2. Great Amwell to Rye House
Walks along the New River
By Nicholas Blatchley
Click on the thumbnails above for full-sized images
Just downstream of the village, Great Amwell’s War Memorial stands beside the New River, and further on is Amwell Marsh Pumping Station, built in 1884, which raises 3.8 million gallons of water a day from a depth of 392 feet. Here, the river flows alongside Amwell Lane, and this stretch of the riverside footpath is one of the best made up of the entire length, bringing us to the village of St Margarets (properly Stanstead St Margarets).
After flowing under Station Road, the river’s lined for a little way by woodland, its charm broken only by the bridge carrying the A414 across it. Just before reaching Hoddesdon Road, the New River passes the Rye Common Pumping Station, built in 1883, which used to double as a water treatment plant.
After flowing under Hoddesdon Road on the outskirts of St Margarets, the New River flows between houses on the right bank and woodland on the left. For the first stretch, this is the small but delightful St Margarets Community Woodland, then a buffer of trees and bushes separating the river from the railway.
The footpath follows the left bank as far as the Cranborne Road bridge, on the northern borders of Hoddesdon, and then switches to the right up to Rye House. By the time it reaches the Rye Road bridge, the New River is running right alongside the railway, with the River Lea just on the other side of this. It’s only a couple of minutes detour to cross the bridges and have a look at the 15th century Rye House Gatehouse and the site of the house where a plot was laid in 1683 to assassinate Charles II.