Rickmansworth circular via Croxley Green and Watford

A Hertfordshire walk that explores the area to the east of Rickmansworth. The route uses a mixture of paths, lanes and canal towpaths following sections of the Chess Valley Walk and the Croxley Green Boundary Walk.

Technical sheet
No. 293121
A Hertfordshire walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 15/09/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h15[?]
Distance Distance : 14.4km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 60m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 63m
Highest point Highest point : 92m
Lowest point Lowest point : 49m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Hertfordshire
Starting point Starting point : N 51.6403° / W 0.473658°
Download : -

Description

(D/A)On leaving Rickmansworth station, turn right towards the top of Station Road and then, on the other side of it, a public footpath sign indicates a tarmac path leading up towards and then left across a road bridge. This is the way to go next. On the other side of the bridge, signs for the Chess Valley route indicate the way across a field (Rickmansworth Park) and down a hill to the right to reach a residential area at the foot of the hill. Leave the road here to locate a path off to the left. The route now follows a meandering course around a field on the right before the chalk stream of the River Chess appears at Scotsbridge. A noticeboard explains about the flora and fauna of the river which is home to the elusive water vole among other creatures. However, the route leaves the River Chess after just a few minutes more of walking when a footbridge appears on the right.

(1)After crossing the bridge, continue ahead through woodland to a point where signed public footpaths lead both ahead and to the right. This is the first of a number of points on the walk where a sign appears for the CGBW. Follow this route, initially ahead up a field, the path following a meandering course as it skirts the field and reaches a road. Here another CGBW sign appears and you have a choice as one path to the right borders a hedge and another one goes diagonally across the same field roughly due east, two sides of a triangle. Take the latter path and follow the path as it continues downhill to the edge of the field and then up a series of riser steps through Copthorne Wood to emerge in the open at another field. Turn left and Croxley Green (village) is seen ahead with its village green, appropriately enough.

(2)Although it is in the direction you want to go next, I don't recommend the road leading to the left (Sarratt Road) as it is narrow and not suitable for pedestrians. Therefore, I suggest a more circuitous and safer way of continuing the route. Cross the green ahead and follow the country lane to the left, Green Lane, passing KIllingdown Farm on the right and at the end of the lane follow a narrow alley past Waterdell House to reach a field.
Note that a left turn down Little Green Lane before passing Waterdell House and then a right turn at the next crossroads is a shorter way of continuing the route towards Harrocks Wood.

(3)This route takes a longer way round but across fields and through woods. Follow the path to the right initially, bordering a field, then cross the field towards a copse, part of the CGCR. Cross to the right across a field to the edge of Dell Wood and then take the path due north east to connect with the path running between Rousebarn Lane to the east and the country lane to the north of Sarratt Lane to the west. Here there is a crossroads of paths with the way ahead indicating Whippendell Wood which the walk is going to reach later, but for this route take the path to the left.
Note: At this crossroads of path, the CGBW takes a shorter and more direct approach to the River Gade by turning right, but this route leaves the CGBW here to do a longer, more circuitous route, heading left instead.

(4)When the path to the left reaches a road with a sign for Croxley Green in .25 of a mile to the left, turn right, passing Oak Farm and onwards towards and through Harrocks Wood to emerge at Redhall Lane at Chandler's Cross, where there is the Prime Steak and Grill on the other side of the road while to the left are a mission church and a bus stop - both closed at the time of writing. Turn right here (south east) down Rousebarn Lane with its various potholes and there may be occasional traffic. Continue the route by leaving the road when a path appears on the left, leading into the 165 acres of Whippendell Wood, noted for its bluebells at the right time of year. Various bowl-shaped hollows in the wood are the result of large bomb craters dating back to the second world war.

(5)The Outdoor Leisure map Chilterns Hills East 172 shows what appears to be a single path running roughly north-west to south-east through Whippendell Wood, but, as a noticeboard near the entrance from Rousebarn Lane shows, the wood is criss-crossed by a number of paths. Further, when walking along one path, you may well find that it divides at a fork with no obvious choice as to which one of the two to follow next and there is a general lack of obvious landmarks. Therefore the best option is to try to follow what appears to be the main path, trending south east and this should lead you to emerge from the woods at a road running right to left with the West Herts Golf Course on the other side. If you can see the car park at the end of the road to the left, you need to follow the road to the right instead. Follow the road until a point is reached where paths to the left and right form a crossroads with the road you are walking along. Here, the route leads along a track wide enough for a vehicle, signposted for Cassiobury Park. Being mindful of the possible danger of flying golf balls from the nearby fairway, follow the route ahead as it leads downhill through woodland with a glimpse of the River Gade seen on the left before reaching the river at a bridge. Cassiobury Park is the other side of the bridge, one of London's larger parks. For this route, follow the canal towpath ahead on the right hand side of the canal.

(6)The route now follows the towpath by the canal for the next few miles in a roughly south westerly direction, frequently passing houseboats. There are some picturesque scenes along by the canal and at one point, a couple of swans obligingly presented some additional interest as a foreground to a photo at Cassiobridge Lock no 78. Common Moor lock No 79 is passed next. You know you are getting near to the point where you leave the canal, first when a lake appears on the right, then Batchworth is passed and a couple of locks in quick succession, Lot Mead, no 80, then Batchworth Lock number 81. Leave the canal here and Rickmansworth town centre is .25 of a mile to the right. Station Road leads up a hill to the right off the main high street.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 58m - Start: Rickmansworth station
1 : km 1.67 - alt. 53m - Cross bridge over River Chess
2 : km 2.88 - alt. 86m - Turn left after Copthorne Wood into Croxley Green
3 : km 3.66 - alt. 83m - Continue down alley past Waterdell House
4 : km 4.28 - alt. 87m - Turn left at crossroad of paths
5 : km 6.75 - alt. 83m - Take lefthand path into Whippendell Wood
6 : km 8.94 - alt. 65m - Follow the canal towpath
D/A : km 14.4 - alt. 57m - Finish: Rickmansworth station

Useful Information

Twenty miles north-west of central London, Rickmansworth in the county of Hertfordshire is the start and finish point for this circular walk which can be done by using public transport, namely the London Underground. For much of the route as far as the River Gade at Watford, the scenery largely consists of paths through woodland or across fields, or along country lanes or bridleways with little in the way of views. Sometimes there is a background drone of distant traffic which increases in volume as you get nearer to the main source of it, the M25, on the approach to Chandler's Cross.

By way of a change, much of the return route is along a towpath next to the Grand Union Canal, offering some different scenery with some pleasant views of trees and houseboats reflected in the canal. Cyclists like to use the towpath as well so be alert to them and be ready to let them pass on some of the narrower stretches.

Typical of the countryside of the south east of England in general, as a look at the Outdoor Leisure map (Chiltern Hills East 172) reveals, there are many public footpaths and bridleways in the area covered by this walk. It therefore follows that while this is one route suggestion, there are ways of varying it. The route follows part of the Chess Valley Walk for about the first half a mile of it, and continues with sections of the Croxley Green Boundary Walk (CGBW) which is clearly signposted. As the name indicates, the CGBW is a walk around the boundary of the village of Croxley Green in Hertfordshire. For those wanting to shorten the walk, one option is to return from Watford on the other side of Cassiobury Park (190 acres) though it is due to close (see note at the bottom of this walk description). The route also offers another possible "escape route" as the return leg along by the canal passes near to another underground station, Croxley. You can expect muddy footpaths, so suitable footwear should be worn.

The above walk description is based on the author having done the walk in January 2016, at which time there was a plan to close Watford tube station on the Metropolitan line (http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/10...)

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Other walks in the area

distance 14.18km Vertical gain +78m Vertical drop -74m Durée 4h15 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Hertfordshire

This walk starts at Ricky Aquadrome with its 3 lakes and goes along a delightful stretch of the River Chess, through Whippendell Woods (particularly nice in mid April when the bluebells are out), to Cassiobury Park with its 2 cafes and voted one of the 10 best parks in Britain and along short stretches of the River Gade and Grand Union Canal. Do allow plenty of time for exploring the many interesting features on this walk.

distance 18.93km Vertical gain +229m Vertical drop -265m Durée 6h05 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Little Chalfont - Buckinghamshire

This Chilterns walk takes in parts of the Chess Valley walk at the start and end of the route and a section of the Chiltern Way in between. There is a variety of scenery with undulating landscapes, pastoral scenes of grazing animals, fields of wild flowers in summer, a cricket pitch, a golf course, a quarry, two churches and the shallow chalk stream of the River Chess.

distance 10.77km Vertical gain +64m Vertical drop -60m Durée 3h15 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Little Chalfont - Buckinghamshire

This walk along the River Chess starts from Little Chalfont in Buckinghamshire and walks east through pleasant surroundings before turning west to Chenies and a return to the start.

distance 2.43km Vertical gain +4m Vertical drop -8m Durée 0h40 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Harrow - Greater London

This is the first section of a 12 mile walking route which follows the River Pinn from Pinner to Uxbridge. Of all Middlesex's 'lost rivers' the River Pinn is perhaps the most visible.

distance 5.55km Vertical gain +12m Vertical drop -12m Durée 1h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Harrow - Greater London

This is a short urban walk exploring another of the 'lost landscapes of Middlesex'. The Yeading Brook rises at Headstone Manor and can be tracked all the way to Ruislip Gardens. This walk starts and finishes in West Harrow, and follows the most attractive section of the river through two pretty linear parks : The Yeading Brook Open Space and Streamside Recreation Ground.

distance 10.24km Vertical gain +76m Vertical drop -85m Durée 3h10 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Hertfordshire

Starting from Hemel Hempstead Station this is a walk which can be enjoyed without a car. The station is right on the edge of the town so virtually all the route is through the open country, much of it through Boxmoor Trust land, on the plateau of the Chilterns and along the Grand Union Canal. There are lots of reminders of the history of the area from 1594 through WWII. If you are lucky you may see a couple of rare farm breeds kept on Trust land and some interesting birds along the canal.

distance 2.81km Vertical gain +0m Vertical drop -29m Durée 0h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Harrow - Greater London

The Wealdstone Brook is one of the lost rivers of Middlesex. It's a short urban walk, one of my 'lost landscapes' routes around the Harrow area. Ironically, there is no trace of the river left in Wealdstone itself, where it has all been culverted. However, it meanders very prettily through Woodcock Park in Kenton, surrounded by grassy banks and willow trees. This is the best bit! There are further glimpses of it along the route of this walk.

distance 6.24km Vertical gain +58m Vertical drop -58m Durée 1h55 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Harrow - Greater London

This is a short urban walk exploring the 'lost landscapes of Middlesex'. I was recently introduced to a secret park which I never knew about, and realised this must be the summit of the original Sudbury Hill before it was swallowed up under the tide of suburban housing. The walk visits Elm Park and also takes you past the Harrow School sports fields. It starts and finishes near Harrow School, Harrow-on-the-Hill.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.