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Borough: Enfield
New River Gardens
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New River Gardens  
This land was formerly part of a forest which became part of Enfield Chase, a royal hunting ground, in 1136. Although they were not allowed to hunt, local people kept the right to gather wood in the forest for fuel, and building, and to pasture their animals. When Enfield Chase was split into farms, in 1779, a piece of land was given to Enfield villagers because they had lost these rights. In 1803, it was placed under the management of the church before being transferred to Enfield Urban District Council in 1898.

The New River Loop, part of which flows through the Gardens, was engineered by Sir Hugh Myddelton, a goldsmith by trade. The New River included the full course of Cuffley Brook through Whitewebbs, then crossed the valley at Salmon's Brook at Bush Hill where there was a lead and timber aqueduct. Another loop followed the course of Pymmes Brook through the Arnos Grove Estate, with a further loop further south. The Whitewebbs, Arnos and Tottenham loops were abandoned when the New River was straightened in 1859 and in 1890 the portion around Enfield village was piped underground thereby making this stretch redundant.

A public campaign was fought to keep it for its beauty and it is now a long lake. With the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of 1.8milliion in 1997, the New River Loop Restoration Project has restored the historic watercourse, listed bridges and railings, and regenerated the timber banks of the New River, providing new seating and a new fountain in Chase Green Gardens.

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