The River Roding rises near Molehill Green (near Stansted Airport) and the flows serenely through the Essex countryside .Flowing is interrupted many times along its way to the river Thames, mainly by silting up and general poor maintenance in the rural area which tends to cause un-necessary flooding of roads and fields. It is a small stream and its valley is generally narrow but never particularly deep, as it cuts through the ‘Bagshot Sands’ and ‘Claygate Beds’ deposits of the Essex Plateau. Flowing North to south the river leaves Dunmow and passes through or near a group of villages in Essex known collectively as the Rodings, as they all end with the suffix ‘Roding’. In this part of the Roding’s journey things could be done to ease flooding, river channel could be cleared of foliage, dredged, widened or deepened allowing it to carry more water. The Roding could be straightened in places so that water can travel faster along the course in winter, keeping it clear, so that in dry weather the channel remains clear.
After Chipping Ongar, the river flows under the M25 motorway by Passingford Bridge and on to Abridge. Flood meadows by the river near Chigwell, looking towards Loughton, and form the Roding Valley Meadows Nature Reserve. The river then runs past Loughton and between Chigwell and Woodford Green where the Roding Valley Meadows make up the largest surviving area of traditionally managed river-valley habitat in Essex. This nature reserve consists of unimproved wet and dry hay meadows, rich with flora and fauna and bounded by thick hedgerows, scrubland, secondary woodland and tree plantation. The meadows stretch down to the M11 motorway and Roding Valley tube station is situated close to the area, although Loughton or Buckhurst Hill are better placed for a visit.The Roding valley becomes less distinct when it enters the North London (formally Essex) where it passes through some canalised sections around Wanstead before ultimately flowing into the Thames at Barking Creek. The Roding Valley is the site of a string of historic settlements – Ilford and Barking to the east, and East-Ham to the west – along with heavy industrial uses. The valley bottom here is largely alluvial and poorly drained, so that it remained largely free from human settlement. For this reason, it was chosen as the route of the A406 North Circular/ M11, which follows its entire length. The roads are often elevated and dominate the character of this small river valley; the River Roding seems marginalised and inconspicuous within the context of such large scale transport infrastructure. Despite, or perhaps because of these roads, areas of open ground (with some herb-rich grassland and native wood) survive. The river, though clearly straightened in many places, most particularly as it approaches the Thames, often retains its natural course in its upper parts. Its waters are particularly clean and support a diverse fish community. Redbridge is next which takes its name from a crossing of the river which then passes through Ilford and Barking. The ‘River Roding through Ilford project’ is a government backed scheme to improve amenities along this stretch of the river, which seems to be improving the area. Next is Barking the tidal section is known as Barking Creek, which flows into the Thames at Creekmouth. In Essex the river forms part of the boundary between the district of Epping Forest and borough of Brentwood. The river marks much of the boundary between the London Borough of Newham and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Ilford takes its name from Ilefort, “ford on the River Hyle”, which was the mediaeval name for part of the Roding.
Most of my photos are taken before the river leaves Abridge but hopefully with the help of photos from others, you can see the path of the River Roding from start to finish.