|St Marys Church|
After advice from a local I ended up at Batchworth Lock on the Grand Union Canal. I visited the Canal Centre and was given a guide to the walk. More advice was given and either I misunderstood the directions or again I was given wrong advice,
By the late eighteenth century, the town of Rickmansworth had emerged along the adjusted route of the Grand Junction Canal that carried cargo from West London towards the Midlands. Branches were then built to serve other local businesses.
One branch was once part of the River Chess but changed in 1804 to serve the former Salters Brewery. It ran for 540 yards from the brewery, though Chess Lock next to the Canal Centre and on to Town Wharf. Its traffic with hundreds of barrels of beer made its way to Uxbridge and back! Next to it stands what is now Batchworth Canal Centre – once part of an old stable block.
Another was a 150-yard cut built in 1818 to serve Batchworth Mill, which had just become part of the growing John Dickinson paper making empire: it's now used by Affinity Water, and is where our main education work takes place.The cut actually comes off the River Colne as it heads to cross the canal having come through the mill, having powered the machinery until 1910 or so.
A third branch next to St. Mary's Church in the town centre travelled 300 yards through Bury Grounds to deliver flour to John Taylor’s bakehouse.
John Dickinson opened in 1830 another paper mill next to the Grand Union Canal at Croxley. This later became the largest paper pulp mill in Europe and depended largely on the canal for supplies of coal from the Midlands, as well as raw materials like esparto grass brought up, often by barge, from London Docks.
Trade on the canal was a multi-million pound industry and continued for many years. A particularly prominent local canal business was WH Walker and Brothers Ltd, once standing at Frogmore Wharf where the town’s Tesco supermarket is now. Opened in 1905, the yard built and repaired very large numbers of distinguished and hard-working wooden boats.
Canal work slowly declined to virtually nothing when speedier planes, trains and automobiles were introduced and took over. The paper mill at Croxley finally closed its doors in 1980 followed by WH Walker and Brothers Limited in 1988.
I walked back off again into town and arrived at Rickmansworth Aquadrome.
I asked some more locals for directions and was guided to the canal and The Chess came off there. So off I walked.
I was following The Ebury Way that goes to Watford, not what I wanted!
I must admit I was close to giving in on this walk altogether.
The River Chess is a chalk stream which springs from Chesham, Buckinghamshire and runs through Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, in south-eastern England. The Chess, along with the Colne and Gade, gives rise to the name of the district of Three Rivers, where it forms its confluence with the Colne at Rickmansworth.
The River Chess fall is 60 metres and its length is 11 miles.
The Colne,Chess and Gade supplied water for industries including papermaking,milling and watercress growing.
Rightmove. A two bed flat selling for £318,000.
I now approach the M25 and its thundering noise.
I cross the Chess by means of a bridge and walk onward.
Again I cross The Chess and then walk alongside her though some woods.
I follow on along side the river though Frogmore Meadows.
|One of many Red Kites.|
I eventually reach Mill Farm and Mill Farm Meadows after much mud.
I stop on the road on the bridge and watch the Chess trundle on by.
I take a gravel path next to the farm and through the meadows and more mud.
Chenies. Both were anciently called Isenhampstead, at a time when there was a royal palace in the vicinity. However, in the reign of King Edward III of England the lands were split between two manorial barons: Thomas Cheyne in the village that later became called 'Chenies', and William Latimer in this village. Latimer came into possession of the manor in 1326.
At the time of the English Civil War Latimer belonged to the Earl of Devonshire. When Charles I was captured by the Parliamentarian forces he was brought to Latimer on his way to London. The small village includes 17th and 18th century cottages around a triangular village green with a pump on it. The church of St Mary Magdelane was rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1867. The rectory was built in the 18th century in grey and red brick.
There are a number of 17th and 18th century houses around a village green.
Rudolf Hess. Its now a Conference Centre and Hotel.
This part of the walk is very scenic and far more pleasurable the the last few miles.
I walk out onto a road and take a road past some recycling centres, before realising this was a wrong turn. I backtrack and walk back along a busy road diving onto the verge several times to avoid speeding cars.
I walk alongside the river before entering the outskirts of Chesham.
I follow the river out into the town centre.
leat for Amy Mill of which now only the sluice gate remains. The site was then converted for use as watercress beds and later ornamental gardens.
This has been the least favourite of my Chiltern walks. Not as picturesque, problems at the start and I missed having my walking buddy Dan with me. Still nice in parts and probably better still in the Summer.