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Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals

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Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals
Author: NickC, Published: 24 Mar 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guidestar1 Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guidestar1 Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guidestar1 Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guidestar1 Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guide
Hertfordshire, Tring
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guide boot Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals Walking Guide
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The Marsworth Reservoirs act as a magnet for anglers, dogwalkers, boats, birdwatchers and walkers, especially over a sunny weekend, but few ever really venture much beyond the car parks and tearooms, which is a shame as there's a lot to see within a relatively concentrated area. The walk begins with a flight of locks along the Grand Union Canal, before heading down a stretch of the partially restored Wendover Arm of that canal. The route then diverts into open countryside before regaling the walker with a magnificent view of the large Wilstone Reservoir, one of four on this walk. Here, there this an option to enter a bird hide to view the many species who call this water their home at different times of the year. The other reservoirs follow, making this a relaxing six miles of relatively easy walking following a circular route. Allow a good couple of hours to complete the walk, longer if you want to linger.

The walk starts at Startops Reservoir, which is clearly signposted as one of the Marsworth Reservoirs on the B489 linking the A41 to the north east of Aston Clinton and Linslade. Marsworth lies in a little remnant of Hertfordshire to the north of Tring, and can also be reached using the Wingrave Road out of the town off the B488. Use the postcode HP23 4LJ, which is also the location of the lovely little Bluebell Tearoom by the side of the canal just off the main car park.

The car park does carry a charge, with funds used to maintain the reserviors.

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Walk Sections

Start to Wendover Arm Junction
Start to Wendover Arm Junction

Start point: 51.8185 lat, -0.667 long
End point: 51.8158 lat, -0.6542 long

From the car park head up onto the canal towpath and head right (south, then east), immediately passing by the side of a lock to your left, followed shortly after by another, the first of a flight of seven. These reservoirs mark the 'summit' of the Grand Union, and are used to help keep it in water. The reed-lined Marsworth Reservoir now makes an appearance as you pass through the flight.

Pass an old lock-keeper's cottage and eventually you will reach the Top Lock, distinguishable by a brown Georgian toll house on the right. You are now faced with a bridge spanning the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union, the second canal of this walk. Cross over and double back, picking up the towpath on the other side to the left. Just to be sure, there is a fingerpost on the opposite side of the Grand Union by the bridge.

Wendover Arm Junction to Pumping Station
Wendover Arm Junction to Pumping Station

Start point: 51.8158 lat, -0.6542 long
End point: 51.8072 lat, -0.6715 long

Follow the towpath until you reach a bridge, where there is also a flour mill. Cross over the stile and pick up the towpath on the other side. After the mill, the path loses some of its previous good definition but still remains relatively solid. The winding hole, or turning point, after the last house on the left, used to mark the end of navigation, and the stretch from here on is a testament to the restoration society's efforts.

After around three quarters of a mile you come to a pumping station and stop gate, where there is another bridge. Mount the steps and turn right onto the road.

Pumping Station to Wilstone Reservoir
Pumping Station to Wilstone Reservoir

Start point: 51.8072 lat, -0.6715 long
End point: 51.8065 lat, -0.6925 long

Follow the road downhill and past a farm, and as you start to climb you will spot a fingerpost sending you left and up a track. On reaching an open area, head right and you will find yourself back following the course of the canal. Follow this for three quarters of a mile until you reach an information sign about the old pumping station that once stood here, and fifty yards after this take the footpath to the right.

Head down some steps, pausing first to admire a distant view of Wilstone Reservoir, heading downhill and sweeping round the corner of a field, and head right into the corner. Keep hugging the edge of the following fields and on reaching the top corner, take the footpath to your right. Steps and a stile will take you over a small brook and out onto open grassland.

Maintain your direction, heading left of some trees. This leads you through a small copse where you cross another brook, after which you have the option to head right to a bird hide, fifty yards away.

Wilstone Reservoir to Tringford Reservoir
Wilstone Reservoir to Tringford Reservoir

Start point: 51.8065 lat, -0.6925 long
End point: 51.8122 lat, -0.6708 long

The walk heads left and passes through trees before emerging near the top of the reservoir. Follow the path round to the right and stay with the water's edge all the way to the top north-west corner, where you bear right, staying with the water. At the next corner, head out to the left and pick up the path which takes you up to a road, where you go right - not with the main road.

This then goes slightly uphill and comes down to a junction, where you turn left, signed Wiggles Lane. On reaching Tringford Farm pick up the footpath just the other side on your right.

Cross over a pair of stiles either side of a paddock and on reaching a choice of paths, bear left. This soon brings you out onto Tringford Reservoir. Follow this down to the edge of the water until you come to a road. Cross this and go immediately left, heading down to the corner of Startops Reservoir, the fourth and final one of this walk (although you may have glimpsed it at the beginning). At the corner bear right, staying with the water and parallel to a road, and on reaching the next corner you will find a set of steep steps to your left which take you back to the car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.

3 comments for "Marsworth, Four Reservoirs, Two Canals"

On the wilstone to tring ford reservoir section you do not actually come to a T junction but rather a left turn off of the main road sign posted wiggles lane, all in all a fantastic walk

By chunkyson on 19 Jan 2014

Thanks for the update chunkyson, we've corrected the walk directions. Really pleased you enjoyed the walk

By Administrator on 19 Jan 2014

Lovely walk, also easy to reach from Tring station if you don't have a car. Just half an hour along the canal and you join at stage 1. Along this path you pass the Grand Junction Arms which has a pub garden on the canal and a children's playground. Serves food but we only stopped for a drink. Lovely way to spend a spring afternoon.

By Emma241 on 25 Mar 2016

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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