Pymmes Brook

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The weir at the south of Jack's Lake on Monken Hadley Common
Pymme's Brook in Oak Hill Park
Pymmes Brook at Fore Street, Edmonton

Pymmes Brook is a little river in northern Middlesex and southern Hertfordshire, within the conurbation of towns spreading out from London. It is named after William Pymme, a local land owner in former days. The brook is a minor tributary of the River Lea, which marks the county's eastern boundary.

The brook mostly flows through urban areas and is particularly prone to flooding in its lower reaches. To alleviate the problem the brook has been culverted in many areas. Part of it is a 'Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation', Grade II.[1][2]


The brook rises in Hadley Wood in Middlesex and flows in a south-easterly direction to merge with the River Lee Navigation at Tottenham. It passes through East Barnet in Hertfordshire, where it is joined by a small tributary, the Shirebourne, and then goes on to New Southgate, flows back into Middlesex and on to Arnos Grove, Palmers Green and Edmonton. After flowing through Pymmes Park, the brook can be seen at Fore Street, Edmonton before it flows underground and emerges south of the North Circular Road at Angel Road, where it is joined by Salmons Brook. The brook, now enclosed in a concrete conduit, flows parallel with the River Lee Navigation until it merges with the Lea below Ferry Lane (the A503) at Tottenham Lock.


The brook can be seen in the following larger parks;

  • Arnos Park
  • Pymmes Park
  • Oak Hill Park
  • Brunswick Park

It also flows through a number of other open spaces, smaller parks, and greens.


The Pymmes Brook Trail follows the approximate course of the brook from Monken Hadley Common to Lee Valley Leisure Complex in Edmonton or alternatively to the River Lee Navigation at Pickett's Lock, Edmonton where the path joins the Lea Valley Walk.


The brook is marked thus on the Ordnance Survey map of 1877. In c.1200 it was called, Medeseye that is ' meadow marsh-stream ' from the Old English mæd sæge.[3]

During the Middle Ages, it was known as the Medesenge, in the late 17th century as Millicents brook then, by the late 18th century as Bell brook.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Pymmes Brook)


  1. Pymme's Brook - Greenspace Information for Greater London, 2006
  2. 'iGiGL – Helping you find London's parks and wildlife sites' - Greenspace Information for Greater London, 2006
  3. Mills . A. D. Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names (2001) p184 ISBN 0-19-860957-4
  • Hewlett, Janet (1997). Nature Conservation in Barnet. London Ecology Unit. ISBN 1 871045 27 4.