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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Water source: canal and river exploration

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post sees our family dreaming up two winter projects to help us explore the world and get to know two river routes out of London. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).  
New River appears at Clissold Park - here it is allowed to be an area for dogs to splash around.

This blog has done it: it's just gone over 25,000 views. This year it's also included our efforts to finish off the Hadrian's Wall walk, and the Capital Ring which encircles London. Great achievements... but I had a restless feeling that we needed another family project.  Strangely after a few months struggling to think what to do, two plans burst into mind which will keep us occupied and offer fascinating contrasts. 

Find this in Finsbury Park.
The plan is to walk the New River - which is famously neither new, nor a river - but a canal that brings water up to London from Hertfordshire. Its source is Ware, not so far from where I grew up, and  the route ends up  Sadler's Wells, Islington not so far from where I live now. Amazingly the New River was completed in 1613, nearly 400 years ago (anniversary in 2013) but it now brings water to the East and West Reservoirs on the edge of Green Lanes, Hackney - from there the water for London either goes into a massive great pipe called the London Ring, or looks set to be doing this. I only found out this thing existed when we looked at plans of our house when we were buying it and saw that there was a huge tunnel that wasn't a tube marked as crossing under our cellar some 30m, maybe 50m down. A journey down the New River has to take us via the world's biggest canals - Suez, Panama and the Grand Canal of China. There are loads more which I hope to discover things about during our time plodding along beside the New River.

We also intend to walk from the sea to the source of The River Thames - an exploration made possible by the fact that this is a very well-trod long distance path with an extremely tidy ending: a pub and station at Kemble just a couple of fields from the spring that is the surprisingly unspectacular source of this great river. This journey will give us the chance to replicate some of the amazing explorers' journeys to find the Nile, the Congo, the Amazon etc. Here's hoping.

is there a river or canal near you that you could explore? If so, do join in with your own river trip. Let me know how you go - or what are the best parts of river exploration.

Here is another post I've written about river exploration.

1 comment:

Nicola Baird said...

From Facebook:
Elaine M: ":)) great walk x"

David K: "I remember taking pictures of the beautiful New River Head complex when it was still Thames Water's HQ...now sadly gentrified..."