30 April, 2007

The uncompleted parts of the New River Path

O traveller stay thy weary feet,
Drink of this fountain pure and sweet,
It flows for rich and poor the same.
Then go thy way remembering still
The wayside well beneath the hill
The cup of water in his name.

There are a few poems relating to water and some in particular associated with the new river. I started at the wrong end, which means I’m walking uphill, or I was today at any rate. Starting at the New River Head in Roseberry Avenue the new river is a bit of a fiction here. It has not run to the head since 1920 when the Metropolitan Water Board put their new HQ there. They built labs in 1939 and a pipe appears to run through the visible new river possibly taking water to the lab for testing. All these buildings are now, of course, luxury flats. Following the course is not too difficult as the river runs through streets up to Clissold park on large central reservations and even runs exposed through another park called New River Walk. The walk is quite flat as one would expect, first leading me up the back streets of Islington with a dad and his two sons playing with mini motos, which I thought was a bit much in the park, but aren’t they great?

The course then follows a path up Petherton Road, again under a large central reservation and there’s not much to tell until it comes up to the surface again at the Castle, an old pumping station that is now the new New River Head. The path skirts round two reservoirs and then follows the new river round to Finsbury Park. The river flows on an embankment here and it is strange to see houses below a river in this way. When I got to Finsbury Park I decided it was time to go home, although it was so flat I felt I could have walked to Amwell.
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