The River Lee

Hertford lies at the confluence of four rivers - the Lee, Mimram, Beane and Rib. The principle of these is the River Lee (or Lea) which is navigable all the way down the Lee Valley to Bow in London, where it joins the River Thames.

Narrowboats are a common sight on the river, especially during the summer. Boat hire and river cruises are available nearby at Broxbourne.

Lee Valley Boat Centre
Old Nazeing Road
EN10 6LS
Tel: 01992 462085

Hertford has its' own small marina at the Hertford Basin, which is home to number of boatowners. At the navigational head is the charming Barge public house, which serves food and real ale. (See also Public Houses).

A number of the boats both in the marina and moored along the Lee are residential.

The River is also used for canoeing and kayaking, with a canoe club by the weir.


The Hertford Weir is 210ft wide(65m) and located opposite the Hertford Basin. Water from the Lee Navigation flows from here into the original watercourse.

About 200m downstream on the original watercourse is a second 7m wide weir, that was remodelled in 2008. Both weirs are open to canoeists.

Hertford Lock

Hertford Lock is about 700 yards (650m) downstream from the Hertford Basin. The current lock dates from 1865 and has a length of 85ft (26m) and a fall of 7ft 11in (2.4m).


The Lee Navigation was extended to Hertford in 1767. The significance of the river to the town and its history cannot be overstated, not least because of the ford that gave its name to the town. Much of the town's past prosperity is due to the link that the river provided with London, which allowed the transport of goods, especially crops. Hertfordshire was the main corn producing county in England during the 18th century and barley too was important, with malting being one of the town's principal industries.

Click here to see a gallery of photos of the River Lee at Hertford
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