Where better to be during these warmer months, than by the water’s edge? Enjoy a slice of summer serenity when you embark on this month’s peaceful circuit, which loops around not one, not two, but three lakes in charming Rickmansworth…

Setting the scene:

With its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, Rickmansworth Lakes offers a delightful escape for nature enthusiasts and explorers alike. This waterside walk offers magnificent views across Rickmansworth Aquadrome and its neighbouring lakes at the best of times, but a visit at this time of year offers ramblers the opportunity to enjoy this scenic spot bathed in the golden glow of summer light. A true summer romance!

The route:

● Starting at Rickmansworth Aquadrome car park, head down the tarmac path, passing the lakeside café and toilets on your left. Keep Bury Lake to your left as you follow the path around, enjoying the serene surroundings. At the T-junction, turn right and continue until you spot a kissing gate just before a bridge over the River Colne.

● Take a left through the gate, where the path now runs alongside the river on your right with Stockers Lake on your left. Keep going for about ½ mile until you reach another kissing gate and a bridge on your right.

● Stockers Lake is a gem formed by gravel extraction, now flourishing with diverse aquatic plants. Designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1984 and managed by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, this lake is home to a variety of wildlife. Ducks flock here in winter, while Shovelers and Goldeneyes visit in significant numbers. Keep an eye out for occasional sightings of Smew and Pochard. During the breeding season, you might even spot Common Terns nesting on floating rafts and witness the majesty of the large heronry.

Great British Life: You will come across a number of bird species on this walk Credit: Gus HodgeYou will come across a number of bird species on this walk Credit: Gus Hodge

● Cross the River Colne via the footbridge and continue along the path, now with the picturesque Inns Lake on your right. Follow this path until you reach Springwell Lane. Safely cross the road and enter the small Springwell Lake car park. Proceed through the gate at the end of the car park.

● Turn right and stroll around Springwell Lake, soaking in the tranquil atmosphere. At the far end of the lake, you'll notice the expansive Springwell Reedbed. Mostly dominated by Common Reed, it also features Greater and Lesser Pond Sedge, as well as scattered Alder, Crack Willow, and Grey Willow. This area teems with harvest mice and serves as a breeding ground for Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers. In winter, the reedbed provides a cosy roosting spot for many birds, including Reed Buntings and Starlings.

● When you reach the tarmac road, turn left and follow it until you spot a gate on your right, just before the bridge. Pass through the gate and turn left onto the canal towpath. Continue until you reach Springwell Lock, where another small car park awaits.

Great British Life: Grand Junction Canal Credit: Gus HodgeGrand Junction Canal Credit: Gus Hodge

● Dating back to 1803, the canal, originally known as the Grand Junction Canal, played a vital role in transporting goods between London, Birmingham, and the north. It was the "M1" of its time, with narrowboats and barges navigating its waters. Reflect on the incredible feat of human labour that went into building this canal, with men wielding picks and shovels, and horses and carts moving tons of earth and rock.

● Follow the canal towpath for approximately 1 mile, soaking up the countryside views. Take note of the old industrial site and disused wharf across the bank, remnants of a bygone era. Look out for two coal tax posts on your left: one made of granite and another painted metal one just before Stockers Lock, adorned with the City of London coat of arms. These posts served as boundary markers, signifying where tax was levied on coal and other fuel entering the London area under 19th-century Acts of Parliament. It's fascinating to know that over 200 of these posts still stand today, many recognized as listed structures.

● Immediately after Stockers Lock, veer left onto a path that leads away from the towpath. After 100 yards, turn right at a path junction.

● Walk beside Bury Lake for approximately ¼ mile until you see the Aquadrome car park on your right, once more. Here, today’s waterside route concludes.

Make a day of it:

Why not give those tired feet a break and hop aboard a scenic canal cruise with Rickmansworth Waterways Trust? This incredible Heritage Education charity brings communities together through cultural events, festivals, and educational programmes. Sail on their Pride of Batchworth, a purpose-built boat accommodating up to 12 people, for a relaxing journey along the Grand Union Canal. Allow the Waterways Trust’s friendly volunteer crew to look after you as you take it easy and enjoy the stunning views from Batchworth to Stockers Lock and back. Each round trip lasts 30-40 minutes, and provides the perfect way to unwind after a summer's walk. Book your trip in advance for a guaranteed spot on this unforgettable water adventure!

Great British Life: Cafe in the Park credit: Megan Cobb Cafe in the Park credit: Megan Cobb

Perfectly-placed pit-stop:

Cafe in the Park (aptly named for its idyllic positioning, nestled in the heart of Rickmansworth Aquadrome park) is the ultimate spot for a refreshing break before or after this month’s lake-side loop. Serving delicious, freshly baked cakes and pastries sourced from their own bakery, along with an extensive breakfast, lunch, and drinks menu, there’s something to satisfy any taste bud at Cafe in the Park. We strongly recommend a stack of their buttermilk pancakes, twinned with a frothy coffee, as the perfect pre-walk fuel…

Find out more about Cafe in the Park, or peruse their menu at thecafeinthepark.com

Steps, stats, and stiles:

At 3 ¾ miles (6km) in length, this month’s circular route will take summer strollers approximately 1 hour 15 minutes to complete when walking at a steady pace. The trail is made up of generally level ground, with good pedestrian paths or boardwalks throughout. It does contain some small stretches of slope, and can be muddy if completed later in the year, during the winter months.


Today’s route conveniently starts and ends from the free car park at Rickmansworth Aquadrome. Please use postcode WD3 1NB to locate this car park. Alternatively, for those who wish to extend their walk slightly, there are several further free car parks in the centre of Rickmansworth.

Route followed:

For this month’s walk we followed the ‘Rickmansworth Lakes Circular Walk’ route on the Colne Valley Park website colnevalleypark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/8.-Rickmansworth-Lakes-Walk.pdf