East London Food & Culture

Weekend Pub Walk #1. Blackhorse Road to Tottenham

A new series. From Blackhorse Beer Mile we hike across the marshes to Nigerian tapas joint Chuku's


Sometimes the best Sundays are the most spontaneous – and that’s what this new walking column is about. Those spur-of-the-moment hungover decisions to set out on a stroll with a vague goal can, after all, turn into epic mini-adventures in our sprawl of a city.

The other weekend we hopped on the Overground to Blackhorse Road, with the intention of ambling to Tottenham across the marshes: a few hours later, it had turned into something way bigger than that.

And sure enough, an initial pit stop along E17’s Beer Mile was inevitable – before hitting the bucolic paths, marshes and elegant terraces of Tottenham Green.

Pretty Decent
Massive: Forest Gate’s new taproom in E17. Photo: SE


As fans of the Forest Gate original, where better to start our hike than with a sensible two-thirds at the new Pretty Decent taproom? It’s vast compared to the E7 original, and was gently buzzing with local families on a Sunday mid-afternoon.


A couple of gulps later – that’s the trouble with a two-thirds – it was off to my personal fave Exale Brewery, tucked away in the industrial estate’s northern end, one of the Beer Mile’s most civilised spots.

We even managed a valedictory glass of natural fizz at the Lockwood Way satellite of Bethnal Green’s excellent Renegade Urban Winery, whose mezzanine looks out over the water; there’s a baby grand piano there, too, if you fancy a tinkle.

One for the road: Renegade is next to Walthamstow Wetlands. Photo: SE


But that was enough alcohol – for now – because we had a (small) hike to be getting on with. Exiting the Winery onto the adjoining path, we swiftly looped up alongside the Lockwood Reservoir to the excellently-named Wild Marsh East.

Here we crossed over and walked back down the River Lee Navigation, admiring the epic skies, narrowboats and moody reflections.

At Stonebridge Lock we followed the clearly signed path over breezy Tottenham Marshes. It’s such an unheralded, atmospheric corner of London.

Stonebridge Lock
Peaceful: Stonebridge Lock. Photo: SE

Leaving the greenery behind, we thrilled at the discovery of Carbuncle Passage, a handy pedestrian passageway that takes you to Tottenham.

The Passage fascinatingly covers up the ancient Moselle River –  whose name derives from ‘Mosse-Hill’ (Muswell Hill) – and was incrementally culverted in the 18th and 19th centuries.  We walked past leafy Hartingdon Park before finding ourselves at Tottenham High Road’s historic Scotland Green.

Carbuncle Passage
A river lies beneath: Carbuncle Passage


It had been at least an hour since we left Renegade Winery, so now it was surely time for another beer. Luckily the striking Bluecoats pub appeared like a mirage, a former Victorian school with characterful low-lit rooms and an enclosed courtyard.

Nearby was a freshly revamped pub we noted for another day – The Victoria – while a few minutes’ walk north is the famous Beavertown’s Corner Pin opposite the groaning hulk of  Tottenham Stadium. We felt compelled to stomp up for a touristy quick half in there, too, but for some reason didn’t love it as much as we hoped.

Imposing: Bluecoats pub, N17. Photo: SE

Heading back south towards the Overground we discovered some local gems including lively sidestreet boozer The Beehive, and an immediate new favourite, the High Cross.

This converted former public toilet is near Tottenham’s early 17th century high cross itself, and buzzed with a diverse crowd. It proved a great little spot for a natural vino, while all around us locals tucked into tasty late-afternoon Sunday lunches. There’s even an outdoor terrace.

High Cross
High Cross pub (note the actual high cross on the right). Photo: SE


On this occasion, we had eyes for one eating destination only: acclaimed Nigerian small plates restaurant Chuku’s. Run by a brother-sister duo, it’s a tiny dining room just near the Georgian splendour of Tottenham Green.

Perched on stools in the window, as night started to fall we devoured impressive plates including plantain crisps, sweet okra, a crunchy house slaw, fiery shredded chicken in a red pepper sauce and baked beef meatballs with Nigerian suya (a mix of peanuts, ginger and chillies).

Small plates at Chuku’s. Photo: SE

The undisputed highlight? A trio of grated cassava dumplings with three dips – spinach and coriander, red pepper and tomato, and egusi (melon seeds). This really is a must-order.

Stumbling out into the darkness, we happened upon True Craft, a packed-to-the-rafters beer and pizza bar that had a kind of downtown NYC vibe; and, further along West Green Road, Pasero, another small plates joint that had just closed up for the night. These, we decided, demanded a separate return visit.

But for now, it was a case of sprinting for the last Overground, with that uniquely London feeling that, somehow, we’d travelled so much further than we actually had.

Future walks will have an illustrative GPS map but this route is very simple. Do you have a Weekend Pub Walk to share? Email info@leytonstoner.london or tell us @londonbelongs on Instagram or @leytonstoner on Twitter and Facebook.

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