Chingford Events

Capturing Chingford’s neglected stream

Photographer Ben Rowe introduces his ongoing exhibition capturing the Ching

A sofa in the Ching (credit Ben Rowe)
A sofa in the Ching (credit Ben Rowe)

The Ching is a small, unassuming tributary of the River Lea.

You may have driven over it on your way to a retail estate on the North Circular without noticing. You may have circled over it as you nip around the Friday Hill roundabout without noticing. You may have even cycled alongside it on your way to work, without noticing.

But the largely inconspicuous Ching has a lot to offer. It meanders through beautiful parts of Epping Forest from its source at Connaught Water, past grazing cattle on Whitehall Plain, and the picturesque lake of Highams Park, all home to an abundance of wildlife and nature.

It flows past residential streets, playgrounds, the London Overground, supermarkets and finally under the North Circular before joining the Lea. Among these scenes, the Ching sadly suffers from the effects of human impact – litter, discarded furniture, shopping trolleys and concrete structures all scatter parts of the river.

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

I have documented the whole route throughout the seasons; its natural stunning beauty and the human footprint. I waded through thick ice, battled through undergrowth and got up very early to find the best and worst that the Ching has to offer.

Finding a sofa dumped in the Ching in Hatch Forest made for a stunning shot but was also a shocking thing to find.

Part of my body of work is on display as part of Highams Park Arts Trail which runs until Sunday, 25th June. The exhibition is at Karya Bistro, 428 Hale End Road, E4 9PB. Check out @karyabistro for opening times.

For more information about Ben Rowe’s photography:

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations