(…or any time!)
If you leave the house on Boxing Day (no judgement if you don’t), you’ll no doubt be familiar with the sight of dog walkers and families shaking off their food comas, emerging from their houses and attempting to walk off their Christmas dinners.
You may be one of those people, or you may be contemplating the idea of joining them this year, and especially for you, we’ve compiled some of our favourite places to walk, which we promise will be lovely after a day (or three) of indulgence.
Denham Country Park
Denham Country Park, has a fantastic range of walks suitable for families and serious walkers. Starting from the Colne Valley Visitor Centre, take part in the Winter Trail
(information here) in the woods; play in the Adventure Playground; take a stroll to the canal and back again, or follow it to Harefield marina, see the houseboats and stop at one of the pubs en route; cross the canal to Frays nature reserve and take a wander around the lakes; or follow the bridleway to Denham village and visit one of the pubs for a pick-me
-up. Responsible dog owners are welcome. Most pubs are dog friendly, although we always advise calling beforehand to check.
Car open until 4pm. £2.50 all day. Limited accessible routes.
Across the road from Langley Park is Black Park, home to Go Ape and wide, clear pathways. Owls, bats, deer and rabbits are common sights and sounds, depending on the time of your visit. A children’s playground and cafe are on site. Responsible dog owners are welcome.
Car park open until 5pm. £3.50 at weekends, bank holidays and August. £2.50 all other times. Accessible routes.
Take a walk from Langley train station to Langley Park (perfect for those looking for a walk with a little less mud) and have a wander, follow the Tree Trail or the History Trail or join in with their guided walk. There are ancient parklands, a cafe and a children’s playground. Responsible dog owners are welcome.
Car park open until 4.30pm. £2.50 all day. Accessibility unknown.
The aquadrome has stunning circular walks around Batchworth and Bury lakes, which are home to swans, geese, moorhens and coots to name a few. Bring grain (not bread!) to feed them, and a camera to as the lakes are especially photogenic on an icy morning. There is a cafe and a playground and several pubs nearby which are dog friendly, although we always advise calling beforehand to check. Responsible dog owners are welcome.
Car park open until 6pm. Free parking. Accessible routes.
For more information: Rickmansworth Aquadrome
Not far from the aquadrome, is Stocker’s Lake nature reserve. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust says it best:
Stocker’s Lake is one of the oldest gravel pits in the Colne Valley. Wintering ducks such as shoveler and goldeneye are common visitors in nationally important numbers. Over 60 species of breeding birds have been recorded here and the heronry is the largest in the county.
Take a walk around the smaller Stocker’s Lake and, if it’s frozen, skim stones over the ice! Responsible dog owners are welcome.
Parking available, cost unknown. Accessible routes in dry weather.
For more information: Stocker’s Lake
Northmoor Hill Woods
This ancient woodland is famous for its springtime bluebells, but is just as lovely in the winter. With a circular walk, a swallow hole, free parking and Denham Aerodrome just down the road this is a favourite spot for dog walkers. The aerodrome has two on-site cafes, although we advise phoning beforehand to find their opening times. Responsible dog owners welcome.
Free parking. Very limited accessible routes.
Don’t be put off by the fierce looking gate at the pedestrian entrance to Broadwater Lake, beyond lies a quiet wildlife haven. Home to the Broadwater sailing club, the lake is the largest expanse of water in the Colne Valley and home to wintering birds such as smew and goosander.
Parking on Link Way. Separate pedestrian access. No accessible paths.
For more information: Broadwater Lake