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River Lee CP

4000ac/1619ha  SSSI (part), SPA

Grid ref: TL 377 033 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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The River Lee Country Park is an area of unbroken countryside stretching north from Waltham Abbey to Broxbourne. Several watercourses run through it 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. Seventy Acres Lake also regularly attracts wintering bitterns, which can be viewed from the Bittern Watchpoint hide.

Just to the south lies Hall Marsh Scrape, where redshank, little ringed plover and lapwing breed regularly, and teal, shoveler, wigeon and snipe visit in winter.

The dragonfly sanctuary at Cornmill Meadows attracts an unuually wide range of dragonflies and other insects, including the hairy dragonfly


Several car parks serve the country park on the Essex side. All can be reached by leaving the M25 at junction 26 and following the signs to the Lee Valley Park. The Showground car park is just north of the A121 between Waltham Cross and Waltham Abbey. Cornmill Meadows, Hooks Marsh and Fishers Green car parks are all signposted from the B194 to Nazeing.

Train to Cheshunt station from Liverpool St for River Lee Country Park or to Waltham Cross for Cornmill Meadows (bikes welcome). Many 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 info@leevalleypark.org.uk or web www.leevalleypark.org.uk.

Photo © Tom Heenan