This is West London’s mirror route to the Lee Navigation, but the towpath is not as broad or as well or consistently surfaced. Which is why NCN 6/61 takes every opportunity to deviate onto parallel paths, and on a revision ride which found a key section of these detours improved, Cycle Orbital follows the NCN signage at almost every point.
The ride links Spoke 8S, Spoke 8N, Spoke 10W and Spoke 10 canal. There’s not much navigation to add, other than mileages for the detours. At Cowley Bridge 1.3 Spoke 8N duplicates briefly to Uxbridge (L for Langley Park). Turn L for Denham village 4.1, rejoining on Moorfield Road 6. The first NCN 6/61 eastern detour is at the changeline bridge (walk) 4.4 rejoining at Harefield marina 6 after a fine run beside the first of many flooded gravel pits. There follows a muddy narrow section of towpath beside Broadwater Lake to Black Jack’s Mill 7.2.
NCN6/61 crosses the canal here for the second excursion, which rises steeply 8.2 to overlook the valley briefly, rejoining at Springwell lock 9. The going to Rickmansworth is good on the towpath, but again NCN6/61 ride diverts at Stocker’s Lake 9.7 for a rewarding diversionary ride beside Bury and Batchworth lakes on well-surfaced paths. If you keep Batchworth lake on your left-hand side, the towpath is regained earlier, arriving at Rickmansworth Lock 10.7
After the lock leave the towpath again, and wind through to transfer to the NCN 6/61 Ebury Way until 11.5 when there is a final drop down to towpath. This ends in Watford at the merger with Spoke 10 canal to Hemel Hempstead and Spoke 10W en route to Arc 11 merged at Venus Hill. Stay on Ebury Way 11.5 for a fine ride on towards Bushey - used further on by Spoke 10W.
This ride will be slow going, especially if the towpath is busy with walkers, but take the cue from the barge traffic you will pass - accept the slow pace; there is plenty to see en route - especially bird life. Remember to pack binoculars!