Walks along the New River
As the information boards along its course tell us, the New River is neither new nor a river. It’s an aqueduct, built to bring clean water into London, and is four hundred years old. Exactly four hundred years, in fact: the opening ceremony was held at Islington on 29th September 1613.
More information about the New River’s history can be found in this article, but to celebrate the anniversary of one of Britain’s great feats of engineering, I’ve done a number of walks covering its entire course through Hertfordshire. Some of the walks have been upriver and others downriver (and occasionally both in one walk) but between them they've covered the whole length from New Gauge near Hertford to the borders of Waltham Cross and Enfield, where the river enters the former county of Middlesex, and they're presented here as a single walk downriver. I’ve taken pictures along the way of important features of the river, significant landmarks along the river, old and new, and the towns and countryside it flows through on its way to New River Head in Islington.
This is the story of the New River’s journey through our county.
Many thanks to Geoff Cordingley and Ian Fisher for a few photos I wasn't able to get. If you have any extra information, memories or corrections about the places shown, you're very welcome to leave a comment in the articles.
Further reading: Michael F Kensey – London’s New River in Maps, Volume 1 (Part 1) c.1600 to 1850, Robert Mylne’s Survey, 2012
Robert Ward – London’s New River, 2003, Historical Publications Ltd
Michael Essex-Lopresti – Exploring the New River, 1997 (3rd edn), Brewin Books
See also https://shelford.org/walks/newriver.pdf