Day 3: Uxbridge to Rye House

Oyster Loop Day 3 of 8, a circuit of London for hybrid bikes using Oyster stations.

Revolutionary Transport

England’s industrial heritage before the combustion engine was based on its canals and railways, and today’s ride explores the footprint they have left of the landscape. Starting alongside the Grand Union, the main link from Birmingham to London, it then uses disused railway lines to cut across to the Lea Valley whose Navigation was canalised in the late 1700s to secure the supply of grain to London.

  • Total Distance: 68.3km
  • Total Ascent: 155m
  • Highest Point: 102m
  • Lowest Point: 27m.
Grand Union Canal near Uxbridge

Sustrans 6 uses the Grand Union Canal from Uxbridge to Rickmansworth and local roads to St. Albans. There Route 61 follows the Alban Way to Welwyn and Hertford before descending the Lea Valley to Rye House.

From Uxbridge station the route heads north to pick up the Grand Union canal which it follows to just past Rickmansworth, the surface is typical tow path with a couple of excursions up the hill above the canal. From here Sustrans Route 6 heads east along a series of paths and cycleways before cutting through Watford town centre and reaching a pleasant wooded section through Bricket Wood.

More cycleways still on Route 6 lead to St. Albans where Route 61 is picked up along an old railway line, the Alban Way, with pleasant stops and views of the Abbey. Further cycleways take Route 61 around Hatfield and Welwyn, the latter being a boring stretch around the ring road.

However it soon breaks off into fields with a gentle off-road descent along good tracks to Hertford, and then across fields to Ware. Both of these have a good selection of pubs and tea shops. Finally the route picks up the banks of the waterways of the River Lea past the Jolly Fisherman pub to reach Rye House station.

Day 3 route on Viewranger

UPDATE: I had been holding back my detailed information on the Oyster Wheel Days until I had the opportunity to re-ride them and check them for accuracy. However due to Coronavirus “shielding”, I will be unable to ride them for some months. I have therefore decided to publish the draft copies in case others get the chance to use them before me. The route card is a simple table of directions and distances, where the description is a book chapter with the same directions, but also detailed maps and a commentary on the route and places of interest.

As always, I am happy to receive comments on these.

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