Berkhamsted to Cheddington


My mum and I are walking parts of the Grand Union Canal. On 2 May 2009, we walked a section from Berkhamsted station to Cheddington station.

The canal

Berkhamsted's a nice place, but we saw it last time, so we set off straight away along the canal which is right by the station. Most of the time, the canal and railway take roughly the same route.

Before long we saw this helpful sign on the wall of a bridge across the canal. (The post office is a lie.)
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A lock gate.
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Some way further on past another lock, we saw an interesting square building. This is part of a pumping system that (if we understood it correctly) takes water from here and puts it back in further up the canal. Or maybe it takes water from somewhere else and puts it in here. Something.

Nice sqare building.
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With nice windows. You can just see some square machinery inside the square building.
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We continued into the countryside.

Green farm shed opposite, on the narrow strip of land between the canal and the railway.
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At a bridge by a lock; I liked the mirrored signs.
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Then we found the second square building! It looked the same as the first. Because it was by a bridge, I was able to get a closer look.

Chains inside! And pretty ivy outside.
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Further on, looking across the canal at a pair of nicely-liveried boats. (The same boats are there on the Google Maps image, too; I guess they don't get out much.)
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Under a road bridge. Interesting tiles. (DEF, too...)
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Then a bit of a diversion away from the canal to Aldbury, which is a twee little village with some original (?) medieval stocks in the village green, which you aren't allowed to play with. Awww. We had a look in the church though.

Light on the wall.
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It had seemed quite a long way from the canal, so we got choc-ices from the village shop before heading back. More canal walking then ensued. We reached Bulbourne, which is significant for something I can't remember, and had factories, or at least ex British Waterways sheds now turned into a twee craft/garden centre, opposite.

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Moored barge.
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Nice gate on one of the sheds.
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We later reached the first canal junction. This was the Wendover Arm, which doesn't go to Wendover because they filled in half of it.

Interesting sign on the bridge.
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Then there were locks. Lots and lots of locks! Well, about seven anyway before we reached the next junction with the Aylesbury Arm, which I think actually does go to Aylesbury.

We started seeing these paired ponds by the locks. I assume they were intended to save water, but they appear largely disused.
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It took us twenty minutes to walk it, but would probably be about a week in a canal boat. Anyway, after negotiating the junction (and not accidentally going to Aylesbury) we headed for the nearby village church so we could sit in the churchyward and eat our lunch, it being about 4 PM.

I like the outside of stained-glass windows...
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Inside the church, this painting of the Virgin Mary was apparently by Jan Pienkowski who illustrated the 'Meg and Mog' children's books. (The last part we know because Mum looked it up on the Internet! I was most impressed.)
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A marbled step.
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The font and a jug.
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We returned to the canal and left the junction area.

But here's a quick look back at the British Waterways complex (okay, 'complex' may be putting it a little strongly, but hey, they have a yellow tower thingy) at the junction. They used to make concrete things to go in canals here.
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A barge with a big number on the side.
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The canal crossed under the railway.

With a really nice concrete bridge!
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We passed another building that was supposedly part of some water-pumping operation, this one a rather larger shed. I guess it had once housed some large steam engines or something.

Now it's a boarded-up mess. Here's a view through it.
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Finally we neared Cheddington and ventured along a footpath which was rumoured to lead to the station. Miraculously, it did! And we didn't have too long to wait for the train.

Cheddington station.
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All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.