The River Lea is a tributary of the River Thames. It rises at Marsh Farm, near Luton, and travels some 42 miles southward to its confluence with the Thames at Bow.
The main tributaries of the Lea are the River Stort, Turkey Brook, New River, River Bean, River Mimram, River Moselle; and Hackney Brook.
The River Moselle once flowed directly into the Lea to the north of Ferry Lane, but it now flows into Pymmes Brook which joins the Lea below Tottenham Lock.
Hackney Brook once joined the Lea to the south of Lea Bridge near Hackney Wick but is now diverted south to Victoria Park and flows not the main sewer system.
There is a network of minor tributaries, side streams, channels and brooks weaving through the Lea Bridge area.
The Old River Lea follows a semi-natural meandering course along the eastern edge of Hackney Marsh to Old Ford Locks.
The River Lea Flood Relief Channel rejoins with the Old River Lea south of Friends Bridge, opposite Hackney Marshes.
Dagenham Brook flows approximately parallel to the River Lea, joining the River Lea near New Spitalfields Market.
Shortlands/ Blackmarsh Sewer flows from Walthamstow, parallel with Dagenham Brook. The channel was largely filled in the 1960s when the Lea Flood Relief Channel was built.
The Fleet River has been known at different periods as Papermill, Coppermill, or Waterworks river.
South of the Lea Bridge area, downstream from Carpenters Road Lock, the river divides into a series of back rivers, creeks and channels before re-combining below Three Mills.
The Hertford Union Canal links the Lea with the Regent's Canal. The Limehouse Cut travels south westward from Bow Locks to the Limehouse Basin.