation of its southern-most tidal reaches of Bow Creek were difficult due to its tortuous meanders. Following disputes over water extraction and transport access, the route was canalised in the 1770’s to provide access to the Thames at Limehouse.
Follows the Lea Valley Navigation from Rye House to Waltham Abbey. Continues on Route 1, diverting via Walthamstow Marshes, before reaching the Olympic Park and the Regents Park Canal. Finally follows Route 13 to Tower.
The route starts from Rye House station on Route 61, but stays on the western towpath of the Lea Valley Navigation, when Route 61 heads off to join Route 1. At the Fish and Eels pub, it uses a road bridge to change banks, swapping back after Broxbourne. It continues on this bank for the length of the Lea Valley Country Park, crossing again at Enfield, just before merging with Route 1.
It continues on Route 1 southward, briefly crossing to join a parallel service road, before rejoining the towpath. Temporarily it leaves Route 1 to head through Walthamstow Marshes, passing the visitor centre and cafe, before picking it back up to head to Hackney Marshes with its renowned sports pitches and eventually the Olympic Park.
Here it finally leaves the Lea Valley Navigation, picking up the Hertford Union Canal briefly to enter Victoria Park. After passing through the park, It follows the Regents Canal southwards through Mile End Park, before leaving Route 1 just before Limehouse Basin, where Route 13 is joined to head around Shadwell Basin to the Tower.
In addition, there are other descriptions of the route, namely a video guide to the route, a route-card with turn-by-turn routing and a information leaflet with maps and points of interest: