Walking the Gores Brook – Dagenham’s mythical river

A comment on a recent YouTube video alerted me to plans by Thames21 to uncover the section of the Gores Brook running beneath the ground in Parsloes Park where the river rises. Loving the eastern rivers as I do, this was a tantalising invitation.

Although culverted in the 1930s, the buried sections of the river in Parsloes Park are marked on my 1950s Geographia atlas. Also using manhole covers as a guide I followed the course of the buried river to the edge of the park before finding it running above ground in Goresbrook Park. This gentle stream then crosses beneath Ripple Road, and past Dagenham Asda where the 145 bus terminates.

1950s Map of Parsloes Park showing the Gores Brook
View of pylons at Dagenham east London
confluence of the Gores Brook and the Thames
confluence of the Gores Brook and the Thames

From here our riparian adventure plunges us into a dramatic post-industrial landscape created by the ghost of the Ford Motor Works at Dagenham as we walk along Chequers Road, crossing Dagenham Dock Station and passing beneath the A13 road. Turning into Choats Road, we once again meet the Gores Brook and follow footpath 47 to the point where the Gores Brook makes its confluence with the Thames at Horse Shoe Corner.

What’s the oldest street in London and other Questions

Some of the questions answered in this video:
Have you ever visited Norwich? Would you ever consider filming there?

I know you are working on a new book, do you have any idea when it will be available and is there a place we can pre-order it from?

What is the best season for psychographic walking? (For me Sept and October in UK are primetime flâneur action with changing light and autumn colours) cheers!

If you had to up sticks and move to a different UK city, which one would it be and why? Cheers!

“you clearly adore your collection of books – but are there any in particular that hold a special place in your heart and why”

If you could suddenly be transported back in time during one of your walks, where would you wish to be and in what century ?

I was wondering if there was a specific place/road/ building, you would like to travel back in time to see built or the early evolution of? Keep up the great work.

I was wondering what tips you had for going on long walks, e.g. are there any good ways to prevent getting blisters on your feet (always a problem I find).

Have you ever thought about taking a dog along on one of your walks?

What do you find to be the biggest challenge when making one of your videos?

do you have a favourite type of architecture and if so, what is it?

Within Greater London, which are your top 3 Lost River Valley Urban Or Suburban sites? A precy of extant stuff on these updated would be good! Or comments on London’s brewing industry?

Which North American cities would you like to explore?

Hi John, do you have a favourite stretch of coastline in the UK?

Have you ever felt unsafe on any of your walks.

Have you ever gotten lost, or found yourself in a spot that wasn’t what you expected at all , on your walks ?

For all these walks you need good shoes … Could we find out what shoes are you walking in John?

Are any urban myths from London past or present actually true? And does it matter?

do you lament the loss of so much architecture in London when you see the awful buildings that get put in their place?

Do you see London in major decline?

Why do you walk everywhere, When you can just drive?

Any plans for a video on the History of the White City?

Do you do hikes and traditional mountain hikes?

Are there any short film/ documentaries on the horizon in a similar vain to the London Perambulator?

Links mentioned in the video:
Links to videos mentioned: Oliver’s Berlin blog https://thelostbyway.com/2022/08/ghosts-of-berlin.html

Abandoned Farm at Twyford Abbey with Nick Papadimitriou https://youtu.be/EtKvaXSJui8

History of Wanstead Park https://youtu.be/ANSy1J3wB-Y

Walking Roman Watling Street https://youtu.be/TSNHLQkP7VI

Shepherd’s Bush History https://youtu.be/Qcxg8LvJK-0

A stroll along Lea Bridge Road

Sometimes local strolls are the most gratifying. Particularly on late Sunday afternoons. If I don’t engage with my immediate territory for a while, I feel a sense of absence – a disconnection. So a couple of weeks ago I took off along Lea Bridge Road, half-planning to turn through Argall Way industrial estate then head across the marshes for Walthamstow. But in the end I got waylaid by the melancholy air hanging around the derelict stands of the Hare and Hounds Ground, once home to Leyton F.C – founded in 1868 and going out of business in 2011. I first stumbled across this relic in 2015 and since posting those photos here on this blog a number of clubs have come forward willing to take on the ground, with the funds to do so. However it continues to lie dormant, the undergrowth slowly consuming the seating, the pitch still a car park.

Abandoned Leyton F.C ground, Lea Bridge Road
Abandoned Leyton F.C ground, Lea Bridge Road
Abandoned Leyton F.C ground, Lea Bridge Road
Abandoned Leyton F.C ground, Lea Bridge Road

After paying homage to the Carnegie Library, George Coles’ Savoy Cinema, the Leyton Borough electricity substation, and the new Lea Bridge Station – my walk fittingly finished by the Lea Bridge itself over the River Lea.