Access and recreation
Rickmansworth Lakes, Hertfordshire
Located to the south of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire and within three miles of Harefield and four miles from Watford, this complex of three lakes is a part of the Colne Valley Park and it provides the first real taste of countryside to the west of London. The valley hosts a mosaic of farmland, woodland and water, with 200 miles of rivers and canals and more than 60 lakes. It's also a living, working environment, providing employment and homes for many people, as well as being a haven for wildlife.
We own three lakes within the Colne Valley catchment. They are Stocker’s Lake, Springwell Lake and Inns Lake. All of the lakes offer great recreational opportunities including walking, bird watching and providing people with places for relaxation or family outings.
Stocker’s Lake is the central and largest of our Rickmansworth lakes in this part of the Colne Valley. It is within a designated local nature reserve established in 1982 by Three Rivers District Council. The site is managed on our behalf by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT), who offer their invaluable advice and expertise, supported by the local group, Friends of Stocker’s Lake (FoSL).
The lake was formed between the 1920s and 1940s as a result of gravel extraction. It is reported that gravel from there was used for building the old Wembley Stadium. As a consequence of the gravel extraction techniques of the time, the lake is relatively shallow with a series of linear islands, mainly along the western side. It is thanks to this intrinsic feature that the lake now provides a haven for a variety of nesting birds. It is popular with wintering ducks and over 60 species of breeding birds have been recorded there.
Visit Rickmansworth Lakes
Why not go on a walk with your family and friends around our Rickmansworth Lakes? Parking is free and conveniently situated on Springwell Lane. There is also alternative parking at the nearby Aquadrome and café where you can get refreshments. On your way around the lakes, information boards will draw your attention to specific species present on the site.
Springwell Lake is situated in close vicinity to Stocker’s Lake and is managed for biodiversity conservation. It offers recreation options that include private fishing and bird watching. The south of the lake boasts one of the largest reed beds in London. Reed beds are one of the most important habitats for breeding birds in the UK and support a number of species, including the nationally rare Bittern. We are working together with HMWT to provide better access to the site, including a specially designated viewing point for local people to enjoy. Last but not least is Inn’s Lake which offers private fishing opportunities and lakeside footpaths open to the public.
Misbourne River flow investigation
The River Misbourne runs for 28 km through the Chiltern Hills from its source at Mobwell Pond in Great Missenden to the River Colne at Denham. It is flanked by locally and nationally important sites and throughout its course it has varied and valuable habitats. Previous studies concluded that abstractions in the upper catchment were lowering the groundwater table and water levels in Great Missenden Abbey Park lakes. We reduced our abstractions by eight million litres per day in the 1990’s to help improve flows, but there were further concerns raised about effects on the conservation and amenity value of the river. An options appraisal was included in our Asset Management Period programme (AMP5 2010-2015) to look at further improving flow and ecology.
The River Misbourne at Bottom House Farm Lane The River Misbourne at Stone Cottage High Street
Shardeloes Lake which the river Misbourne flows into and out of.
Following the options appraisal, we included a further sustainability reduction for the Misbourne (See Sustainability Reduction section) along with river restoration and habitat enhancement to help achieve Good Ecological Status.