River Lee Country Park
1000ac/405ha SSSI (part), SPA
Grid ref: TL 377 033 (click for o/s map)
Available also via books and apps – click here for details.
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The gravel beds of the Lea Valley were left behind by retreating ice at the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. There has been massive extraction since the 1920s and this has created a huge complex of lakes and marshes. The River Lee Country Park is at the northern end of the valley, an area of unbroken countryside stretching from Waltham Abbey to Broxbourne.
Several watercourses run through and it has a complex of lakes in former gravel pits, a network of surfaced paths and picnic areas, and several hides. Some of the lakes are used for angling or water sports, and some are managed for wildlife and busy with swans, ducks and grebes. It's a tremendous – in every sense – place to visit, especially for birds.
For car parks on the Essex side leave the M25 at junction 26 and follow the signs to the Lee Valley Park. Car parks are also signposted from the B194 to Nazeing. For the Cheshunt car park, turn off the A10 on to the B198 and follow signs from there SatNav: EN8 9AQ.
Train to Cheshunt station (Liverpool St line). Several bus services serve the area: routes 505 and 250 should be most useful for access from Essex.
Accessible at all times. Information Centre at Waltham Abbey open daily 9.30am–5pm Easter to end October; Tuesday–Sunday 10am–4pm November to Easter.
Winter and migration periods for birds; late spring through the summer for wetland wildlife.
Many paths are shared-use paths, intended for pedestrians and cyclists: most of these are also suitable for wheelchair users.
Leaflets available from the information service: tel. (01992) 702200, email firstname.lastname@example.org or web www.leevalleypark.org.uk.