Hertford Union Canal to Lea Valley Park

Canals offer car-free cycling with no hills Credit: Jeremy Hughes

For a longer and more rural ride, you can take the Hertford Union canal to Hackney Wick where it joins the River Lea. From the Thames to Hertfordshire, the river is part of the Lee Valley Park, where as well as around 26 miles of easy car-free riding, you can also visit bird reserves, a golf centre, a sports centre, riding centre, ice rink and, from 2012, the Velopark. This is all within the first few miles. The park stretches out beyond the M25. More wildlife, especially water and wetland birds, can be seen both alongside the path and in the reservoirs, marshes and meadows. You can also visit historic Waltham Abbey, which many believe to be the final resting-place of King Harold.

Shorter canal loop

(Cycle Guides 4 and 7)

If you don't have the time for a long ride, you can combine the Limehouse Cut, with the newly installed floating towpath, the River Lea and the two canals to create a circular ride, taking you through bth Victoria and Mile End parks.