A linear park running for half a mile through Canonbury was begun in the 1950s, though the ' New River' was then neither new nor a river. It was a water conduit made by Sir Hugh Middleton in 1613 to bring water 20 miles from Hertfordshire to London. Since the flow was by gravity it had to follow a shallow gradient near the 100' contour. In the 1970s the New River Walk was reconstructed and replanted along the frontage of the Marquess Road Estate. Bird life and leafy corners abound and paths are highly contrived but it has that indefinable Japanese quality which steers clear of the twee. The design was by Darbourne and Darke.
Thames Water now allows walkers to use the path beside much of the New River. Cycling is unaccountably banned and the river also remains fenced off where it passes through public parks, presumably for safety reasons.
The section of the New River near the Marquess Estate was the first to be used as a park, because it was no longer used as a water conduit