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Wigginton and Grand Union Canal

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Wigginton and Grand Union Canal
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 07 Jun 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Hertfordshire, Chilterns
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Wigginton and Grand Union Canal
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 6 mile circular walk starting from Tring rail station in Hertfordshire. The walk heads up into the Chilterns and through the village of Wigginton before returning along a picturesque section of the Grand Union Canal.

The walk has just a few steady climbs and descents. There are no stiles but many kissing gates and a few steps. The paths are a mixture of stone, tarmac and grass, some of which will be muddy after wet weather. The walk passes through a large horse paddock so take care with dogs at this point. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from Tring railway station, which is on the Milton Keynes and Watford Junction line. If you are coming by car there is a pay and display car park for more than 500 cars alongside the station. Payment is accepted by cash or by mobile phone. Approximate post code HP23 5QR.

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Walk Sections

Tring Station to Ridgeway
Tring Station to Ridgeway

Start point: 51.8005 lat, -0.6212 long
End point: 51.798 lat, -0.6259 long

From the station or station car park, exit onto Station Road and turn left to follow the pavement alongside the road. Pass by The Posting House, formally the Royal Hotel, on the left hand side.

Follow the road as it crosses the Grand Union Canal and immediately afterwards turn left into Beggars Lane. Follow the edge of this lane for 200 yards and then turn right onto a footpath through an arch in the hedge, marked with black signpost for the Ridgeway. (Take care as this turning is a little hidden).

Ridgeway to The Twist
Ridgeway to The Twist

Start point: 51.798 lat, -0.6259 long
End point: 51.7876 lat, -0.6405 long

Go straight ahead on the Ridgeway path, a grass path which emerges between fenced grazing areas. Continue straight on as the path becomes a wider stone track and then after a short distance as the main stone track bends left, go straight ahead through a kissing gate.

Follow this path to pass through another kissing gate to reach the road. Cross over via the pedestrian bollards and turn right for a few paces before turning left onto the footpath signed again for the Ridgeway. Follow the path uphill past a vehicle barrier and then continue ahead on the grass footpath, as it swings right and then left to cross over the arched footbridge over the A41.

At the far side of the bridge pass through a gate and follow the fenced path through a pair of kissing gates a few paces later. After some distance the path emerges through a gate to reach the tarmac lane called The Twist.

The Twist to Wick Road
The Twist to Wick Road

Start point: 51.7876 lat, -0.6405 long
End point: 51.7803 lat, -0.6449 long

Turn right and then immediately left through a gate to continue on the Ridgeway. Go ahead on the path running uphill alongside a section of ancient trees. Follow the path as it swings right through a kissing gate and then another kissing gate a short distance further.

Enjoy the views over to your right here which reach far across the valley below. On the left you will pass a concrete ordnance survey trig point. The path emerges through a gate onto Fox Road. Cross over and go straight ahead onto the permissive bridleway section of the Ridgeway. At the end of the row of houses enter the woodland alongside the wooden gate and then turn immediately left onto the stone footpath running through the edge of the woods.

After a little distance, cross over the tarmac lane via a pair of wooden staggered barriers. A little later follow the path as it bends first right and then left. The path emerges onto Wick Road.

Wick Road to Lower Wood
Wick Road to Lower Wood

Start point: 51.7803 lat, -0.6449 long
End point: 51.7804 lat, -0.6318 long

Turn left along Wick Road. At the T-junction turn right and pass by the Greyhound pub on the right. Just a few paces after the pub, turn left through a kissing gate onto a footpath signed for Crawley’s Lane. Follow this narrow path meandering downhill through the wild meadow.

Pass through a kissing gate alongside a four-way signpost and go straight ahead signed for Cow Roast - a pub you will pass by later. At the end of this field, pass through another kissing gate and pass under an old tree to reach the next meadow. Pass through a kissing gate at the far side to enter the small woodland – Lower Wood.

Lower Wood to A41 Tunnel
Lower Wood to A41 Tunnel

Start point: 51.7804 lat, -0.6318 long
End point: 51.779 lat, -0.6207 long

Go straight ahead, again signed for Cow Roast. Keep left at the fork and then you will emerge from the woods via a kissing gate into a paddock. This paddock was holding more than 20 horses when we came through so take care with dogs.

Keep to the left hand paddock boundary, passing through the small gate in the central dividing fence. At the far side pass through a kissing gate and follow the path going through the centre of the crop field. Pass through a kissing gate to reach a track, turn right signed Cow Roast. Keep ahead on the concrete track and then turn left to pass under the A41 via the tunnel.

A41 Tunnel to Cow Roast Lock
A41 Tunnel to Cow Roast Lock

Start point: 51.779 lat, -0.6207 long
End point: 51.7835 lat, -0.612 long

After passing under the tunnel, turn right, signed for Chiltern Way. (Note this turning is the second of the two adjacent options on the right and passes through the entrance gate to Tinker’s Lodge). Pass by the lodge on the left and follow the gravel path as it widens and passes between recreation grounds.

A little while later you’ll reach a T-junction with the main road. Turn right for a few paces in front of the Cow Roast Inn, and then cross over with care to take Wharf Lane opposite (signed for the Chiltern Way). Cross over the canal bridge and then turn immediately left onto the tow path with the canal and lock to your left.

Cow Roast Lock to Newground Bridge
Cow Roast Lock to Newground Bridge

Start point: 51.7835 lat, -0.612 long
End point: 51.7898 lat, -0.618 long

This lock is called Cow Roast Lock and its name comes from the term ‘cow rest’. This area had large cattle pens used by the drovers on route to London from the midlands. The lock is the first descending south from the Chilterns towards London. The canal is fed from the adjacent River Bulbourne which is a chalk stream with remnants of old watercress beds.

Continue ahead past the lock and enjoying this picturesque section of the canal, home to a range of highly decorated narrowboats. Pass over the arched wooden footbridge and to your right you’ll be able to see the Cow Roast Marina.

Continue ahead down the towpath until you reach the first road bridge passing over the canal, Newground Bridge.

Newground Bridge to End
Newground Bridge to End

Start point: 51.7898 lat, -0.618 long
End point: 51.8008 lat, -0.6233 long

Keep left here to follow the towpath passing under the arched brick bridge. Now follow the towpath for more than half a mile.

The main line of the Grand Union Canal stretches for 137 miles with 166 locks from London to Birmingham. This section from the Cow Roast Lock is the 3 mile long summit through the Chiltern Hills.

You will eventually reach the next bridge overhead. Pass under the bridge, and then a few paces later turn sharp right up the steps to meet the road. Go ahead along the pavement heading back towards the station. You will reach the station on the right.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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