Berkhamsted Railway Station, Hertfordshire.


Grand Union Canal Cycle:  

Cassiobury Park (Watford) - Tring

2nd May 2011




Berkhamsted railway station is located just after Bridge No 141, where one crosses the canal yet again. The station is visible from a park directly across the canal. Directly behind the station are the ruins of Berkhamsted Castle, once a popular country retreat of the Norman kings and the site from which William the Conqueror ascended to the English throne in 1066. Passing what was obviously a sports ground complex near Broadwater, I could distinctly hear the shrill sound of a referee's whistle and the roar of a crowd and I realised that a local Bank Holiday football match was probably on the go. At Bridge No 139 in Northchurch, I became ensconced in the reflection of a single white swan in the water, its movement creating tiny ripples on the surface which I wanted to capture. New Road crosses this bridge and continues up to Ashridge Forest, which arguably ranks as one of the prettiest corners of Hertfordshire. Aldbury is a village of the Old English type. In the centre is a green and pond; close by stand stocks and whipping-post, in excellent preservation, a primary school and the Church of Saint John the Baptist. In the days of Edward the Confessor the manor of Aldeberie was held by Alwin, the king’s thegn. The term thegn (or thane or thayn in Shakespearean English), from Old English žegn, šegn "servant, attendant, retainer", is commonly used to describe an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman in Anglo-Saxon England. The Valiant Trooper has served as an alehouse for several centuries, the first traceable evidence dates back to 1752. The ascent of the wooded slope towards the Bridgewater Monument is regarded as one of the most beautiful districts in the county.

At Bridge No 138 at Dudswell Lane, the landscape returned to a more rural setting, though trains rushed by on the railway line not far from the canal. I passed a delightful narrowboat named "Daisy", painted bright yellow, I wondered high a hamlet like Cows Roast acquired its name. At Cowroast Marina, hundreds of narrowboats and other boats were secured side-by-side within the moorings, which were fenced off. A glance at their website suggests that boats sell for anything under £10000 to as much as £74000. Quite staggering. It wasn't long before I reached Bridge No 136 at New Ground Road and Tring station, which was out of view behind the trees lining the canal, which created a kind of canopy across its edge, the reflections in the still water quite magnificent. I decided that I had come as far I wished and desired not to underestimate the time required to get back to Cassiobury Park. The path was clear of people and so I was able to pick up the pace somewhat. Whilst photographing a grey heron at the edge of the canal, it suddenly reached down with its yellowish bill and plucked a fish out of the water. I realised that I had left the pouch attached the rear of my bicycle open after earlier having retrieved something out of it and had consequently lost my small wallet with about £30 in it, knowing that I was unlikely to find it on the way back. I reached the park around 19h30 and realised that I had been out for 7 hours! How time flies when you are having fun. Loading my bicycle on the rack, I made my way up the highway, well satisfied with the day's outing.


Along the Grand Union Canal near the Sports Grounds, Broadwater, central Berkhamsted (looking back).


View from Bridge No 139, Northchurch. New Road runs over this bridge up the hill towards Aldbury & Ashridge Park, one of the loveliest spots in Hertfordshire.





A Mute Swan captured in reflection whilst preening itself.


Bridge No 138, Dudswell Lane, outside Berkhamsted (looking back).


A narrowboat named "Daisy", on the Grand Union Canal towpath between Dudswell and Cow Roast Lock No 46.


View from Bridge No 137 at Cow Roast Lock No 46 (looking back).


Cow Roast Lock No 46 at Bridge No 137, near Cow Roast.


Narrowboats moored at Cow Roast marina, in the village of the same name.


An assortment of boats moored at Tring Summit Visitor marina, Cow Roast, as a train rushes by in the distance, on the London to Birmingham line.


On the Grand Union Canal towpath near Tring Station, marking the furthest I would cycle that day before turning back to Cassiobury Park.


On the Grand Union Canal towpath near Beggars Lane, with Tring Station on the right hidden from view.


A lone narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal towpath near Tring Station forms a beautiful reflection in the water.



Tring is a small market town and also a civil parish in northwest Hertfordshire, at a low point in the Chiltern Hills, known as the Tring Gap, which has been used as a crossing point since ancient times, being at the junction of the Icknield Way and under the Romans Akeman Street, the major Roman road linking London to Cirencester. It is transected east and west by the ancient earthwork called Grim's Dyke. It is located at the summit level of the Grand Union Canal and both the canal and railway pass through in deep cuttings. The town straddles the Roman road called Akeman Street, which runs through it as the High Street. The Manor of Treunga is described in the Domesday survey of 1086. In 1682 the mansion of Tring Park designed by Sir Christopher Wren was built for the owner Colonel Guy, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Charles II. A later tenant was Lawrence Washington, great-grandfather of George Washington, first President of the USA.  In the late 19th century the estate became the home of the Rothschild family, whose influence on the town was considerable. Nathan Mayer Rothschild's son Lionel Walter Rothschild (2nd Lord Rothschild, 1868-1937) built a private zoological museum in Tring. This housed perhaps the largest collection of stuffed animals worldwide. As The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, it has been part of the Natural History Museum since 1937. In April 2007 the museum changed its name to the Natural History Museum at Tring in order to make people more aware of the museum's link to London's Natural History Museum.


A map of Aldbury indicates my current position on the Grand Union Canal towpath, at Bridge No 135, near Tring Station, where I turned back.


View of my return route on the Grand Union Canal, at Tring.


Heading back towards Watford on the Grand Union Canal, approaching Bridge No 136, crossed by New Ground Road.


A beautiful narrowboat lies moored on the Grand Union Canal, at Bridge No 136, near New Ground.


Heading back towards Watford on the Grand Union Canal. A motor boat passes under Bridge No 136, crossed by New Ground Road.


A beautiful setting on the Grand Union Canal, near Bank Mill Lane, just before Bridge No 143, just outside Berkhamsted.



A narrowboat named "Blue Pearl", just before Winkwell Lock.


A view under Bridge No 146 near Winkwell Lock No 59, Sharpe's Lane.


View from Bridge No 139, Northchurch, heading back towards Cassiobury Park, Watford, on the Grand Union Canal


"Lockton" for hire.


[UK - index] [Home Page]

Cassiobury Park (Watford) - Tring [1] [2] [3]


Links to other websites:

  • History of British Canal Systems - wiki

  • Grand Union canal locks & bridges, London - Kings Langley - webpage

  • Grand Union canal locks & bridges, Kings Langley onwards - webpage

  • Narrow boat design - wiki

  • Grand Junction Canal - wiki

  • Grand Union Canal - wiki

  • Cassiobury Park, Watford - website

  • Hemel Hempstead Canoe Club - website

  • Amaravati Buddhist Monastery - wiki

  • Berkhamsted Castle - website

  • Cowroast Marina - webpage

  • Grey Heron - wiki

  • Mute Swan - wiki

Recommended maps: