A walk along Loxford Water and Seven Kings Water

A river walk following two tributaries of the River Roding

Our walk starts at Barking Park where the Loxford Water flows beside the boating lake. Barking Park opened in 1898 and is fine example of a late Victorian park. We then walk along South Park Drive where the Loxford Water flows along a culvert to South Park, where the river starts its journey to the Roding.

Our walk along the Seven Kings Water begins on the other side of the lake crossing Green Lane and then walking along High Gardens and Aldborough Road South to Seven Kings High Road. The river leads us into Westwood Recreation Ground where we see the Seven Kings Water flowing above ground for the first time. Our river walk then takes us through Seven Kings Park, around King George’s Hospital and across the A12 Eastern Avenue. We have to leave the side of the river for a while here as it runs across inaccessible land and rough ground and our route takes us up Hainault Road. We are re-united with the river in Elmbridge Road, Hainault where it flows into the Garden of Peace cemetery. We walk parallel to the course of the river along Huntsman Road to Peregrine Road where we again find the Seven Kings Water.

Loxford Water

Loxford Water at Barking Park

Loxford Water

South Park Lake

The last section of the walk takes us into Hainault Forest Country Park where the Seven Kings Water has its source in the lake. Thanks to Paul who suggested this walk in a comment on my video of a walk along the Cran Brook, and Diamond Geezer for his description of the course of the Seven Kings Water and Loxford Water.

Pimp Hall Park & Nature Reserve – a journey back through time

This is a short film I made about Pimp Hall Park and Nature Reserve at Friday Hill in Chingford.

Commissioned by Stow Film Lounge.

The film tells the story of the 16th Century Dovecote in Pimp Hall Nature Reserve, which is the surviving remnant of Pimp Hall Farm. We also explore the Nature Reserve and the wider Pimp Hall Park at the top of Friday Hill. Alan Butterworth from Friends of Pimp Hall Park, and local historian David Boote tell us about the history of the site and some of its secrets.

This film will be screened on Sunday 6th September as part of a programme of outdoor Cycle-In Cinema screenings at Pimp Hall Park by Stow Film Lounge.

Tickets and information can be found here

Credits: Made by John Rogers

Featuring: Alan Butterworth and David Boote

Archive and stock footage: Prelinger Archive, Videvo/dravreh

Map: © OpenStreetMap contributors https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

Music: Keeping Sacred by Emily A. Sprague

Ambiment – The Ambient by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Filmed on 16th August 2020

A walk from Kensal Rise to Primrose Hill

A walk through the streets of northwest London starting at Wrentham Avenue in Kensal Rise and ending at Primrose Hill

In this video I also introduce my project in collaboration with Kensal Rise Library for Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture in the Brent Biennal

If you scroll back through the archives of this blog (stretching through the ether to 2004) you’ll see that much of my ‘study’ of London came from random spontaneous drifts through the city being guided by my feet and finding whatever I found. This is still my primary method of mapping out the city even though much of my ‘work’ is produced from more focused expeditions. This walk was partly a return to the practice of drift or dérive, where I dispensed with my everyday concerns and allowed myself to be “drawn by the attractions of the terrain” (Guy Debord). However I was unable to completely dispense with the reality of the 34 degree heat of the afternoon.

Heading out of Kensal Rise via Wrentham Avenue, I was keen to pay a visit to Tiverton Green, a location that several people I’d interviewed in the area had mentioned. It’s said that on a clear day you can see the North Downs.  I then followed Brondesbury Park to Salusbury Road, Queens Park , then turned along Lonsdale Road to Brondesbury Road.

Kensal Rise

where the River Westbourne crosses West End Lane

We cross Kilburn High Road which forms part of the Roman Road of Watling Street, believed to be a much older trackway. In West End Lane I could sense the contours of a river valley and discovered once at home that the buried ‘lost’ river of the Westbourne or the Kilburn (Kilbourne) that rises in Hampstead, flows beneath Watling Street near this point on its way to make its confluence with the Thames at Chelsea. “In the lush meadows of Westbourne, near the highway to Harrow, the citizen of London could once see dragonflies and loosestrife, or, lying face down in the buttercups, tickle a brace of trout against the coming Friday” (Alan Ivimey, Wonderful London).

Kensal Rise walk

Passing Abbey Road and Priory Road, with its resonances of Kilburn Priory, we work our way to Finchley Road and Swiss Cottage before turning off Adelaide Road down Harley Road to Primrose Hill. This venerated spot was once the meeting place of Bards and Druids (the modern version) and is one of the protected views of London. For all of those more celebrated resonances, it was a white stone on the side of Barrow Hill that drew me in. Did it mark the possible burial site of fallen warriors in some epic battle of the distant past, or was it more prosaically a boundary marker?

Out into the fields beyond Epping Forest

Forest and Fieldpath ramble from Loughton to Epping Long Green via Loughton Camp, High Beach, Honey Lane Quarters and Upshire

During this latter stage of the lockdown I’ve been craving the countryside. I’d walked out from Leytonstone to Upshire through Epping Forest then on to Epping a couple of weeks ago, but wanted to strike further beyond the forest. I had my sites set on Epping Long Green and the footpaths that lead across the fields to the outskirts of Epping town.

The Route

This walk starts at Loughton Station and enters Epping Forest from Forest Road. We then cross the Loughton Brook and follow the Green Ride a short distance before picking up the Three Forests Way to Loughton Camp. From Loughton Camp we continue to follow the Forests Way through High Beach then along the General’s Ride to Honey Lane Quarters to take in the fantastic view of the hills around Waltham Abbey. The path then leads us across Woodridden Hill and along Woodredon Farm Lane through the Woodredon Estate. We cross the M25 then take the Green Lane to Upshire and on to Temple Hill in Warlies Park. After a short rest and check of the map, the hike continues to the Boudicca Obelisk in Obelisk Field and then across the fields of Newhouse Farm following the Three Forests Way to Spratt’s Hedgerow Wood. The route continues north through Parvills Farm to Epping Long Green, where we enjoy great views across Nazeingwood Common.

Epping Green

We stick to Epping Long Green to the village of Epping Green then take the footpath beside Epping Green Chapel. This path leads south to Epping Upland and the 13th Century All Saints Church. On the other side of Takeleys Manor, a 16th Century moated manor house, is the footpath that leads us through fields of borage to the outskirts of the town of Epping in Essex.

Distance = 15 miles

A walk through Ilford along the Cran Brook

This walk follows the course of the Cran Brook through the streets of Ilford in East London to its source near Barkingside.

This was a walk suggested by Vincent Goodman who emailed me after watching my video of a walk along the Loughton Brook. We had a great chat on the phone and Vincent sent me a map he’d made of the course of the Cran Brook and photos of its source near Barkingside Station, and the point where the brook makes its confluence with the River Roding.

The video starts on Wanstead Flats, my approach to the confluence of the Cran Brook and the Roding where my walk would start. We pass through Aldersrbook, a model Edwardian suburb that is seen as a great example of the vernacular revival. Down Empress Avenue we look for the site of the Redbridge Nuclear Shelter near Empress Avenue Allotments. These allotments were used as a location in the Mike Leigh film Another Year. The path takes us around the outer perimeter of the Wanstead Park, through the Epping Forest Exchange Lands and near the site of an isolation hospital.

Beneath the shadow of the pylons is the River Roding and we progress into the streets of Cranbrook. The Cran Brook makes its confluence with the Roding on Ilford Golf Course which I was unable to access, but the course through the streets here is marked on the map in the video. The name, Cranbrook has its earliest use in 1233 as Cranebroc. We follow the Brook along Empress Avenue, Ilford, through an area called The Wash and into Valentines Park. Vincent told me this was the location of the Wash Lodge where travelers would pay a fee to the Wash Lodge Keeper to wash their horse and carriage before continuing their journey.

Cran Brook

Valentines Park boating lake

Valentines Park was featured in an episode of the radio show I produced and co-presented with Nick Papadimitriou on Resonance FM, Ventures and Adventures in Topography. It’s one of my favourite London parks. Author Thomas Burke described it as ‘The Eastern Queen’ in his 1920’s book, The Outer Circle – rambles in remote London. The Valentines Estate had existed before Valentines Mansion was built in the 1690’s for the widow of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Park once had a Lido which was demolished in 1994 and it is said to be the inspiration for the Small Faces song Itchycoo Park. Roman era burials were excavated in the grounds of the house in 1724. The Cran Brook can be seen flowing through the Park into the boating lake.

From Valentines Park we walk along Quebec Road, then go along the A12 Eastern Avenue and turn into Horns Road. We can see the shape of the river valley from Netley Road, Birkbeck Road and Perkins Road where the river runs beneath the Sainsburys Car Park. We follow the alleyway that takes us over the Central Line behind Newbury Park Station and into Oaks Lane. From Oaks Lane we go into a field that leads us to where the springs gurgle to the surface giving birth to the brook not far from Barkingside Station.

Many thanks to Vincent Goodman for sending me a map showing the course of the Cran Brook and for suggesting this walk.


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