I went for a walk today in the Colne Valley. It’s a strange strip of land between West London and the M25 that can’t decide whether it wants to be part of the countryside or the city. It’s quite a nice part of the world anyway. Here’s where I went, from West Drayton – which you might remember I ended up in before – to Rickmansworth:
View Colne Valley, Jan 2011 in a larger map
The weather was really nice and sunny for the first time in ages but not many people seemed to be out. Most of the time I was following the Grand Union Canal. Here it is just past West Drayton:
The fork you can see to the left is the start of the Slough Arm of the canal. A bit later on I saw some house-barges which have discovered a cunning method for making themselves look bigger than they are:
From here until Uxbridge it was all a bit dull with housing and industrial estates on either side. After that though there’s pretty woodland and lots of lakes. Actually, there’s probably more water than land. Apparently they are all former gravel pits that have been flooded. Here’s one at Denham Quarry:
From then on I was mostly following the Colne Valley Trail, which is helpfully sign-posted. After passing through Harefield the path went through some farmland and I came upon the curiously named Iron Fairy:
I like it very much: seems to be a sort of mini-crane. After that the path rejoined the canal and stayed on it until Rickmansworth. Just before there I met this strange mechanical fellow on the tow path:
Rickmansworth looked nice enough, although I didn’t spend long there. Getting back home was a bit of a trek: I had to get the Metropolitan line all the way into London and then the train out again. Unfortunately north-south train lines in the Thames Valley are pretty much non-existent.
So, to summarise, it’s a really good place to go walking if you live in the area. If you wanted to go further than the 10 miles or so I did then you could follow the canal to Watford. I took some more photos which you can see here if you’re interested.