Typical Duration: 1-2 hours
End: Tottenham Hale station
Route: National Cycle Network 1
Congestion, exhaust fumes, traffic-clogged lanes and stressed commuters…forget it! The Lee Valley cycle route serves up a much more appealing perspective of London as it winds its way through a patchwork of parks, marshland and waterways. Starting at the Greenwich foot tunnel, the cycle path journeys through the Isle of Dogs, Victoria Park, the legendary Hackney Marshes and eventually comes to an optional end at Tottenham Hale station.
Slopes, inclines and tricky bits on the Lee Valley Cycle Route
Despite the numerous parks and marshlands, this is very much an urban cycle path. Tower blocks, warehouses and the scaffolding for the Olympic Village rise and hover in the distance. Although the ride starts at Greenwich, the Greenwich foot tunnel is actually a pedestrian tunnel so you will need to push your bike through to the other side. The tunnel is no problem at all as it is 1217 feet long and lined with bright lights.
The cycle path through Docklands is on-road however this eventually gives way to traffic free tarmac and grit surfaces once you reach Regent’s Canal. There are no hills at all and after cycling through the initial streets, the route becomes very child friendly.
Look out for…
Mudchute Park and Farm
Nestled in a little oasis of calm in the Isle of Dogs, Mudchute Farm is well worth a visit as it is London’s largest inner-city farm and is completely unspoiled by the development of Canary Wharf. Locals range from lamas, to bulls, to docile donkeys just kicking back. The café in the farm serves a great cream tea and even better garlic mushrooms on toast. Entrance into the farm is free which is also a bonus.
Victoria Park is one of London’s best kept secrets with its tree-lined carriageways, lakes and ornate bridges. It is the oldest municipal park in the world and was opened to the public in 1900. The western section of the park contains a picturesque lake with a fully functioning fountain which makes a great picnic spot.
Hackney Marshes is the world famous home of grassroots football. With over 100 pitches on offer, this area has earned its living as having Europe’s largest collection of football fields. All around the edge of the park there are paths and strips of woodland. The cycle path follows the River Lee Navigation on the west side, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of nature.
Springfield Park is an attractive park initially built on the grounds of three 19th century houses, one of which still survives and serves as a delightful café known as Spark Café. Spark Cafe is a convenient spot to rest as its slightly elevated position in the park offers fine views across the River Lea and Walthamstow Marshes.
Necessary information for the Lee Valley Cycle Route
Getting to and from this cycle route is no trouble at all. Trains from Tottenham Hale back to Liverpool Street in central London are extremely frequent, and bikes are allowed on board apart from weekday peak times. If you need to get back to Greenwich from Liverpool Street, you could either cycle or push your bike the short distance to London Bridge station, where trains to Greenwich run every 10 minutes.