27 – Rickmansworth Five Lakes 5.3 miles – 17th August

In short: a lovely watery walk – five lakes and the Grand Union canal. Functional clean public toilets and delightful cafe – albeit very busy in the fine weather in the summer holidays. 2 hrs walking + 40 min pitstop.

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On a warm sunny August morning Alison and I decide to head out to Rickmansworth for a return visit to the Aquadrome and its lovely cafe. It’s about a 45 minute drive to Rickmansworth from Muswell Hill via the M1 and Watford town centre. We park at the huge Aquadrome car park, postcode WD3 1NB – plenty of free parking even on a busy day.

Leaving the car park we head towards the toilet block beside the cafe – as mentioned in walk 10, these facilities are stainless steel, so unappealing, but clean and in working order.

From here we walk behind the toilet block and head towards a path leading away from the car park with the main Aquadrome lake on our left, Bury Lake. On this beautiful day we have a good view of various watersports activities taking place on the far side of the lake away on our left – a buzz of multicoloured activity.

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When there is a fork in the path we take the right towards Batchworth Lake – we are now on the perimeter path which circles the lake clockwise. At every choice of path we stick to the right to stay close to the lake until eventually we come back to the path we started on where we turn left to return past Bury Lake on our right to the cafe.

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Now we take a right onto the path that runs in front of the cafe; Bury Lake is still on our right but now slightly hidden behind bushes and trees. We pass the sailing club on our right at the corner of the lake and we turn right just after it onto a path that runs between two lakes – Bury Lake on our right and Stocker’s Lake on our left.

We stay on this path until we have run out of lake on both sides of the path – then just before the path crosses a river, the Colne, via a metal bridge, we take a path on the left which runs between the lake and the river. The path is a little overgrown with nettles and brambles today – not impassable just a little tricky – but soon opens out in a number of spots to give gorgeous views across the lake on our left as well as the lovely sight of sun-dappled running water on our right.

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Stocker’s Lake turns out to actually be a pretty large expanse of water so we are walking beside it for quite some time before arriving at a bridge over the River Colne which takes us briefly across the bottom of our fourth lake, Inns Lake and then veers right on a path between the lake and a road, Springwell Lane.

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Finally we emerge onto the road which we cross to a car park on the far side. We leave the car park on a path to the right which takes us around lake number 5 – Springwell Lake. This lake – and it’s perimeter path – is deceptively large and is in fact a dog leg shape. We walk in fact almost all the way around it before it becomes tarmac and leads us out to the Grand Union Canal.

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We turn left onto the towpath and immediately under a bridge and past Springwell Lock. This is a lovely stretch of canal and leads us all the way back eventually (after a good 20 minutes) to the Aquadrome via a path off left.

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The path we take leads us straight back to the cafe – which is absolutely heaving with families. A genuinely lovely sight on a beautiful day but we haven’t got time to wait for hot food today – and so opt for the delicious Ottolenghi style salad laid out on the counter and a cold drink. A super end to a delightful walk – we must return on a slightly cooler, quieter day though!

 

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