The Rickmansworth Loop Walk is a real favourite of mine. The route takes in the River Chess, Croxleyhall Woods, Croxley Moor, the Ebury Way and the Grand Union Canal. The path is virtually all off road so it’s a great day out for the dog as well as its owner. It took just over 2 hr 30 minutes to complete.
There are two good places to start the Rickmansworth Loop walk either at Ricky Aquadrome where parking is free or from Rickmansworth Station. The tube and trains are virtual empty on this line so social distancing is not a problem. I began the walk from Rickmansworth station.
If you start from the Aquadrome follow the map below through the town and make your way to the station.
Rickmansworth Station to the Chess Valley
Make your way to the station through Rickmansworth town and cross the main road via the underpass. The entrance to the subway can be difficult to spot. It lies just across the road from the station, slightly to the left of the office block.
When you emerge on the other side, bear to the left and follow the path rather than the pavement. After a few paces you’ll see steps leading to the bridge which will allow you to cross the road.
You should now have the Royal Masonic School for Girls (RMS) on your right hand side as you leave Ricky behind you. The origins of the RMS date back to the 18th century and make it one of the oldest girls schools in Britain. The school was originally set in the East End and moved to its present site in 1934.
As you proceed along the road and further you’ll realise the size of the plot on which it sits.
The buildings have greatly expanded since the school took over the site of Rickmansworth Park an old stately home of 204 acres. As part of the ceremony of laying the foundation stone the Duke of Connaught scattered corn and poured wine and oil. Perhaps this is part of Masonic tradition. Any comments welcome below.
As an extra bit of trivia, part of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed at the school. The place was chosen because of its 1930’s architectural style.
The Chess Valley
At the end of the boundary of RMS turn right and descend the path towards the Chess Valley.
The River Chess is fed by springs from the Chiltern Hills rising in Chesham and flowing down to the River Colne 11 miles later. Renowned in the 19th century for the production of watercress produced by the clear waters of the Chess, the last farm closed about 5 years ago.
The river is a beautiful area for walking. Turn right when you arrive in the valley and head back towards Rickmansworth. The grounds of RMS will continue to be on your right.
Follow the map until you see an open space and keep to the left.
Continue on until you arrive at Park Road (part of the A412). Cross the dual carriageway and climb the hill and then turn right into Lavrock Lane.
The local parish council maintains Croxleyhall Woods to a very high standard. At the fork in the road you can turn right or left as both routes lead to the same place.
You’ll cross the Met Line and then find yourself in Buddleia Walk. The best time for this part of the journey is in August when the buddleia is in full bloom. At the moment severe pruning has made it look like a swaying sea of tangled branches.
At the end of this section of the route are steps that lead down to the River Gate and the Grand Union canal.
Cross the two bridges and emerge onto Croxley Moor. This point is approximately half way round the Rickmansworth Loop walk
The correct title for this area of land is Croxley Common Moor.
The moor is an area of Special Scientific Interest due to the rarity of it’s plant life. You may also see a wide variety of bird life. The Herts Bird Club can tell you more.
Occasionally you will find cows grazing on the moor. The cattle help to maintain this 40 acre site as moorland. There’s plenty of room on the common so you can always give the few cows a wide berth if you are nervous.
Cross over the common on any one of a number of paths and join the Ebury Way. This path runs between Rickmansworth and Watford and was originally built as a railway line by Lord Ebury, the owner of Moor Park Estate. The line opened in 1862 and closed in 1967.
It’s an easy and popular walk and cycle route that travels behind the industrial estates and lakes.
Recently someone has decorated the wall of the met line bridge with a remarkably good image of George Michael.
Continue along the Ebury Way until you reach the Grand Union Canal.
The Grand Union and home
Cross over the canal and descend to the bank side. The last leg of the journey follows alongside the canal.
The canal path continues underneath the main A404 road and shortly you will see Rickmansworth Tesco on you left on the other side of the canal. Turn off to the right at the first opportunity and rejoin the car park of the Aquadrome.
If you started at Rickmansworth Station follow the map and take the path between between Bury and Batchworth Lakes. Where the path splits head slightly right and then take the exit out of the Aquadrome at the next left hand exit. Make your way back to the station.
Enjoyed the Rickmansworth Loop walk? Then you’ll be pleased to know there are many more great walks to find.
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