WALK REPORT Still lots of catching up to do on the walk reports. These photos were taken late last year on my second trial run of the Chilterns route. Joining me on this walk were some of my Hertfordshire friends David, Graham, Dale and Dominica who met me at Tring station on a beautiful, crisp November morning. Add a comment …
The Chilterns are a range of hills that lie a little way to the northwest of London. Cutting through these chalk hills is the Grand Union Canal, which once served as an important connection between London and Birmingham, England’s second largest city. Our route today is a circuit, starting off along the old canal towpath by Tring station, later cutting uphill onto the Chilterns escarpment before dropping down into the sleepy village of Aldbury, then heading back to the station to rejoin the train into London. 30 pics in this set:
1. Frost on a leaf on the Grand Union Canal towpath near Tring station.
2. An official milepost of the Grand Union Canal Company. Braunston is important because it’s the point where the Oxford Canal joins the Grand Union, linking it with the Upper Thames Valley navigation system.
3. Dom’s boot on the frosty towpath.
4. Here we are following the towpath into the little hamlet of Cow Roast about half a mile ahead.
5. This shrub we found on the canal bank is known as European spindle (Euonymus europaeus). The fruits are poisonous.
6. Bridge over the canal at Newground Road.
7. A boat coming into the lock at Cow Roast.
8. Cowroast Marina. It’s all downhill from here to London there are 54 locks between this point and Brentford on the River Thames.
9. Close-up of one of the longboats moored at Cow Roast. Perfect name for a country & western singer, I thought. Just around the corner is the Cow Roast Inn, our first pub of the day.
10. The Cow Roast Inn is not your typical traditional English pub, though it looks like one from the outside. Inside, it’s decorated all over with dragons, and turned out to be a Thai restaurant. So we had prawn crackers with our pints of Guinness.
11. After the pub, we made for the village of Aldbury. Met this alpaca on the footpath near Norcott Court Farm.
12. Dale checking out the views across the Bulbourne Valley.
13. David and Dominica on the path up to Tom’s Hill.
14. Close-up of some holly.
15. Autumn foliage on the path into Aldbury.
16. Dropping down into Aldbury village now. Footpath sign on the edge of town.
17. Aldbury village.
18. The only traffic in town was this 1920s-vintage motorcar.
19. Outside the Greyhound Inn, Aldbury. If you’ve seen the director’s cut of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, you may recognize this pub. We had lunch here!
20. Steak and ale pie at the Greyhound.
21. After lunch we went to have a look at St James the Baptist, Aldbury. This church dates to the 13th Century.
22. Inside is a grand tomb dedicated to the Whittingham family. Sir Robert, on the left, was an important local merchant of the 15th Century. Graham is admiring the wild man carved at Sir Robert’s feet, which you can see in detail in shot 24.
23. Sir Robert’s effigy in silhouette.
24. And here is the close-up of the wild man from shot 22. I want to find out what the significance of these figures is. Lady Whittingham has a dog at her feet, for example.
25. This is the Bridgewater Monument which stands on a hill above Aldbury village. It was built in 1832 to commemorate the Duke of Bridgewater, who came up with the masterplan for Britain’s canal network.
26. Graham and David near Moneybury Hill. The sun is getting low in the sky.
27. Curious cattle on the path near Little Stocks Farm.
28. Trouble, an ancient little terrier we met on the path home.
29. Old wagons near Little Stocks Farm.
30. Old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba) on the path at sundown.
Graham, Dom, Dale, and David, thanks a million for coming out on such a lovely day. If you’ve made it this far, please add a comment below!