Over the summer, the Canal & River Trust has been celebrating National Fishing Month (which actually runs between 21 July – 3 September 2017), encouraging people up and down the country to get out in the fresh air, sit back and cast a line into the water. One place you can do this on the outskirts of London is the River Lee Navigation near Ware, Hertfordshire.
Escape the city and venture just a few miles up the Lee to enjoy this tranquil fishing spot, right next to a thriving nature reserve. You can fish from above Hardmead Lock down to the Broadwater above Stanstead Lock; around 1,600 metres of angling space where you can catch carp, pike, bream, tench, chub and roach. You can also fish in the adjacent Tumbling Bay lake, but not on the eastern end as that is owned by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
Amwell Nature Reserve was restored from gravel pits to a diverse wetland, home to wintering wildfowl and 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly. There’s a dedicated boardwalk trail for getting up close to them, plus three hides for birdwatching. On the islands of Amwell Pool, there are two monuments that commemorate the completion of this navigation, which was engineered by Sir Hugh Myddelton to supply London with fresh water in the 17th century.
There are lovely riverside walks between Ware and Stanstead Abbotts – you could walk all the way to London, just over 20 miles away, if you wanted to! In Ware, you’ll find Scott’s Grotto, a network of underground chambers decorated with shells, stones and coloured glass. It’s the largest grotto in the UK.
If you fancy a bite to eat, there’s the George IV pub in the pretty village of Great Amwell. It has a dazzling menu – try their halloumi fries followed by chocolate fondant and peanut butter ice cream. There are riverside places to eat, too, such as the Saracen’s Head and the Waterside Inn.
You’ll find parking on Lower Road or Emma Wells Lane, but you’ll have to cross over the railway line to get to the river. The nearest train station is in Ware.
To find out more about fishing on the River Lee Navigation, visit the Ware Angling Club website.