Grand Union Canal, Watford

Grand Union Canal in Cassiobury Park, Watford

The Grand Union Canal passes along the western side of Cassiobury Park separating it from West Herts golf course and Whippendell Woods.

The Canal, which links Birmingham to the River Thames in London, is a peaceful and shady location adjacent to the sometimes busy park, and is described in The Shell Book of Inland Waterways as “one of the loveliest sections of canal so near a town anywhere in Britain”.

There are four locks rising northwards along the meandering section of canal in the park.  The sweeping nature of the canal is due to demands placed on the builders of the canal by landowners at the time of construction.  The canal continues to meander past the Grove where there is a very ornate bridge linking what is now a 5 star hotel to the Hempstead Road.

Iron Bridge Lock (# 77), so called because it is adjacent to bridge #167, can easily be accessed from the main park area by crossing the rustic bridge.  In the summer narrow boats pass along this stretch of canal quite frequently. The 2013 Inland Waterways Association national festival was held in Cassiobury Park.

Iron Bridge lock in the Snow

Narrow boat trips
Previously boat trips were run on the Grand Union canal starting at the park on Thursdays and Sundays during August and Sundays during other summer months however I have not seen any sign of these in the last few years.

If you want to get a taste of canal travel the Pride of Batchworth offers trips from Batchworth Lock in Rickmansworth (near the aquadrome).

Bridgewater Basin/Cassio Wharf
At the southern end of the Canal in the park (south of the high level Metropolitan line London Underground bridge) is Bridgewater Basin Marina. It offers moorings, boat repairs and maintenance as well as a shop including a diesel refuelling station.

Narrow boat blogs
A large number of Narrow Boat owners have blogs where they write about their travels. Cassiobury Park crops up as a destination or mooring place on such websites every couple of days in the summer.  Here are some mentions the Canal in Cassiobury Park has received:

4 Responses

  1. Carol Kurimbokus - April 26, 2011

    Is the canal completely drained at any time?

  2. Radley - April 23, 2012

    No, Carol Kurimbokus. The canal is too long to drain. If they did drain the canal, it would take about a month, and then a month to bring the water back. The canal leads to London from Berkhampstead. From my knolege of Watford, no.

  3. andy durler - July 16, 2013

    Where is the canalboat festival based,and where can one park. Thanx in advance Andy

  4. Rick - November 9, 2013

    Is the path gravel or tarmac & our bikes allowed?

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