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New River

Out and about, discovering the countryside of the city, you begin to realise that sometimes the further into the centre of the capital you go, the more natural and tranquil these landscapes become. And this is certainly true of the New River Path.

The loveliest part of the river walk is deep into Islington - an area of North London that stretches into the busy commercial centre of the capital city.

New River

And there is something else very special about the path. Canal and river paths across London have become busier with cyclists and joggers, and families try to keep their young children from the edge of the water which is dark and deep.

But New River is shallow – if a child fell in, the worst thing that would happen would be a bit of a soaking – and the path is quiet with people taking a gentle stroll.

Even the wildlife seems more relaxed with water fowl that know they have hiding places and can disappear beneath bridges and branches.

Fish can be seen in the shallow water and there are toads, frogs and newts that can be spotted in the warmer months but even in late Winter there are welcome signs of Spring here.

Late February at New River

New River is maintained and watched over by authorities as it was in the past. A round brick building provided shelter for the person whose job it was to keep swimmers and anglers away from here in days gone by.

The river watchman's shelter

Trees provide shelter from the weather and from city living that is all around here, some growing horizontally and leaving their trunks across the water when they are cut back.

A tree bends over the water

Sunlight trickles through the canopy and the water reflects it giving us a shiny escape into the countryside with its meandering paths and wooden fencing.

New River Path

And yet this waterway is neither new nor a river. It was made over 400 years ago at the time of King James I - an aquaduct to bring fresh water from the countryside to London.

The New River Path is a short walk from Highbury and Islington Station along Canonbury Road. Along the way perhaps stop off at the Garden Square. The parks and squares of London do not feature so much on this website as they are often integral to the development of urban construction, designed and artificial - and many of the squares are private and padlocked. But his one - or rather two squares since they are on either side of the road - is always open and worth a visit.

Perhaps enter one on the way there and another on the way back; this walk can be enjoyed as a there-and-back-walk.

Highbury and Islington Station

North London map


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