Running from Canary Wharf to Broxbourne (Lea Valley)

I'm staying with friends in Broxbourne this weekend and I need to fit in a 20 mile run at some point. I'm wondering how practical it would be to run from work (Canary Wharf) on Friday evening up the Lea Valley. I have never run any part of the route and I need to know how easy it would be to route-find. Has anyone done it, or any part of it? Would be grateful for any advice.




  • Head in towards London and pick up the A10 until after the Totenham one way system. Then pick up the river lea from there. You really don't want to be running the lower section on your own.
  • Not sure why you wouldn't take the towpath the whole way? I did almost exactly the same run in reverse on Sat (see thread title waltham cross to limehouse). image

    You do need to cross the canal/river a few times but as long as you remember what you're looking out for or have google maps it's easy:

    1 get to limehouse cut from narrow street via the park

    2 go up long straight section of canal eventually reaching a steep humped pedestrian bridge between 2 waterways. Go over it.

    3 at Three Mills cobbled bit cross the bridge left to start running up the left side of canal you were on.

    4 once you to Stratford high street (after a section under a bridge you come up a gently inclined new path to a bridge) Cross bridge right and turn left bringing you onto the right hand side of the same canal.

    5 a long stretch here now up past olympics keeping on right hand towpath until after hackney marshes. Ignore bridge overhead just after junction with other canal just past olympics. Nearest edge of hackney marshes is about 7k from CW.

    6 you are forced to cross onto left side next. Continue up here, past princess of wales pub. 

    7 Next cross to the right again onto a wide open area of land just after the lea valley ice centre - aircraft hanger type building on your right. Path becomes earth track running next to canal but not actually towpath for a bit.

    8 cross back to left again on pedestrian bridge at next opportunity about 1k? after step 7. You're now about 10/11k in.

    9 Now a long stretch up to well signposted Stonebridge Lock where you cross again to right side.

    10 another long stretch up to well signposted Enfield Lock. Cross to left side and continue up to waltham cross (25k)

    11 next bit i don't know but looks like you just keep goiong up same path for another 5k.

    Those last stretches are quite quiet with industrial/warehouse bits on your left and a high embankment on your right.

  • I don't know what time you leave work, but I run the Broxbourne to Waltham Abbey section most days and the lighting isn't good. The Tow path is really close to the waters edge! If the light is a problem you can run on the paths along the A1170 which is the old A10 the whole way from Cheshunt to Broxbourne, which I sometimes do as a change. 

    If you don't want to stick to the tow paths and the light is ok there are some lovely diversions around the lakes which make your run longer!  When you get nearer Turnford follow the footpath signs for Broxbourne. 

  • I am a Broxbourne girl and like Joanne has said there are some lovely diversions around the lakes that make the run longer if need be... lighting would be an issue though in the evening. The Lea Valley area is good for running and it might be better to fit in a 20 miler whilst in Broxbourne ? You could also go from Broxbourne to Hertford which is roughly 10 miles along the river then turn back?

    Have a good run whatever you do.


  • Sounds a fun area to run. Might try out some of those diversions next time round!

  • Many thanks for the help Sheeyut! You make it sound perfectly do-able. I intend to leave work at 5ish so I expect to be running until about 8. I expect it will be quite dark towards the end so I will take a head torch which hopefully will be enough to prevent me falling in the river.

    I put together a route:

    I'll let you know how it goes.


  • Hope the run goes ok, and I hope you get good weather as the Lea Valley really is one of the most beautiful places to run. One other thing that I thought about whilst running yesterday is there's a small bridge you will go under about 1.5K before Broxbourne and it's really, really narrow with the waters edge so close, it's also cobbled and even in broad daylight I have to watch my footing! 


  • Many thanks for the advice. I had an extremely good run. I'm amazed that I could run off-road from Docklands almost all the way to my friends' house in Broxbourne. I saw very, very few people. It's not a route that I would recommend for a lone female!

    I certainly needed the head torch for the last couple of miles though.


  • Glad it worked out! It does get quieter the further up you go I think.

    Also depends on the day/time of day: on Saturday I went up to hackney marshes around 3.30 and what with something on at the White Building and groups of tourists at Three Mills, near the Olympics and on barges it was about as busy as I'd ever seen it up that stretch!

  • What was the lower section like below Totenham? I know they've done a lot of work round Stratford for the olympics but are the other bits still pretty rough?
  • It didn't feel particularly rough at any point - just very, very quiet. The area around Stratford was fine.

  • I'm glad you enjoyed the run. I run there most days and love it, so if you get a chance to run in the daylight please do! 

    Did you get an hassle of the geese or swans? At certain times of the year they can be really evil!!! 


  • I'm thinking of doing this (well the reverse) next weekend. Anyone aware of towpath blockages or the like between the Limehouse and Broxbourne? Last time I went up that way the path was blocked about Tottenham lock but it's supposed to be clear by now. Beyond that - can't see any stoppages in the usual spots.

  • Tottenham lock now clear. image

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