Tale of Two Rivers
Distance: 9 miles
Terrain: Flat using a mixture of surfaced pathways and roads
Total elevation gain: 121ft
Cycling time*: 54 minutes
Calories burnt*: Around 325 calories
Starting point: Dobbs Weir car park, Dobbs Weir Road, Hoddesdon Hertfordshire EN11 0AS (height barrier)
The route is the tale of two rivers following both the River Stort and the River Lee Navigations as it takes in RSPB and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust nature reserves, the picturesque riverside villages of Roydon and Stanstead Abbotts and the historically significant building of Rye House Gatehouse.
Along the route you’ll find…
Three manmade lakes sit in this wilder, less visited area of the park. The lakes were created as a result of the sand and gravel industry that existed in the Lee Valley. Cattle are used to environmentally graze the eastern side of Glen Faba Lake during the summer months ensuring that, together with other site management operations, it remains a haven for all kinds of wildlife.
Rye Meads Nature Reserve
This wetlands reserve is run by the RSPB and offers fantastic opportunities for spotting a whole host of wetland birds from any of the ten hides which are on site. Entry is FREE but car parking charges apply.
As the route takes you under the A414 you’ll emerge into Stanstead Innings which comprises of wildflower meadows, lakes and wet woodland. Just like Glen Faba, the site was once used for gravel extraction and, as the machines moved off and the pits were allowed to fill with water, the wildlife moved in. The bird hides on the site allow superb glimpses of the warblers, waders and wildfowl that have made this area their home. Day/Night ticket fisheries are run on the lakes which offer challenging Carp angling – if you’d like to fish here you’ll need to book your swim in advance from the Fisheries Bailiff (call 07908 948 066).
Rye House Gatehouse
This Grade I listed building is all that remains of a once fantastic fortified, medieval, moated manor house which was one of the first brick built buildings in the country. A vibrant history surrounds the manor house that once stood here, from The Rye House Plot which was an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Charles II, through acting as a workhouse for the for poor to being the Victorians ‘go to place’ to take in landscaped gardens, hold banquets or just enjoy the delights of the countryside. The Gatehouse has limited opening hours, but it’s well worth climbing the winding staircase to take in the view over the Lee and Stort Valleys if the building is open. Just down the road you’ll find the Rye House Stadium where the likes of Lewis Hamilton started their racing careers.
History and a great open space go in hand in hand at Dobbs Weir. The remains of the old, historically important manual gated weir can still be seen in front of the replacement ‘Auto Weir’. The weir helps to control water levels in the waterways at times of heavy rain protecting locals from flooding. The open spaces adjacent to the River Lee Navigation make a scenic end to a cycle ride which has had water at its heart for the majority of the way.
Dobbs Weir car park
Dobbs Weir car park
Stanstead Abbots High Street
Alternative starting points
Rye House Gatehouse – EN11 0EH
High Street, Stanstead Abbotts - SG12 8AS
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.