New River Walk
One of my favourite walks is the one to one of our favourite parks, Clissold Park. It is the New River Walk.
There is a joke about the New River. And that is that it is not new and it’s not a river. Irony is a big deal around here. I guess that sort of thing is typically British. But I find the irony of New River Walk very wonderful.
New River was built a very long time ago to supply water to London from the Amwell and Chadwell Springs in Hertfordshire. It was started way back in 1604, but things didn’t really get going until 1609 and then it was finished in 1613. So when we walk along New River, we are walking along something that was first built over 400 years ago! And it still supplies some of London’s water! 400 years later!
It was all down to another famous Huw … well, a Hugh … Sir Hugh Myddleton. And there’s a statue of this Hugh in Islington Green. He headed up the first New River Company as well. And lots of the streets around the area are named after people who were part of the New River Company. The New River was built to supply water to London from the Amwell and Chadwell Springs in Hertfordshire.
But most of New River is now disused or underground and a lot of it is now disguised as a series of gardens. All of these gardens have their own names and make up the whole of the “New River”. But my favourite part is New River Walk. It really is such a lovely place and when we are in New River Walk we feel like we are in the middle of the countryside! Most of the part that we walk through, known as New River Walk, was actually established as a park in 1860, but on the original imprint of the New River. It has two streams (they are really very long ponds) and ducks and moor hens and coots and squirrels and even a heron! And around this time of year they will all be having lots of little ones. And the keepers put big bales of barley straw in the pond for the birds to nest on. And there are little bridges and fountains (which is good for the water and birds alike). It’s magical!
And there are two dog-friendly pubs that mark the beginning of New River Walk and the middle (in between the two ponds). So if the weather ever turns suddenly, we take the whole walk into the pub (and we have!).
And then the River continues on in our beloved Clissold Park and beyond. One day we might do the whole path, but I will need to make sure we pack a lot of treats … and maybe a buggy … and some bus tickets actually. It is a very long walk!
We have lots of fun stories from New River Walk. One time, Deputy walked into a tree. Another time, Jeff was gazing up at Human and almost fell into the pond (saved by his harness), but he didn’t even seem embarrassed or worried that his feet were wet. Instead he was rather pleased that this manoeuvre was met with cheese and cuddles. Aubrey regularly deposits his “presents” so far into the undergrowth that we have to wait for Human to go on a mission to retrieve them. And Huw tells me that, one time, Finnegan poked his head into the very long grass to sniff (which is how he would spend every walk) and a cat jumped out and gave him a huge fright! But he just smiled and bundled on.
And we see people writing in there, reading in there, meeting in there, breaking up in there, making up in there. That’s the magic of New River.
New River Walk … the best old pond around.
Categories: Howard's Endz