A walk along the Alders Brook, the River Roding and Wanstead Park

On a sunny Sunday 6th September, four of us (Paul, Cathy, Richard & Trevor) met at 12.30 outside the City of London Cemetery for a 4.5 mile walk, led by Paul.

We started off alongside the cemetery towards Rabbits Road, then followed a footpath known as The Bridle Path which ran between the Cemetery and the railway line. Paul related how years ago, when walking home from work down this path, he’d been confronted with a herd of cattle ambling single file the other way. After a bit of a stand-off, he’d persuaded the cattle into turning round on the narrow path and retreating back to Wanstead Flats. Luckily today there were no such incidents.

We carried on down the path, wending our way down towards the Alders Brook. We then followed the brook upstream till we met up with the River Roding. The Alders Brook doesn’t flow into the Roding at this point, but there is a watergate which operates when the brook is too full.

As we followed the Roding through what used to be a sewage works, and is now part of Epping Forest, we came across what appeared to be a small encampment with possibly a shrine. Someone was trying to personalise and even restrict what ought to be a communal recreation area.

Paul explained how sewage works, and other areas with very limited public access, have in the past attracted a variety of birds, and that the Roding acts as a migratory route for some species. We were lucky enough to see a Grey Wagtail and a Little Grebe.

We carried on into Wanstead Park and turned right to go round the largest of the lakes, the Ornamental Water. The water level was very low due to lack of rainfall and even water being diverted for use elsewhere. We saw a couple of Grey Herons, one in exactly the same place as Cathy and I had seen it just a few days before, though it did turn its head so we knew it was real. We went past the Grotto and followed the lake round before cutting through what in springtime would be a bluebell wood to the café for a welcome cuppa before the short walk back to the start.

Richard, 9th September 2020


sw 200906 40641artSome sort of an encampment by the Rodingsw 100718 20897artThe River Roding in its natural state