Friday, 14 December 2012

New River - Castle Climbing Centre - Finsbury Park

New River with views over to Alexandra Palace 
A  local walk along the New River gives you surprisingly good views over Harringay to Alexandra Palace on one horizon and  Epping Forest on another, later taking in East and West Reservoirs. Walking up a few roads takes you back to Harringay through Finsbury Park. 2-3 miles and can take as little as an hour. When the kids were small we'd bundle them on the bus when we rejoined Green Lanes. Not good for buggies and if it's wet it can get boggy. 

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Directions: Join the New River path from Green Lanes, through a metal gate,  just south of the red A on the map above. The path ends at Seven Sisters Road, cross the road and rejoin the next section of the path, same again after East Reservoir where you cross Woodberry Down. At the end of the New River path you come to the Castle Climbing Centre turn right onto Green Lanes, cross at the next lights and turn left onto Gloucester Drive and then first right onto Alexandra Grove, you'll eventually hit Seven Sisters Road, cross at the lights and enter Finsbury Park via the gate to the right and wiggle your way through the park back to Harringay. 

Tea and cake: Either at the Waterfront Cafe in old Water works building on West Reservoir (turn right when you finish the new river path) or Finsbury Park Cafe west of the boating lake.

Old Maynards Factory Chimney and other industrial buildings alongside the New river
The New River is a 20 mile artificial waterway which brings water from Hertfordshire to London. Amazingly it was completed 400 years ago in 1613. You soon come across a small industrial area, from 1906 home to Maynards sweet factory and their famous wine gums.

' I lived at the Vale School (my father was Caretaker) between 1963 and 1978...  This was next door to Maynards Sweet factory with the big chimney. I remember the lovely smells that came from the factory and the sooty smoke from the chimney....(Andy Brown 2009)

'I lived in Tottenham and worked at Maynards - rolling those wine gums -thirty two rolls in a box before getting extra for any roll over! £3 per week - good money in those days - but the wasps were all on the ceiling - not good'Rosie) old Maynards Factory

Next door a factory made cake frills, trifle cases and doillies. The buildings now house artists studios - the new Hoxton? Further on you come to the East and West Reservoirs,  constructed in 1833 to purify the water from the New River and as a water reserve. Today visited by cormorants and herons. 
East Reservoir with the Shard in the distance.

New River Path
You pass the new flashy tower blocks apparently one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK with Genesis Housing Associating winning the top price for social housing in the British Home Awards in 2011. 
Fetching Anish Kapoor like fountain. 
The climbing centre is housed in the old pumping station, built in 1854 to look like a Scottish castle.

West Reservoir with Visitor Centre and Cafe housed in the old filter house, the castle pumping station in the distance. 

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