What is it? In 1812 the vision of the newly formed Regent Canal Company was to construct a new canal from Paddington to a river dock at Limehouse which was supported by architect John Nash's concept of 'barges moving through an urban landscape'. Unfortunately the financial expectations for the route completed in 1820 were pipped to the post by the railway industry but thankfully, London was left with a beautiful waterway.
Where is it? If you're feeling energetic the canal starts in Little Venice and meanders through London on a nine mile route down to the river at Limehouse Basin. We joined the path at Bethnal Green, which is easily done by following Roman Road from the tube.
Why has it tickled our fancy? This is a route of pure London variety in just about every way. Nash wouldn't be disappointed at the wide variety of architecture on display; from 1960s high-rises to modern flats and the docklands skyscrapers to the marina apartments at Limehouse basin. There are set aside areas to encourage wildlife, man-made ponds and fountains and the Green Bridge which allows Mile End Park to carry over the traffic uninterrupted. This section of the canal also has four operating locks and the Limehouse Accumulator Tower.
Nature notes: The diversity of opportunities along the canal path mean there's plenty to look at; wild dill, water lilies, coots, dragonfly, buddliea, cornflower, wild geraniums, wild sweet peas, fish (yes, we actually saw fish), gulls and most excitingly a heron which swooped incredibly low over our head to plonk itself on the canal bank!
View Nature-ist: Regent Canal path in a larger map