Contributed by Sarah Sheppard
Five of us arrived at the Lee Valley Youth Hostel in Cheshunt on Friday afternoon, joined by two others on Saturday. Lee Valley Hostel is split between the main building and five accommodation lodges, each of which has a self-catering kitchen on the ground floor, where Glenys cooked us a lovely meal on Friday evening. Kate, Glenys and I had an eight-bed dorm to ourselves on the first floor, with a balcony that looked over the park. Dave and Andy were in a six-bed dorm opposite, sharing with an Australian guy also called David.
On Saturday, while Dave and Glenys went off towards London on their bikes, Kate, Andy and I started a 14-mile walk by following the River Lee navigation north. It was warm, and a great day to be out exploring the Lee Valley. We stopped for lunch in the lovely yard of Nazing Church then headed back across Nazing Golf Course and skirted through the northerly part of Epping Forest. Finally we headed back to the hostel through Lee Valley Park, passing through the wetlands.
We woke on Sunday morning to a cloudy day, but thankfully without the rain that was forecast. After breakfast and checking out, we all drove to Epping Forest. Stopping by the visitors’ centre, where we picked up a leaflet for a six-mile route to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, we started our walk through the forest. We passed by the lovely Connaught Water before stopping close to the Hunting Lodge to eat our lunch. We then followed the route back towards the visitors’ centre and to our cars in order to head home.
It was a lovely weekend away; thanks to Robin for booking us in even though he was unable to make it in the end. There are lots of water activities near by, including the Lee Valley White Water Centre that was used for the Olympics. It might be nice for the group to return to this hostel in the future, perhaps in the summer, in order to make use of some of these facilities.
Contributed by Glenys Johnson
Lee Valley was a revelation – acres of lakes with bird hides and fishing so near to London. Dave and I cycled along the towpath on Saturday, past houseboats and pubs on the waterfront and the Olympic Park to Victoria Park in Hackney. Had to cycle back fast as it was getting dark and we didn’t want to fall in.