Grand Union Canal – Winkwell – Berkhamsted Walk – 03.02.2013

We had decided to continue our walk alongside the Grand Union canal from WinkWell as we both felt that after the particularly wet and snowy winter that we just had, the canal towpath was probably the best and least muddiest route, or so we thought… We didn’t even mind that the weather was just cloudy and cold, at least it was not raining :-). We had quite a fast pace on this section as we wanted to keep quite warm, but it as not long before we hit a snag! Our devious plan to stay away from the mud had been foiled.

This section of the towpath was sadly very uncared for. The huge amount of walkers, runners and cyclists had churned up the path so badly because of the rain which had softened the ground so much. This meant the tow path was really terrible to walk through, deep puddles and very nasty mud! It was also very precarious in places, particularly under the bridge we encountered, as the safest place to walk was on the concrete next to the canal as the puddles were very deep and treacherous, however, if we had not been careful, we could have fallen in – scary stuff!

From 2013 – 03.02.2013 – Grand Union Canal – Winkwell – Berkhamsted walk

Sadly the rest of the path had not been much cared for either, which is a great shame really, as it seems to be a very popular part of the canal. In fact I was rather taken aback by the amount of fishermen that we walked past. Looking at the other side of the canal, we could see that the rain and indeed the snow has taken its toll on the River Bulborne which runs parallel to the canal. The whole area must have been under water at some point as the river was full to overflowing!

As we approached our next lock, I saw something which I not seen previously, water pouring over the top of the lock gates! Obviously rain had filled up the canal so much with the extra water had no where else to go! It was an extraordinary sight. We had reached “Lock 58” “Sewer Lock”, probably so called as the lock is next to the Berkhamsted Sewerage Works, *Ew* a bit smelly in times I should imagine! We continued on to lock 57, we saw the same with the problem where the water was cascading over the top of the lock gates. A beautiful sight if it had been a waterfall! As we approached the lock we noticed that it had a strange name “Bottom Side Lock”. I am not sure why it had this odd name, I am certainly not sure what this particular lock is meant to be the “bottom side” of!

From 2013 – 03.02.2013 – Grand Union Canal – Winkwell – Berkhamsted walk

Passing on by the lock, we found the familiar sign to Braunston, showing us it was now only 62 miles to go! On my first Grand Union Blog it was 71 Miles away, therefore, I should think about completing the whole of the canal and visiting Brauston at some stage. Strolling on, we came towards another lock which seemed to have it have it own lock keepers cottage, although I am not sure if the cottage is officially part of the canal, the path did seem to much improve from here on in! This particular lock had the unusual name of “Top Side Lock” and was obviously the “top” whatever the “Bottom Side” lock was! 🙂

The path then took us over the canal and was now passing through residential area, in fact this was Berkhamsted. It was here we decided to finish the walk and come off the canal. We did not venture into Berkhamsted itself, as we will leave that for another time. We found a little bridge to take us back across the canal to the road. As we ventured along the road we passed by the “Old Mill”. Although the Old Mill building which stands today is Victorian, Corn mills have been in this area since C16th. It seems that milling came to an end in the late C19th when a fire extensively damaged the wheel and machinery. Subsequently, the mill became a public house and restuarant in later years which we can still see today!

We didn’t stop at the Old Mill for a drink, we were going to try “The Three Horseshoes” in Winkwell once we had walked back. We decided to return via the road as it was less muddy! I will recommend the Winkwell pub as they did not turn away muddy walkers! (mainly as they kindly provide a boot scraper outside!) it is a great way to end a walk 🙂

Photos from the mornings walk can be seen by clicking on the photo below –

2013 – 03.02.2013 – Grand Union Canal – Winkwell – Berkhamsted walk

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2 responses to “Grand Union Canal – Winkwell – Berkhamsted Walk – 03.02.2013

  1. Pingback: Aylesbury Walk – 21.04.2014 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Grand Union Canal – Berkamsted – Tring « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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