Colne Valley Trail and Grand Union Canal Walk

17 April 2006

On a pleasant Easter Monday, a circular walk was planned from near Harefield, taking the Colne Valley Trail north, and returning along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. "Circular" is perhap misleading, as the two routes run parallel fairly close together, the former a little way up the valley-side, but it did allow for different views of the same things, and avoided an out-and-back walk.

After leaving the car, we cross the canal and look up to Copper Mill Lock before finding our way onto the Colne Valley Trail. As my map showed that this is also the London Loop, the Hillingdon Trail and national cycle route 61, I was rather surprised to find no signs for any of these routes.

However, signs started to appear once we already knew we were going the right way ('twas ever thus), and we had a pleasant walk along the valley side. I've had a minor complaint from a regular visitor about the lack of a picture of a rubbish dump recently on my LOOP walks: the best I could do today was this sewage works,
with a small marina incongruously nestled up to it.

Looking up the valley of the River Colne

You wait ages for a sign, and they all come along at once. You might think that this is a major junction, but these five signs (six including the one which appears to have nearly vanished from the top) are all pointing either one way or the other along a single route - with my 2006 OS map shows as a public footpath, not a byway (and a locked gate suggests it is not a byway any longer). Still no mention of national cycle route 61, though.

Much more quickly than expected, we find ourselves back at the Grand Union Canal, this time at Springwell Lock.

Water cascades over the lock gates, with bridge 176 typically located just below the lock.

Looking upstream from Springwell Lock

George looking cheerful. He was not asked onto this side of the lock!

Lovely reflections as we head south along the canal

Springwell Reed Bed Nature Reserve, and those sewage works again

A mixture of some very smart and some very tatty looking boats in this most malodorous of locations. I suppose the moorings must be a lot cheaper than just downstream at the modern Packet Boat Marina.

Weeds in the canal, growing at the outflow from the sewage works

George making a slightly panicky departure when he lost sight of the photographer.

Come back George!

A more cheerful looking George reunited with the pack leader

A last look at Copper Mill Lock and someone's washing

Just before we climb up off the towpath onto the road, a whitewater canoeing course in the wash of the River Colne.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson