The New River is a fascinating part of the heritage of London and Hertfordshire. A man-made aqueduct that was completed in 1613, taking nine years to construct, it has acted as a vital source of fresh drinking water for Londoners ever since.
Today it supplies nearly 10% of the capital’s drinking water. It draws its waters from the River Lea (at a sluice called New Gauge House in Ware Hertfordshire), from fresh water springs at Chadwell, and from various boreholes and pumping stations along its course. It now terminates at two large reservoirs in Stoke Newington, North London.
The New River has been under the ownership of Thames Water since 1973 and the company has invested heavily in the New River Path to make it accessible to the public. It is now possible to walk the entire length of the river, albeit with small detours at certain stages. Along the way there is an abundance of things to see and enjoy including wildlife, flora, architecture and some great local pubs.
Over the last few decades, the New River Action Group has campaigned successfully to preserve the New River’s walkways, and protect it from developers. For more information see: newriver.org.uk.