Waltham Abbey Walk
Enjoy a circular walk around Waltham Abbey and Lee Valley Park on this lovely route. The walk passes the interesting historical sites of Waltham Abbey Church and the Royal Gunpowder Mills before a visit to the delightful River Lee Country Park with its canal side trails.
The walk starts at Waltham Abbey Church where you can explore the remains of the abbey. The present church dates mainly from the early 12th century and is an example of Norman architecture.
The walk heads north from the church along the pretty Cornmill Stream. The slow-moving stream and Old River Lea form a freshwater habitat with one of the most diverse invertebrate fauna in Essex. Eighteen species of dragonflies and damselflies have been recorded including the uncommon and nationally declining white-legged damselfly. Look out for a variety of birdlife in this area too.
Just to the west of the stream you will find the Royal Gunpowder Mills. Set in 175 acres (0.71 km2) of parkland the site consists of 21 buildings of major historical importance with interesting exhibitions and interactive displays.
The walk continues north towards Holyfield, passing attractive woodland areas before entering the River Lee Country Park. The lovely 1000 acre park has a series of footpaths and cycle trails running between the numerous lakes and watercourses. It's great for wildlife watching with lots of different water loving birds to look out for. Keep your eyes peeled for Bittern, Smew, Water Rail and Shoveler on the lakes or in the reedbeds.
The walk picks up a section of the Lea Valley Walk, heading south through the centre of the park along the River Lea. Around Holdbrook you turn east to return to Waltham Abbey.
If you would like to extend your walk you could continue south along the Lea Valley Walk and visit the Walthamstow Reservoirs and the wildlife rich Tottenham Marshes nature reserve.
The London Loop passes just to the south of Waltham Abbey. You could pick this up and head west to visit Whitewebbs Park which has some nice woodland trails to try.
The Pilgrimage Way long distance cycling and walking trail also starts in the town.
Waltham Abbey Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Waltham Abbey Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Waltham Abbey OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Waltham Abbey Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Walks near Waltham Abbey
- Lea Valley Walk - A super walk with a series of delightful waterside sections along the River Lea
- London Loop - Also known as the London Outer Orbital Path, this walk takes you on a tour of the parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London
- Epping Forest Centenary Walk - Follow the Epping Forest Centenary Walk fom Manor Park to Epping on this pleasant 15 mile walk
- Walthamstow Reservoirs - Enjoy a waterside walk or cycle along this series of reservoirs in the Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve
- Whitewebbs Park - This pretty country park in Enfield has some nice footpaths to follow around the parkland and woodland
- Pilgrimage Way - This is a largely traffic free cycle ride or walk from Barking Abbey to Waltham Abbey via Three Mills, Limehouse Basin and the Olympic Park.
The route starts at Barking Abbey and heads through Plaistow and Mill Meads to the Limehouse Basin
- Hadleigh to Stratford Legacy Walk - A walk created to celebrate the 2012 Olympic games in London
- Rye Meads - This RSPB bird reserve in Hoddesdon has some nice nature trails to try.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The circular Theydon Bois Oak Trail can be picked up on the eastern side of the nearby Epping Forest at Theydon Bois underground station. The challenging trail visits Ambresbury Banks Iron Age Fort and a Deer Sanctuary near the village.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Essex Walks page.