We had a great ride leading us along a historic route, part of which is called Black Path. We finished at Hackney City Farm for a nice snack before riding back along a similar route with some alternative detours.
The route is particularly significant because it follows largely an ancient path that runs from the City of London in an almost perfectly straight line into Essex connecting various town centres and places of interest. This makes it potentially a very quick and convenient cycling and walking route for many in Waltham Forest.
As is clear from looking at a map the straight route had been somewhat eroded over the centuries by various developments. Hackney Town Hall, Lea Valley riding stables and Kingsmill bakery are right on it and require detours sometimes via busy roads with poor or no crossing facilities. In Walthamstow the route all but disappears following urban developments in the 19th century.
However as we have been discovering on today’s ride is is still a very useful route. Hackney have done a great job in improving important sections of it and we understand are continuing to make this route even better for cycling and walking. We think there is much scope to do the same this side of the Lea Valley.
Despite various cycle routes being available nearby the directness of the Black Path is especially important for all those traveling under their own steam. So we think it is worthwhile to make sure it is preserved, developed and promoted. The best example of what can be achieved is Goldsmith row just by Hackney City Farm, which is likely to become the best street for walking and cycling in London. We would love to see more of this.
Anybody who would like to support us improving the route in Waltham Forest should get in touch with Gerhard@wfcycling.org.uk. We would particularly appreciate additional research, any lobbying and technical advice you could give.
See you at the next Black Path Ride.