Walking The River Fleet

For today's London lost river trip we walked the length of the Fleet from Hampstead Heath to the Thames. The Fleet used the flow through the centre of London until it was covered up in the 1700's, much of it becoming a sewer. Nowadays only parts of it are visible near the source at Hampstead. Despite the lack of actual river, walking the route is a nice couple of hours through some interesting parts of the city.

We mostly followed the route described in Tom Bolton's book London's Lost Rivers. Our main diversion from this was to visit Camden Lock at 3 miles in, then follow the Regents Canal to King's Cross station. The distance is roughly the same but it's a more pleasant walk than the back roads that more closely follow the route.

There's loads of interesting London history along the route. I won't cover it here as Tom Bolton's book is a very thorough guide and well worth taking with you. The Londonist video (linked below) is also a good primer for the trip.

Getting there and back is pretty straightforward. We parked at Heath Brow Car Park (NW3 7ES) which is right next to the start of the western source at Whitestone Pond. Although convenient, it's also expensive at £20 for the 6 hours we needed for the complete round trip. The best route back is via Underground, taking the Circle or District from Blackfriars to Embankment, then the Northern Line to Hampstead, less than half a mile walk from the car park.