Lift your spirits with a walk by the River Lee

Lee2015: Near Ware, Hertfordshire, River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Lee2015: Near Ware, Hertfordshire, River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Dark and mysterious: wild in the country
River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Sombre beauty: muddy winter water
River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Romance of the river: life on the LeeValley Park
Bird ID sign: River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Bird ID sign at Amwell reserve on River Lee Navigation in the Lea Valley Park
Lapwing and coot, River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Lapwing and coot at Amwell

SPRING and sunny weather: this weekend is a good time to walk off the weight of winter.

Take a 40-minute train ride from Hackney to the ancient town of Ware and you can be strolling the mostly well-surfaced path by the Lee/Lea in rustic Hertfordshire.

Marvel at the mysterious fast-flowing river as it sparkles in the sun, mysterious if only because it has pollution problems yet is rich in wildlife, even otters.

Make merry with your smartphone: stunning scenery offers irresistible photo ops.

Further photo ops for the nature-minded abound at the Amwell Nature Reserve. Migrant birds flock there, along with serious-looking bird-watchers (who make for amusing pix).

As for lunch, looming up on the left (west) side at EN11 0EH as you amble south will be the 1700s Rye House pub, opposite a handsome gatehouse, all that remains of the 1400s Rye House (01992465151, 0845 6770 600).

Another pleasant Broxbourne riverside pub (also chain-owned) is the Crown.

If you prefer to pack a lunch, plenty of riverside seats and benches are provided along the Lee.

If you want to take time out on the water, phone ahead to book a paddle or electric-boat break at a hire outfit: one is listed at the end of this article.

If you are tiring, you can leave the river path at several points for railway stations, including Rye House at EN11 0EG. But aim for Broxbourne at EN10 7AW, about 7km from Ware, less than two hours’ walk.

If you feel energetic, return to London by train from Cheshunt station,  5km from Broxbourne.

The rail fare will have cost you the price of several pints: Hackney Downs at E8 1LA to Ware off-peak will cost about £9 return (but you may be able to surf up a lower fare. Be sure to book it from the limit of your Oystercard range).

David Altheer 060315

 Amwell Nature Reserve, just S of Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 9SN, River Lee/NavigationLea Valley Park 160115 ©
Watch the birdy, and the watchers: Amwell nature reserve

* Amwell Nature Reserve, Amwell, Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 9SN (08456 770 600) 

* Rye House pub, opposite the 1400s Rye House ruins, Rye Road, Hoddesdon, Ware, Hertfordshire EN11 0EH (01992 465151) 

* The Crown, Old Nazeing Road EN10 6QT (01992 462244)

* Lee Valley Boat Centre, Old Nazeing Road EN10 6LX (01992 462085)

Map: Lee Valley Regional Park Authority offers this PDF. Good luck with that.

* Some trains on the route have disabled areas in the carriage but they are rarely marked on the outside of the train. Shame on the owner of Abellio, Dutch national railways.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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