108 – Cassiobury Park, Whippendell Woods and Grand Union Canal to Kings Langley 16 miles – 1st May

In short: magnificent bluebell walk as ever with lovely long towpath walk to Kings Langley. Plentiful free car parking at Cassiobury Park (but beware…displaying an entry time ticket is essential to avoid a fine!); public toilets in the park; great pitstop at a café in Kings Langley – unfortunately the sweet little Coach House Coffee House at Hunton Bridge is now closed. 5hrs 15 mins walking + 30 mins pitstop.

We start by parking at Cassiobury Park car park, postcode WD18 7LG.

Heading away from the car park we walk towards the newly refurbished children’s playground with its impressive water play area and make use of the toilet facilities in the Hub building beside it. From here we walk down towards the river crossing, where we turn left to walk beside it, heading south.

We follow this path across a stream a couple of times until we almost come out at a road – just before that we bear sharp right and walk around a large pond on our left and out onto Rousebarn Lane which carries us across the canal at a bridge. Here we drop down onto the canal towpath and head north.

On reaching a lock we enter Whippendell Woods on our left. We take a path off right and head broadly uphill through an avenue of trees, across a golf fairway and into deeper woodland. We keep ahead at a junction of paths to head downhill into the woods and its at this point that we start to see the impressive swathes of bluebells…

 The sun is shining brightly and the sights and smells are as divine as we remembered…

We honestly do try to restrain ourselves to just a couple of photos but it really is just too tempting!

On reaching a lane at the far end of the woods we head out, cross the lane and enter Harrocks Wood which we recently discovered has an even better reputation for bluebells! There’s a well surfaced path that tracks a circuit around these woods and we follow it, forking left on entry.

And really the reputation is absolutely merited – these woods are literally awash with bluebells and we are mesmerised…

On reaching a path running left to right we turn right and enjoy more fabulous sights.

And at a further junction we turn right again to complete the three sides of the triangle which brings us back to the entrance.

We cross the lane ahead to re-enter Whippendell Woods and almost immediately take the right fork to follow a path that tracks the perimeter of the woods.

On reaching a lane we take a sharp left path and head back across golf fairways to finally reach the lock on the Grand Union canal that marks the entrance to Cassiobury Park. Here we make a brief detour to avail ourselves of the public toilet facilities before heading north on the canal towpath.

This path is as lovely as ever – especially on such a lovely sunny day – and we head past locks, crossing bridges as necessary to remain on the towpath, under the M25/A41 spur and along parallel to the A41.

As mentioned above, we discover that the lovely Coach House Coffee Shop is closed as we head there – aiming to make it our pitstop. Brief consultation of our tracker apps show that Kings Langley isn’t too far away and so we continue along the towpath – under the M25 proper – until we reach the section of the canal that runs through the town.

At a bridge we take a left away from the canal onto Water Lane. We follow this road as it becomes Church Lane and heads uphill to the main road, Watford Road, where we turn right and cross the road to the delightful Fred & Ginger’s coffee shop. Here we enjoy a delicious sandwich and pot of tea each, make use of their idiosyncratic toilet arrangements, before heading back the way we came to the canal.

From here we head straight south on the towpath all the way back to Cassiobury Park.

Gorgeous, demanding distance-wise…but we definitely need to find some hills to attack!

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