Friday, 6 May 2011

Limehouse to Regents Park via the Regents Canal

Limehouse Basin to Regents Park via the Regents Canal tow path.

The intention of this blog is to explore various walks through London and this is one of the best. Starting at Limehouse Basin it takes approximately three hours to reach Regents Park having only to leave the tow path at Angel, Islington due to the tunnel.
The Regents Canal was completed in 1820 and built to transport imported goods from the Thames to the Midlands. This was achieved by joining the Grand Union Canal at Paddington. The basin is now a 10 acre marina for luxury boats and is the southernmost point of London’s oldest industrial canal.

The old industries such as Lime works (from where the area gets its name), chemical and leather factories have long since gone and have been replaced with desirable flats.

Walking north along the tow path with the canal to my left , the route passes through Mile End and on to Victoria Park. Unfortunately it does not pass through Bow so I am unable to use the Bow Locks gag (thanks to everyone who gave me this priceless piece of information / double entendre).

An East End garden shed with it's own stove.


On through Haggerston and De Beauvoir Town, the rest of London seems unaware of this path, used only by joggers, cyclists, mothers with prams and me. Roads and rail track pass over head without ever blocking the way until you get to Angel. Due to a tunnel, only wide enough for barges, it becomes necessary to use the main road. The tunnel is three-quarters of a mile long and passes under Muriel Street, Barnsbury Road, Tolpuddle Street and Upper Street. The canal re-emerges next to Noel Road.  This is a good excuse to stop for re fuelling in any of the many pubs and cafes in Angel.

The tunnel was opened in 1820 when boats were propelled by “legging”, which involved men laying on their backs and pushing the barge with their feet against the sides of the tunnel. This was replaced in 1826 by a steam tug which brought a new set of problems due to the smoke, fire and noise.  The tunnel was renovated in 2000.

Old and new means of transport. A Euro Star train arrives back in London, passing the canal barges at St Pancras.

The path then takes you through Pentonville, Kings Cross and onto Camden Town.

Camden Lock. It feels strange to leave the tow path at Regents Park, like arriving back on 'dry land'.

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