Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Old River Lee Hooksmarsh

Old River Lee, Lee Navigation, Hooksmarsh Ditch, Cornmill Stream, and Horsemill Stream
The River Lee flows southwards towards the Thames; The other streams largely parallel and flow towards points at which they converge.

Post to the north Seventy Acres Lake
Post to the west Cheshunt
Post to the south Waltham Abbey Works

Cornmill Stream
This is a man-made watercourse, probably built before the Norman Conquest.  It leaves the Horsemill Stream above Waltham Abbey and then divides into two – the other half known as the Old River Lee. It then flows south as the western boundary of the Government’s Waltham Abbey Works. The local legend that “the monks built the Cornmill Stream” may mean that the canons built their own mill on the edge of Waltham Abbey grounds. It is thought to have been built up higher along the eastern side of the valley is to give a greater head of water.

Fisher’s Green
Fishers Green was the site of a ford over the Lee where roads from Essex and from Hertfordshire converged.  It is thought possible there was some sort of Iron Age lake village here.
Part of Lee Valley Country Park from which a number of their facilities can be accessed
Fishers Green Farm. The farmhouse is 18th or earlier, with white washed cement rendering. Barn - timber framed with weather boarding
Fishers Green Sailing Club uses Holyfield Lake. It been established for over 40 years and is part of the Civil Service Sailing Association

Friday Lake.
Another old gravel pit used as private club fishing by Kings Arms and Cheshunt angling club

Government Gunpowder Mill site. (Northern part of the site)
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Aqueduct near Newton’s Pool. This is one of a number of cast iron channels built in 1878-9 to carry the high level canal system within the Government Gunpowder works over the natural River Lea - or Barge River as it was called before 1770. This one is slightly different to two others on site and they are made from cast iron plates riveted on site. It has a later footway bridge put in place after the canal system had become disused. There is a plaque with a date and VR insignia.
Gunpowder granulating house by Newton’s Pool. This was serviced by a section of the original canal providing a link to the new canal.  Following a major explosion in this area during the Second World War  a circular building to process cordite was put in place
Grand Magazine. This is probably the third magazine on site. Built at the northern end of the Government gunpowder mill site around 1800 and rebuilt in the 1860s.  It is a rectangular, barrel-vaulted brick structure with a smaller barrel-vaulted west "transept". Waterways were designed so that gunpowder could be barged from it direct into the Lee Navigation, for which Powdermill Cut was built..  Today the masonry has collapsed and there is extensive growth of vegetation. Clearly its remoteness is for safety reasons and the primary need for a magazine is to protect its contents.
Long Walk
Newton’s Pool.  It is 12m deep and was latterly used for the testing of underwater explosives.This was named after William Newton the Master Worker from Faversham.
Turnpike and Chequer Inn which stood near Newton's Pool and used for housing in the works - it was occupied by William Newton.
Newton’s Pool Weir – described as an ‘ancient work’
Thorogood sluice – said to be where the Government site finished at the northern end

Hall Marsh Scrape
This is a man-made refuge for water fowl which is like a river flood meadow. Scrape means an area of shallow water and this was land backfilled with refuse after gravel extraction. Shallow pools had formed which were attracting water fowl, so because of the rarity of shallow water the pools were enlarged and sluice gates were installed to control the water level.

Hooks Marsh
There were gunpowder mills near Hooks Marsh 1672-3, though they had gone by 1735

Hooks Marsh Lake.
Fishing venue in a lake formed by a gravel pit dug in the 1970s

Hooksmarsh Ditch
This is probably a man-made millstream of unknown date and origin. It flows into Powdermill Cut to the south.

Horsemill Stream
This is now used as part of the Flood Relief Channel. Also known as Walton’s Walk Fishery
Pipe bridge at Fisher’s Green

Lee Navigation

Millhead Stream
This is a manmade watercourse part of the canal system within the Government Gunpowder Mills and derives water from the River Lee. It also provided the main power source for mills here from before records begin. It provided a means of smooth and thus safe delivery of explosives. It diverges from the Cornmill Stream and flows southwards

Sir W.Wake’s turnpike
The turnpike was an earlier name for a canal here, with Sir William as one of the commissioners.

Police Pit
Gravel pit used as a private fishery by the Metropolitan Police Club

Turnershill Marsh
Grassland  insects and birds. Grasshopper walk

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