6. Theobalds to the Borders of Enfield
Walks along the New River
By Nicholas Blatchley
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After the footpath bridge, the path switches to the left bank, where it remains to the end of the Hertfordshire stretch. Passing under the Lieutenant Ellis Way bypass (named after an American World War 2 pilot who crashed nearby, believed by many to have sacrificed his life to steer his stricken plane away from the town) it reaches the Theobalds Lane bridge, which now leads chiefly to the Tesco Country Club.
Theobalds was once the estate of a royal palace, owned first by the Cecils and then by James I and Charles I. In the 19th century, the estate was owned by Sire Henry Meux, and his wife was said to have kept a menagerie on the island just downstream of Theobalds Lane.
The river gives views across fields to Waltham Cross, including the huge News International printing works built recently, and comes at last to the M25, where an aqueduct topped by a broad pedestrian bridge takes the river safely across.
The M25 approximately follows the border between Hertfordshire and the London Borough of Enfield, formerly in the county of Middlesex, so this is where I’m ending my walk down Hertfordshire’s New River. It’s not the end, though, since the river flows on through North London, as it has since Myddelton completed it in 1613, to its eventual destination at New River Head in Islington.