Walk 1723 - printer friendly version
Broxbourne Circular via Roydon Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 10.3 miles / 16.7 km
Ascent - 350 feet / 106 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference TL374072
Lat 51.7466580 + Long -0.0111412
Postcode EN10 7AW (approx. location only)
A walk that explores part of the Lea Valley in Hertfordshire. The route passes five canal locks, three pubs, a church, a farm, a marina, and a few lakes. While the route as far as Roydon follows canal towing paths, it then mostly follows fields and open countryside with a bit of elevation in places and some resultant landscape views, before returning to the canal for the last mile or so to re-join the start point. Further to my 'Bishop's Stortford to Roydon walk', the concluding part of the Stort Navigation route between Roydon and Feilde's Weir is included in this route, albeit in the other direction.
From Broxbourne railway station, cross the car park parallel to the canal and turn left across the bridge. On the other side, cross the road and walk down Old Nazeing Road. Cross a footbridge over the canal on the left where the first of the three pubs on the walk is seen ahead, The Crown. For the next few miles, the route follows the canal towing path of the River Lee Navigation as far as Feilde's Weir Lock. En-route, two other locks are passed - Carthagena Lock and Dobb's Weir Lock. In around a hundred metres after Dobb's Weir Lock comes the most scenic section of the walk so far at Dobb's Weir. Here a combination of the weir, the river, tree reflections and various walkways and a footbridge make for a suitable place to stop for a break. The Fish and Eels pub overlooks the river and there are public conveniences and a cafe nearby. Next follows a section of canal towing path with giant pylons seen and Rye House Power Station is apparent behind a metal fence on the left, its three metal towers being a conspicuous landmark seen at different points on the route.
Leave the towing path at Feilde's Weir Lock with its lock keeper's cottage, and cross a footbridge signposted 'River Stort'. Trending north-east from here, the route leads via an access bridge across the river at Feilde's Weir, and on past Lower Lock which has a national cycle network off to the right. There is a noticeable change in the scenery around this point as to the right there is an open aspect of sloping fields with trees.
Note that after about a hundred meters beyond Lower Lock, there is an option to make the walk shorter by omitting the 'Roydon Loop' (my name for it). Take a path that leaves the canal by turning sharp south east up past 'The Grove', a copse.
The main route leads past Brick Lock, with Roydon Marina seen beyond, and on to Roydon where the railway station is seen on the other side of the canal. Turn right at the T junction and when the church appears on the right, walk past it to the churchyard where a finger post with the logo for the Three Forests Way (3FW) appears and, for much of the next few miles, the 3FW logo is a recurrent theme which is significant since much of the route between Roydon and Roydon Hamlet does not have the appearance of a public footpath. Instead, it typically borders field edges with a hedgerow alongside.
A wide track past Temple Farm runs closely in parallel to the canal once more in the opposite direction to that passed earlier. Leave this track on the left when a wooden post next to a copse indicates the continuation of the route through the copse. You are now walking in parallel to the canal but in the opposite direction, with the canal below you to the right. The path comes to what appears to be an abrupt halt at a field but if you walk straight across this field you will find the continuation of the route through The Grove.
Alternatively, instead of following the path ahead through the copse, you can turn left uphill to skirt around the edge of the copse and this way brings you to the same point as the path that emerges from the copse.
If walking through the copse, turn sharp left uphill to emerge from the copse at a field with a hedgerow on the right, and later another hedgerow on the left when crossing the next field at the end of which, the 3FW logo appears again next to a stile at a narrow road, Low Hill Road. The route continues on the other side of the road, a short distance along, and once over the next stile, an expansive view opens out to the right. Between here and Roydon Hamlet mostly follows the edge of fields with fine views to the right as you are now part way up a hill. Trending south east and following way markers for the 3FW leads to a road, Hamlet Hill, at Roydon Hamlet. Turn left along Hamlet Hill and follow the road round to the right for about a quarter of a mile and leave it at Tinkers Lane on the right when the Green Spice pub appears on the left (Green Man according to Streetmap). Follow this lane downhill and then along the bridleway which branches off from it. When a path appears on the left with a church on the skyline of a sloping field, this is where you leave the 3FW. Continue along the main path approximately due west, across fields with a couple of tight squeezes between encroaching vegetation and then a road leads between nursery buildings to a main road. Follow the road to the left and take the next turning on the right, Meadgate Road, which passes a lake on each side of the track before re-joining the outgoing route at the canal. Where a sign says 'Windsurf School', turn left and follow the canal back to Broxbourne station.