A map of the Lee Navigation
The map displays a range of services available on the Lee Navigation. Simply click the box next to any service being displayed in the Map Key on the left of your screen.
A brief history of the Lee Navigation
Summarised data for all 2 branches:
|Canal length :||41 miles|
The Lee Navigation is a canalised river, a river which has been made into a canal. The original river is the River Lea which has been a main tributary for the River Thames. The main canal runs from Herford to Bow where it meets the Thames. There is a second branch, the Stort Navigation, which runs from Bishop's Stortford to meet the Lee near Hoddesdon.
The River Lee has been used for human navigation for many centuries. The oldest artifacts being a Bronze age dugout canoe and from later, parts of an Anglo-Saxon barge were discovered. There is evidence that the Abbot of Waltham altered the flow of the river to improve navigation in 1190 and 1221 a pipe was laid across the river, which had to be protected from passing traffic.
The first Act of Parliament for the improvement of a river was passed in 1425 and second Act passed in 1430, both acts enabling landowners to make improvements and in return, charge tolls to recoup the costs.
The river was an important route for carrying grain into London. The City of London obtained authorisation in 1571 to make improvements which included building a lock at Waltham Abbey in 1577.
An Act in 1767 authorised more improvements that were completed by 1777. A further £35,000 was raised in 1769 and to create another 11 miles of canal. In 1911 the Stort Navigation was purchased by the Lee navigation and proceded to widen the canal to a width of 16 feet.
For more detailed information, follow the links below: