Here at High Living we love a decent walk, particularly when it’s local, beautiful and has a bit of interesting history thrown in. Just a few minutes’ drive away from Barnet, London Colney ticks all these boxes.
We’re probably all familiar with the retail park just off the M25, but if you continue into London Colney village itself, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Turn off the main roundabout into Barnet Road, a stretch of the *original road from London to Birmingham and ultimately Holyhead and Ireland. You’ll start noticing the old pubs as London Colney was a coaching town like Barnet and attractively located on the River Colne with a bridge constructed by Thomas Telford when he improved the road network in the early 18th century and laid out St Albans Road. Prior to that, the river was crossed via the ford.
We left the car in the free car park at the Parish Church of St Peter near the village green and took the riverside path (Watery Lane). We walked for several minutes towards Broad Colney (Shenley and Radlett) and then turned back in the other direction, crossed the road by the road bridge and followed the path alongside the water towards Colney Heath. We got distracted several times spotting birds and other wildlife and only made it to just beyond Willows Farm. Here we got a gorgeous watery view of Bowman’s Lakes and some very contented anglers. It’s so tranquil, it’s hard to imagine the M25 is a few hundred metres away.
On our return leg we paused on a bench to admire the lush vista before crossing the little bridge and walked back on the south side. At this time of year this stretch of the Colne is richly verdant and full of birdsong (with some interesting scurrying at ground level). Very beautiful and soothing. You could stay for longer and really unwind.
By now we were getting peckish, so returned to the village centre for some late lunch in one of the pubs. There are a few good options and we settled on The Green Dragon overlooking the village green, friendly and efficiently run, serving good value traditional pub food. We had half-size Sunday roast as we were eating properly in the evening and some refreshing Timothy Taylor Landlord. Another tempting option is The Colney Fox, rather more gastro-pub like which also offers accommodation.
London Colney is ideal for an easy, spontaneous trip from Barnet. Depending on your mood, you could have a short stroll around the village and by the water or a more vigorous long walk and make more of a day of it. We’re so pleased we’ve discovered it.
*We are fascinated by our local old roads and another easy, attractive easy walk is along Wash Lane from South Mimms or Dancers Hill. It’s a disused stretch of the same historic coaching route, but closer to Barnet (and entirely do-able on foot if you have time).