On the recent bank holiday Monday I went for a nice long walk with some of my school friends.
Along a mixture of wood, country, field and tow-paths we avoided as much as we could of the towns and villages of Watford, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Loudwater as we headed to Sarratt.
We were lucky with the weather. The day was forecast to be cloudy after several days of rain but the morning was rather too bright and sunny to be contemplating such a long walk. Thankfully when we set of in the afternoon the sun wasn’t so bright.
We then headed past our old school and on to the Chess Valley Walk. As if on cue when we reached Loudwater Lane a large black Bentley slowly rolled past. Jon then started to count houses with Tennis Courts in their garden and bemoaned the lack of swimming pools.
After Loudwater we walked along the most scenic of paths between an industrial unit and the M25 before heading across the motorway. The Chorleywood House estate was pretty empty except for a dog walker until we reached the bridge crossing the Chess where lots of families with small children had taken it upon themselves to sit and play various sports right in the middle of the path and not be terribly helpful as we tried to cross the bridge. As you do.
Once we got close to Sarratt and headed up the steep hill to the village the footpaths got a lot busier after we passed a load of parked cars. We arrived at the Cricketers in Sarratt for some snacks and a couple of drinks before heading back to Watford some dinner.
The route was planned using an OS map and Google’s satellite imagery in an attempt to avoid as much as possible of the “normal” route to Sarratt I have taken on a few occasions previously. Not having navigated down most of the chosen paths before I was pleasantly surprised that everything connected up properly. We did take a couple of wrong turns but these can be blamed on a now-blank signpost near the Chorleywood House Estate and an OS map which had a petrol station marked on the wrong side of the road in Sarratt.
Jon had his shiny new HTC phone with GPS which helpfully told us that we were in the middle of nowhere for most of the time. I thought OpenStreetMap might be better than Google Maps for countryside mapping (after all what do Americans know about walking) but the “Street” bit of the name doesn’t exactly give me hope! A dedicated walking GPS or app that uses large scale Ordnance Survey maps would be better – I wonder if there are any?
I’d like to do some more of the Chess Valley walk at some time.