Grand Union Canal, Rickmansworth to Watford

This is a short trip, out and back, of about 8 miles, and depending on the level of water, could include a short trip back down the Gade river out of the fishing season. Start at the Aquadrome in Rickmansworth, lots of free parking.

On the canal head north, past Tesco's to the first lock at Batchworth. During the summer months there is a small riverside cafeteria here. There seems to be a small side branch to the canal here, but it doesn't go anywhere. Portage either on the left or in the middle, which is more convenient when there are crowds about.

From here on there are many house boats on the river banks, one even has a conservatory overhanging on the river.Lot Mead lock is quickly reached, then underneath the "underground" to reach the outskirts of Croxley Green and Common Moor lock. The canal side path is busy at all times with walkers, joggers and cyclists. The river Gade is on the right hand side of the canal and could probably be canoed back down in wet month, though a saw may be necessary to clear undergrowth.

Another mile and Cassio Bridge lock is reached and then onto bridge167 and Iron Bridge lock. Get out on the right before the bridge. There are picnic tables and benches here for a lunch stop. This is Cassiobury Park and it is possible to canoe back down the river Gade to bridge 169 just below Cassio Bridge lock. It could only be done in times of heavy rainfall and out of season fishing of course. It may still involve some bump and scrape. We canoed back down the canal and then up a the river Gade for about half a mile, but were stopped from going further by some serious sized trees across the river.

Canoeing back to the carpark gave us a run of about 8 miles, 8 portages and a time of four and a half hours, including the lunch stop. We did this in early March and the canal was actually frozen over in parts, but fortunately a barge had been up the river and half cleared a path for us. Coming back, nearly all the ice had gone and we finished in brilliant sunshine.

Frozen canal at the Aquadrome Breaking Ice Batchworth Lock Houseboat
Lot Mead lock with ice Swans out of water Friendly dog Icy stretch
Cassio Bridge Lock Bridge 167, get out River Gade Pit stop, before returning

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