70 – Lea Valley ‘Monks & Meadows’, Waltham Abbey loop 6.7 miles – 26th June

In short: a real ‘wow’ factor of a walk. Familiar return path but all new way out. Lovely meadow and river paths and views. Plenty of free parking; good clean public toilets and delightful cafe. 2 hrs 20 mins walking + 30 mins pitstop.

We start this lovely walk at the Waltham Abbey Gardens car park where parking is free but shade is at a premium on this lovely warm day. Nearest postcode to here is EN9 2ES.

From here we walk towards the fabulous rose garden – back towards the Abbey itself and over to our left.

We have a quick look, take a couple of colourful photos and walk out of the garden in the direction of the Abbey – but first taking a brief detour to the Parish Office building on our right where there are public toilets available when it’s open (as it is today).

After making use of the facilities we take a sharp right on the path past the building towards a bridge over Cornmill Stream.

Here we cross and continue straight on under the underpass ahead and out into Cornmill Meadows. We turn right here to briefly follow the fence line until we reach a kissing gate which we go through to pick up a grass path running alongside the river.

This lovely path has sublime views – the skies are particularly stunning today – and we pass a couple of ponds to our left as well as the stream on our right.

We stop to admire a family of moorhens and chicks on the stream…

…and views and skies all around.

Finally we reach a weir and here we bear right across a bridge and then left onto a path keeping a fence line strictly on our left, also bearing left at one point until we reach another kissing gate.

Here we continue on to the corner of the fence where we turn left at a field edge.

According to the walk directions we should continue diagonally across the field here but that is simply not possible as the crops are densely planted so we continue (left from the corner) and then right at the next field corner to reach a stile on the far side.

In actual fact the stile has collapsed but we walk through a gap onto the lane here, Fishers Green Lane, where we turn left.

Here we pass some lovely properties and cross two bridges to the Hooks Marsh car park where we turn right to follow the familiar path alongside the river. At this point we are deviating from the published walk in order to head to the Lea Valley Farms for a deserved pitstop!

The path meanders along with a beautiful bird-filled lake to our left until we reach a bridge to our right which we cross to the Fishers Green picnic spot and car park. Continuing straight on out of the car park we take the path heading towards the Lea Valley Farms.

After 5 minutes or so we take a turning off right to the Farms’ car park and the building on the far side with the lovely cafe – and it’s super outdoor terrace. After using the facilities and enjoying delicious homemade scones and tea we retrace our steps back to Fishers Green car park, across the bridge and left back the way we came to the Hooks Marsh car park alongside the river.

At this point we continue straight on alongside the river to our left – a very familiar path but in the opposite direction from our usual route.

This path is apparently called Waltons Walk (which I never knew before) and is delightfully shady on such a warm day.

Wildflowers and birdlife abound all along here – most enjoyable.

Finally we reach the main road where we turn left to return to the Abbey – after crossing over at the traffic lights, then across a zebra crossing and straight on at a roundabout.

We turn left into the Abbey gardens just in front of the church itself, and then immediately right across a bridge into the gardens themselves through a gap in an ancient wall.

We make our way back through the gardens to the car park. A really super walk on a lovely day – all in all thoroughly recommended!!


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