Hertford Union Canal

What’s the score?

At just over a mile long this canal is perfect for a gentle waterside stroll along the southern edge of Victoria Park.

If you want more, it connects to the Regent’s Canal in the west, and the River Lea in the east. But it’s also rewarding to simply amble the short stretch keeping your eyes peeled for towpath treasures.

Tell me more …

The canal opened in 1830 to link the Regent’s Canal and River Lea / Lee Navigation. The idea was to provide traffic travelling down the Lea with a shortcut to the Thames. Instead of having to travel along the tidal, meandering Lea, boats could nip down the Regent’s Canal. However, it was never a commercial success and in the 1850s a dam was even built across it to stop the Regent’s Canal losing water!

Today it is maintained by the Canal & River Trust and at the start of 2021 it was drained for essential repairs – check out this BBC article for some of the ‘treasures’ that were found!

Great For …

  • Spotting the tiny artworks of local artist Jonesy (find out about him on Inspiring City)
  • Checking out the ever-changing graffiti of Hackney Wick, you’ll regularly see artists at work once you’ve passed under the A12 (check out Hackney Wick Creatives)
  • Visiting Growing Concerns Garden Centre – it has an entrance off the towpath and started life as a residents’ growing club
  • Peeping into the back of Chisenhale Gallery and Studios
  • Connecting up to Victoria Park in the north, Mile End Park in the west and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the east

Facilities …

Access …

Steps down onto the canal can be found:

  • where it meets Regent’s Canal
  • where Grove Road crosses the canal (currently closed for refurbishment)
  • on Gunmakers Lane, right by the entrance to Victoria Park
  • at Parnell Road Bridge
  • at Wick Lane
  • via Roach Road on Fish Island
  • where it meets the River Lea at White Post Lane

The above are all marked on the map with turquoise pins.

Hackney Wick overground is less than 5 minutes from the eastern end of the canal. The nearest tubes are Bethnal Green, Mile End, Bow Road – all approx. 15 minute walk.

No. 8 bus runs down Old Ford Road bringing you right next to the canal. The no. 276 and 488 can drop you at the eastern end of the canal. The no. 277 and 425 can drop you near the western end of the canal.

You can walk or cycle along the Regents Canal and the River Lea to link up with the Hertford Union Canal.

Find out more …

The Canal & River Trust have more details and there is a walk on Go Jauntly of about 1 hour, suitable for families.

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