Our walk today visits some of the further reaches of 'Metroland', the name given to areas served and developed by the independent Metropolitan railway between the wars. Unusually for railways in Britain, 'the Met' was also given powers to own land adjacent to its lines and to develop it on its own account. This led to the emergence between the wars of the salubrious outer suburbs celebrated by John Betjeman. Both ends of the walk ends lie in the county of Hertfordshire but in the middle section we are back in Greater London, in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Paradoxically, this part of the walk is the most truly rural.
The walk also follows another important transport route, the Grand Union Canal. The section through the Colne Valley was originally built as the Grand Junction Canal between 1793 and 1805 to shorten and improve the freight waterway route between the Midlands and London. The Colne Valley has several large lakes formed from the past extraction of gravel. The area's three rivers, the Colne, Chess and Gade, supported several industries, including watercress growing, corn milling, silk weaving, paper making and brewing.
From Croxley station, we will follow the River Gade and the Grand Union Canal along the Colne Valley generally in a south westerly direction, passing close to Rickmansworth. We will then divert through the pleasant Stocker’s Lake Nature Reserve before rejoining the Grand Union Canal to reach the Coy Carp pub on the canal for lunch. This marks the most southerly point of the walk. After lunch we follow the London Loop path across country to Moor Park station.
Terrain / Difficulty
Mostly dirt paths and tracks which could be muddy in wet weather. Some road walking.