Enjoy a walk along Hertfordshire's canals

British Waterways is encouraging families to rediscover their local waterway this festive season and help burn off any excess Christmas calories by enjoying an energetic winter walk along the canal.

British Waterways is encouraging families to rediscover their local waterway this festive season and help burn off any excess Christmas calories by enjoying an energetic winter walk along the canal.

With bright blue skies, frozen waterways, and snow covered towpaths the waterways are a great place to visit during the winter months. A brisk stroll not only exercises the body but refreshes the mind and is a great way to shake off the post-Christmas blues.

Children will also love exploring the frosty landscape and spotting the winter wildlife such as robins, swallows and swifts and the best part is it’s all free to visit.

Jeff Whyatt, British Waterways Senior Manager, says, 'With miles of towpath to discover walking is a great way to burn off those extra festive calories and it’s also a great way to escape the relatives! 

'Whatever the weather a visit to your local waterway on a cold crisp day is a great way to ensure you have a more active Christmas holiday. After enjoying a bracing winter walk you can always visit one of the many traditional canal side pubs and enjoy a refreshing drink or just simply sit and enjoy the warmth of an open fire.'

It is estimated that more than 1,400 calories are consumed by adults during the traditional Christmas day dinner. With the addition of chocolate, sweet treats and alcohol, adults can, on average, make their way through 6,000 calories in just one day. Walking can help beat obesity and walking just 10,000 steps a day is a great way to stay in shape and be active. 

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The top five walks along the Grand Union Canal are:

Tring Reservoirs in Hertfordshire – there are three circular walks around Tring reservoirs which are waymarked to help you enjoy your walk to the full.  They vary in length and some of the routes are suitable for wheelchair users.  The reservoirs are classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are a great place for wildlife lovers to spot water birds and other winter wildlife. Foxton Locks in Leicestershire – located near Market Harborough, Foxton Locks is one of Leicestershire’s top tourist attractions.  With a flight of ten locks climbing uphill 75 feet, the remains of the Foxton Incline Plane boat lift, a family friendly orienteering course, and a welcoming pub, this wheelchair and pushchair friendly site offers something for the whole family.  Circular walk around Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire - this 4km walk gives you a lovely take on the countryside and the seven locks around Stoke Bruerne. The walk along the canal's towpath takes in the sights of Blisworth Tunnel, the remaining track of the Blisworth Hill Tramway and the Canal Museum. Hemel Hempstead to Berkhamsted – this 3 � mile walk follows the towpath of the Grand Union Canal all the way from Hemel Hempstead to Berkhamsted. It passes a number of pubs - some very old ones, as well as the watercress beds between Winkwell and Berkhamsted. Finally it brings you into the lovely town of Berkhamsted with independent shops, cinema and more waterside pubs. Circular walk from Rickmansworth – a 4 � mile circular walk from Springwell Lock is a peaceful oasis in the busy west London area. This walk is just a few minutes away from the M25 yet feels a million miles away from the busy motorway traffic.

British Waterways is asking everyone who uses its towpaths to take extra care during the festive break. Towpaths, bridges and lock-sides can become slippery at this time of year and snow can conceal boat mooring rings and ropes, which are easy to trip over.

Frozen canals certainly look beautiful but can be very dangerous, and no-one should ever attempt to walk on, or test the thickness of, the ice. British Waterways’ message for visitors is to stay SAFE by Staying Away From the Edge. For more information on water safety, or for more places to enjoy on our inland waterways, visit www.waterscape.com

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