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Denham and The Colne Valley

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Denham and The Colne Valley
Author: NickC, Published: 22 Apr 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guidestar1 Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guidestar1 Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guidestar0 Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guidestar0 Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guide
Buckinghamshire, Denham
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Denham and The Colne Valley
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guide boot Denham and The Colne Valley Walking Guide
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Denham represents perhaps the last outpost of Shire England to the west of London before the capital's sprawl takes over. Appropriately, this circular walk describes a ring around the intersection of the M40 with the M25, but don't let that put you off, as the route provides an excellent way to enjoy a protected area, with remnants of market gardens and nurseries providing a reminder of how the villages around here once supplied fresh fruit and flowers to the capital. Its waterways also provided a means for city dwellers to reconnect with nature, and the walk links with both the River Colne and the Grand Union Canal in its early stages.

At little over 5 miles in total, allow a good two hours to complete the walk. There's a useful Visitors Centre at the start providing refreshments as well as a canalside pub about a third of the way in. Although the path is good most of the way, some sections of fields can get muddy, so boots are recommended, and there are a number of stiles in the latter part of the walk.

The walk starts at the Colne Valley Park Visitors Centre (UP9 5PG), about half a mile north of Junction 1 of the M40, off the A40, which is clearly signposted. Denham is accessible by rail with Chiltern Railways out of Marylebone. Car parking is available, but a charge is made, although for this you do get access to the Centre and its facilities. Picnic tables are also provided here.

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Walk Sections

Start to Bridge 183
Start to Bridge 183

Start point: 51.5671 lat, -0.4896 long
End point: 51.561 lat, -0.4822 long

From the Visitors Centre follow signs for the South Bucks Way, starting by some mosaics and the site of an old Roman well. A signpost indicates that the River Colne and Grand Union Canal are a third of a mile away, and there is a magnificent sculpture of a heron to the right. The path heads up to a hedge and then follows it to a road. Pass through a gate on either side. Stay with the path, ignoring another to the left, and pass through another gate, heading up a made up track. The top end of this track is marshy either side, but thankfully you should be above it and stay dry!

Pass through a further kissing gate and over a wooden footbridge over the River Colne, coming out onto the Grand Union Canal. You need to bear right on the towpath, but may want to make a quick diversion to the left to look at Denham Deep Lock. Back on the route, you have the canal on your left and the river on your right. Stay with the canal until the (stone) bridge number 183.

Bridge 183 to Swan and Bottle
Bridge 183 to Swan and Bottle

Start point: 51.561 lat, -0.4822 long
End point: 51.5505 lat, -0.4848 long

Cross over the bridge and pick up the towpath on the other side, signposted The London Loop. Pass under the A40 and a run of bungalows begins on the opposite bank. The river periodically merges and then separates from the canal.

Pass the 81 mile marker, indicating the distance to Braunston, significant as this is where the Grand Union meets with the Oxford Canal, the main canal route connecting Birmingham and London (via the Thames) before the Grand Union was cut. Unlike the Oxford, the Grand Union is a wide canal, that is it can take 12 foot beam boats. These are correctly known as 'barges', as opposed to 6 foot beam narrowboats.

Just before Uxbridge Lock the canal and river separate again, creating Kingsmill, where a bakery once stood, and whose name is retained in a brand of sliced loaf today. The lock has an archetypal lock-keepers cottage. Cross over the canal and head up the towpath to the attractive canalside Swan and Bottle pub.

Swan and Bottle to Southlands Manor Drive
Swan and Bottle to Southlands Manor Drive

Start point: 51.5505 lat, -0.4848 long
End point: 51.5541 lat, -0.5037 long

Take the raised path up to the road and bear right, following the road (the A4020), with the river and island to your right. At the end of a run of shops and restaurants, cross over the road and pick up the pavement on the other side, maintaining your direction. After 20 yards follow the fingerpost sending you left onto open land, through a kissing gate, cutting diagonally right towards some houses. These constitute part of New Denham, a Victorian model housing estate built in the 1870s by a local squire.

Pass through a modest metal gate, pass over a road and stay with the path, which is, initially at least, channelled by some brick walls and then the sides of gardens. Follow this all the way through the housing until you emerge onto a minor road. The path doglegs slightly to the left, and you follow this up to Buckland Farm, where the footpath heads left.

The path is now more of a farm track and heads up to, and along, a quarry, before being channelled by a wire fence as it approaches the half-timbered Southlands Manor. The path turns right to follow the Manor's driveway, and you follow this down to a roundabout with the A412.

Southlands Manor Drive to Rush Green Farm
Southlands Manor Drive to Rush Green Farm

Start point: 51.5541 lat, -0.5037 long
End point: 51.5601 lat, -0.5159 long

Taking immense care, cross over the road and head down Willetts Lane opposite. The road curves to the right past a modern house and farm buildings, and 400 yards after this take the footpath to your left through a metal gate. A long straight section of public bridleway follows along the right hand edge of a field. Ignore a footpath to the right and stay with the bridleway to the end of the field, where you bear right, following a hardcore track on the right hand edge of a (much smaller) field. As the track bends to the left, pick up the bridleway straight ahead, which immediately passes to the left along a hedge and follows the route of the farm track. On emerging back onto the track head right.

At the top of the track where it bends to the left, keep going forward through a wooden gate and along a grassy track. Where there is a choice of footpath and bridleway stick with the latter, passing to the left, which comes out onto a farm track. Turn right and proceed to the entrance of Rush Green Farm.

Rush Green Farm to A40
Rush Green Farm to A40

Start point: 51.5601 lat, -0.5159 long
End point: 51.5685 lat, -0.5049 long

From the farm, turn left and over the M40. Immediately after the motorway, turn right, down the made up road, and after 150 yards pass over the stile on your left, with a marker for the Colne Valley Trail. Follow the right hand edge of some pasture, sections of which can get quite muddy. At the end of this there is another stile, followed by some more pasture, half way along which there is yet another stile taking you into more pasture on your right. Stay with this, along the left hand edge, passing some mature oaks, heading downhill, and then over a pair of stiles over a small stream.

Stay with the left hand edge of the following field, heading slightly uphill, where there are some fine views over the Colne Valley towards the west of London. This ends in a further stile, bringing you onto Blacksmiths Lane, where you need to head right.

Where the track bends to the right head straight on down a narrow track. After a couple of hundred yards pick up the footpath on the right over a stile. Follow this down to the end of the field and pass through the metal kissing gate between the petrol station and a house, which brings you out onto the A40.

A40 to End
A40 to End

Start point: 51.5685 lat, -0.5049 long
End point: 51.5672 lat, -0.4896 long

Turn right along the A40, past the petrol station and some nurseries. When an opportunity arises, cross the road using the island in the middle, and head down the residential Cheapside Lane on the left until you reach Denham Infants' School. Pick up the footpath down an alleyway on the far end of the school playground and continue along the edge of a cricket field.

Follow the backs of some houses and when the track comes to a minor road cross over and maintain your direction. Stay with this path as it passes a football pitch to the right and reaches some woodland. Stick with the path on the edge of the woodland all the way to a road. Turn left here and cross another river (the Misbourne this time) and you will arrive at the back of the car park next to the Visitor's Centre where you started.

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


1 responses to "Denham and The Colne Valley"

Some later parts of this walk heavily overgrown.

By jtwydle on 2016-08-04 13:42:46

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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