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Golden Circle

Quick guide

Distance: 5.5 miles

Terrain: Tarmac and gravel paths -

Total elevation gain: 82ft

Cycling time*: 33 minutes

Calories burnt*: Around 200 calories

Starting point: Lee Valley VeloPark, Abercrombie Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3AB

This six mile route starts at the stunning Lee Valley VeloPark then heads north taking in the local marshes. This route will help you discover the historical links the filter beds and marshes have for the city of London. 

Along the route you’ll find…

Lee Valley VeloPark

Built for the London 2012 games and host venue for the track and BMX events this iconic building now offers visitors the chance to enjoy four cycling disciplines, track, road, BMX and mountain biking all in one location.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre

Just before you cross over the bridge from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park you’ll see the fantastic union jack hockey pitch of Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Used during London 2012 for the Paralympic tennis events and subsequently remodelled to include two water-based hockey pitches as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts.  

Eton Manor

The powerful poem ‘Eton Manor’ by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy adorns one of the external walls at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, bringing the rich history of this site to life. This unique sporting venue also houses a war memorial that serves as a tribute to Eton Manor Club members who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars. The memorial was restored as part of the work on the venue.

Hackney Marshes

These marshes are steeped in history and have seen many developments over the years leaving us with the areas you can see today. The north and south marshes are renowned as the home of Sunday league football and boast 82 football, rugby and cricket pitches. The area is owned and run by London Borough of Hackney.

Middlesex Filter Beds 

This once industrial area used to house filter beds that provided clean water for London. Following an outbreak of cholera in 1852 these filter beds, along with a sister set at the WaterWorks Centre were built to ensure that Londoners had access to clean water to help with the prevention of disease. The filter beds were in use up until 1969 when they were closed. Since their closure they’ve been turned into a wildlife haven offering a thriving mix of open water, reedbeds and wet woodland habitats. It’s a great area to spot amphibians, dragonfly and damselfly plus a whole host of different species of bird. Information boards around the site will allow you to find out more.

Walthamstow Marshes

This riverside nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest site and is very important for certain rare plants and other wildlife. The site today is a fragment of once extensive marshes and traces of Ice Age river channels can still be see when the water table is high. Looking to the skies you may see Kestrel, Linnet, Reed Bunting or Green Woodpecker soaring above, or on the water Grey Heron and Little Grebe to name but a few. On the ground look out for Bee Orchid, Yellow Ice, Penny-Royal and even the very rare Creeping Marshwort.

Look out for our information boards around the site which will give you more information on this fantastic area.

The Walthamstow Wetlands is just next door to the marshes and lets you extend your cycle ride.

A V Roe - underneath these arches Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe built his tri-plane and undertook flight experiments on these very marshes. In July 1909 the first all-British powered flight was made right from these marshes by A V Roe and his team. The plane used in this flight is preserved at London’s Science Museum. A blue plaque is placed on the viaduct to commemorate this achievement.


  • Lee Valley VeloPark

  • Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre – 2 minutes from the route


  • Lee Valley VeloPark

  • Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre – 2 minutes from the route

Alternative starting points

  • Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre – E20 3AD - sat navs, please use E10 5SQ

  • You can ride these routes on any type of bike but the best ones to use would be either a mountain or hybrid bike.

Please cycle responsibly in the park, for more information check our cyclists code of conduct.

*Cycling time and calories burnt are calculated using a cycling speed of 10mph and a weight of 10 stone.

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