Maintain the landscape
Safeguard the Countryside
Biodiversity
Countryside Recreation
Rural Economy
Community Participation
Maintain the landscape
Safeguard the Countryside
Biodiversity
Countryside Recreation
Rural Economy
Community Participation

About

The Colne Valley Park is the first large taste of countryside to the west of London. The Park, which was founded in 1965, stretches from Rickmansworth in the north to Staines and the Thames in the south, Uxbridge and Heathrow in the east to Slough and Chalfont in the west.

The Colne Valley Park is managed by a Community Interest Company (CIC) which represents the interests of everyone who lives, works and plays in the Colne Valley.

 

The Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company (CIC) is responsible for implementing the 6 objectives of the Park, which are :

  1. To maintain and enhance the landscape, historic environment and waterscape of the park in terms of their scenic and conservation value and their overall amenity.

  2. To safeguard the countryside of the Park from inappropriate development. Where development is permissible it will encourage the highest possible standards of design.

  3. To conserve and enhance biodiversity within the Park through the protection and management of its species, habitats and geological features

  4. To provide opportunities for countryside recreation and ensure that facilities are accessible to all

  5. To achieve a vibrant and sustainable rural economy, including farming and forestry, underpinning the value of the countryside

  6. To encourage community participation including volunteering and environmental education. To promote the health and social well-being benefits that access to high quality green space brings.

There is a ‘cast of thousands’ who have a stake in the Colne Valley Park. Partners include local authorities, parish councils, community groups, residents associations, farmers, landowners, charities, businesses, government agencies and user groups (anglers, boaters, walkers, cyclists, horseriders, birdwatchers etc….)

 

All the organisations listed above are eligible to join as members of the Community Interest Company, please download the attached membership form for organisations. Local residents, visitors to the park and members of the public can join the Friends of the Colne Valley Park.

Click here for a list of the members of the CIC.

 

In March 1965 the Town Clerk of Hillingdon submitted a report drawing attention to the existence of large areas of gravel pits within the borough and suggesting their use for various forms of water recreation for which there was an extensive demand.

 

In November of the same year a letter was sent from the Greater London Council referring to the potential of the Colne Valley for recreation and leisure purposes. A conference of the authorities affected by this proposal was held on the 17th of December 1965 where a working party of officers was set up.

 

The boundaries were drawn to include all the open land visible from the valley floor between Rickmansworth and Denham, rounded off to conform to recognisable features. The eastern boundary was defined by the existing development and the southern by the River Thames. The western boundary was defined by development at Langley and Datchet and then runs roughly parallel to the River Colne taking in Langley Park and Black Park. The Misbourne Valley below Chalfont St Peter was also included.

 

The boundaries remain broadly similar today, although the area has increased from 25,000 to 27,500 acres. Additions have included land north of Staines town centre, an area near Langley and areas near Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter.

 

The Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company

The Colne Valley Park has recently reviewed its governance and operations to ensure that protection, management and enhancement of the green belt can be sustainable for the next 50 years and beyond. The Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed in 2012 to deliver the 6 objectives of the Park.

 

 

 

Click on the link below to find out more

A brief history of the Colne Valley Park (8,000 BC to 1900s) (920kb pdf)

The Colne Valley Park covers 43 square miles of varied scenery ranging from semi-urban to unspoilt countryside.

The area to the north of the M40 is a distinct valley with rolling chalk hills forming the valley sides. The wide valley bottom has a wetland landscape including the River Colne, Grand Union Canal and a succession of lakes. Ancient sunken lanes often link the settlements.

Between the M40 and the M4, the valley becomes less pronounced as the chalk slopes become more gentle. This part of the Park has large woodland blocks and many historical parks.

The southern section of the Park consists of a flat plain created by the convergence of the flood plain of the River Colne and River Thames. This area is dominated by five large reservoirs with steep grassland slopes.

Historically the Colne Valley was essentially an agricultural landscape, significant areas of this have survived to the present day.

Gravel Extraction

Gravel extraction has had a major impact on the landscape of the Colne Valley Park over the last century. Former gravel pits have created a string of over 60 lakes running through the park from Batchworth Lake, Rickmansworth to Church Lammas, Staines. The network of footpaths and bridleways in the park offers excellent views of what have become varied and picturesque sites many of which are now very important for wildlife. Many of the lakes are also used for recreation such as angling, canoeing and other water sports. These lakes now form some of the most attractive visitor sites in the Colne Valley such as Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Frays Valley Local Nature Reserve and Little Britain.

Gravel extraction in the Colne Valley continues today. 

During recent gravel extraction, archaeological excavations have been completed finding Roman remains, including a well. Remains of a 5,700 year old Neolithic village were discovered at a gravel pit in Horton in 2013, this is the oldest Village settlement found in the UK.

foxglove

The Colne Valley Park is important for biodiversity, in particular the string of wetland habitats running down the centre of the park provide homes for plentiful wildlife right on the edge of London.   With regard to site designations the Colne Valley Regional Park contains:

  • Part of 1 Special Protection Area

  • Part of 1 National Nature Reserve

  • 13 Sites of Special Scientific Interest

  • 7 Local Nature Reserves

In addition there are many non-statutory county wildlife sites, ancient woodlands and informal nature reserves.

The Colne Valley Park is a favoured place for birdwatchers and conservationists who visit such sites within the Park as Stockers Lake, Broadwater Lake and Staines Reservoirs.

 

The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust have produced a series of factsheets on some of the best sites to watch wildlife in the Colne Valley Park, click here to download : Reserve Fact Sheets

The Colne Valley Park was established 50 years ago when the previous generation saw the potential of the Colne Valley to serve communities of west London and adjacent counties in providing an escape into countryside. Since its formation the Colne Valley Park has been successful in safeguarding our countryside. However, today huge areas of this countryside may be about to vanish under High Speed 2, Sough International Freight Exchange and possibly a new runway at Heathrow etc.

 

The Colne Valley Park is not against all development, we support sustainable development, but loss of land, loss of open space loss of recreational space and loss of habitat does not come without responsibility for the developers to address the impacts on local landscapes, local wildlife and local communities. The damage to local landscapes, rivers, biodiversity and communities will be hard to overcome without substantial support from developers to provide an equivalent or better environment.

 

It is a difficult task to balance the need for development against the protection of land to benefit a healthy lifestyle, recreation, education, farming and wildlife in today’s modern world, but if we do not try, who will ?

 

 

 

winter view

The Colne Valley Park aims to support the rural economy in the rural/urban fringe as pressures on land, agriculture and forestry in the Colne Valley Park and surrounding areas intensify.

A project to support the Rural Economy was funded by the Rural Development Programme for England up to 2013. The vision for the Colne Valley Rural Development Forum was “To achieve a vibrant and sustainable rural economy, including farming and forestry, underpinning the value of the countryside”.

Five issues were identified to focus on:

  • Viability of farming in the rural urban fringe

  • Local food to local markets (a co-operative approach)

  • Woodland management

  • Links between local people and the countryside on their doorstep

  • Tourism & day visits (opportunities for farmers, foresters and growers)

Subsequently the vision of the Rural Development Forum was adopted as one of the objectives of the Colne Valley Park in recognition of the positive role that farming and forestry can play in maintaining the landscape.

 

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is funded by Defra and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD): Europe investing in rural areas.

 

 

bird watching

40,000 people live in the Colne Valley Park and over 3 million people live within 10 miles of the Park.

The Colne Valley Park Community Interest Group is committed to promoting community participation in the Park in all its forms, volunteering, educational programmes, walk leading, conservation work parties etc.

It also supports the wide variety of special interest groups and hobby clubs that use the Colne Valley.

Please click on the links for more information :

West Hyde PoppiesWe are the leading organisation that focusses on the landscapes of the Colne Valley. There are many opportunities for your company and staff to get involved and work in partnership with us. This is a great opportunity for your business to join this new chapter in the history of the Colne Valley Park as we seek to raise involvement and awareness of the Colne Valley amongst the 3,000,000+ people who live within 10 miles of the Park.

Colne Supporters, £5,000+VAT

Heron Supporters, £1,000 + VAT

Kingfisher Supporters, £300+VAT

To become a Corporate Supporter please complete and return the attached form InformationForCorporateSupporters, that describes the benefits for businesses, to colnevalley@groundwork.org.uk

 

The Colne Valley Park CIC would like to thank the following businesses, who share our interest in the Colne Valley, for their financial support.

 

Colne Supporters

Affinity Water logo

Affinity Water is the largest water only company in England and Wales serving over 3.5 million people in southeast England

 

amey logo
Amey
 provides waste management and collection, street cleansing, grounds maintenance and highways maintenance services to Slough and the wider community.

 

Grundon logo

Grundon

 

Heathrow logo

Heathrow

 

Thames Water logo

Thames Water are proud to support the Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company.

 

Kingfisher Supporters

Ambush Security Systems

Buckinghamshire Advertiser

Buckinghamshire Golf Club

Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW)

Red Squirrel Brewery

The companies and associations listed below have all signed up as members to the CIC to pledge their support to the Colne Valley Park.

To join please download the membership form.

 

Affinity Water logo

Affinity Water

Ambush Security

amey logo

Amey  

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

 

Blenheim Angling Society

 

Buckinghamshire Advertiser

 

Buckinghamshire Conservation Trust

Buckinghamshire County Council

 

Buckinghamshire Golf Club

Chalfont St Peter PC logo

Chalfont St Peter Parish Council

Chiltern District Council logo

Chiltern District Council

chiltern soc. logo

Chiltern Society

Colnbrook Community Assocation

 

Colnbrook Community Partnership

 

Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council

 

ColneCAN : River Colne Catchment Action Network

colne valley fisheries logo

Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative

 

Colne Valley Ringing Group

Denham Parish Council

 

Denham Waterski Club

Earthworks Conservation Volunteers

 

Eastcote Conservation Panel (Hillingdon)

Eastcote Residents Association logo

Eastcote Residents Association

Environment Agency

 

Fisheries Inn Angling Society

 

Friends of the Colne Valley Park

Friends of the Great Barn in Harmondsworth

 

Friends of Pinn Meadows  

 

Friends of Stockers Lake 

Groundwork South

Groundwork Hertfordshire

Grundon Logo

Grundon

Heathrow Airport

Herts & Middx wildlife logo

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Hillingdon Council logo

London Borough of Hillingdon

 

Hillingdon Canals Partnership

Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre

 

Hillingdon Narrowboat Association

Hillingdon Natural History Society

 

Hillingdon Ramblers

 

Inland Waterways Association (Middlesex Branch)

Iver & District Countryside Association

Iver Heath Residents Association

Iver logo

Iver Parish Council

Lakeside EFW logo

Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW)

London Wildlife Trust logo

London Wildlife Trust

 

Maple Lodge Conservation Society

 

National Trust

 

North Harrow Waltonians Angling Society

 

Red Squirrel Brewery

 

Richings Park Residents Association

 

Rickmansworth Waterways Trust  

 

Runnymede Ringing Group 

 

Rural Development Forum

Ruislip & District Natural History Society

 

Ruislip Woods Trust

Slough Borough Council logo

Slough Borough Council

South Bucks Council logo

South Bucks District Council

 

Slough Local Access Forum

 

Spelthorne Natural History Society

Surrey Council Logo

Surrey County Council

Sustrans logo

Sustrans

Thames Water logo

Thames Water

Uxbridge Rovers Logo

Uxbridge Rovers Angling & Conservation Society

 

West London Group of the Ramblers

West London Model Airoplane Club logo

West London Model Aeroplane Club

 

Willowbank Association Limited

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

 

Wraysbury Parish Council

High Speed 2 will dissect the Colne Valley Regional Park with a 3.4km viaduct, 12 construction compounds, 2 worker accommodation sites, 2 tunnel portals, 5 electricity  stations… etc. The Colne Valley Park CIC is petitioning against the HS2 hybrid bill to reduce, and mitigate/compensate for, the impacts on the Colne Valley Park.

 

Three of our circular walks through the Colne Valley will be seriously affected by HS2 if you would like to walk them before they are disrupted the instructions can be found at:

Circular walks 

Numbers 6,7 and 8 are the ones that will be affected. Click here for Circular walks.

 

Denham against HS2 have also produced a guided walk booklet entitled “A Good Walk Spoiled” which is available at the Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre for £2.50.

 

Click here for a map which shows the Proposed HS2 route through the Colne Valley

Visitors enjoying the panoramic landscape of one of the most beautiful spots in the Colne Valley now have a head start when it comes to recognising local attractions.   A specially-commissioned sign pointing out landmarks such as the Grand Union Canal, Broadwater Lake and Northmoor Hill Wood, now sits proudly overlooking some of the best views in London at The Old Orchard Pub in Harefield.  

 

The project was paid for thanks to grants from Grundon Waste Management through the Landfill Communities Fund; and also the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund.  

Deborah Valman, project manager at environmental charity Groundwork South, which commissioned the sign, said: “In 2015, Colne Valley Park celebrated its 50th anniversary and the local councils wanted something to recognise the value that this area of natural beauty brings to the local community.   “We knew that people often went into the pub to ask questions about the wonderful view and, given that this is one of the best views across the Colne Valley, we thought a sign would be the ideal way to mark the occasion. We were delighted that, with funding from Grundon and the lottery, we were able to go ahead with the project.”  

 

Views from the hill stretch across three counties, from Middlesex to Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and, as well as being a popular recreation area, it is also an important wildlife habitat.  

 

Anthony Foxlee-Brown, Grundon’s marketing & communications manager, said: “This is such a beautiful place in the heart of our operating area. We always do our best to help local communities and it’s great to know that many local people will take pleasure from looking at the sign and appreciating the stunning English countryside.”  

 

Artist Richard Allen painted the scene from a series of photographs and his painting was then reproduced with name labels pointing out the different areas. Staff at The Old Orchard have agreed to take on maintenance and ensure the sign is well looked after.

 

Talking about the varied landscape of the Colne Valley, students from Brunel University London and West London Film and Media CIC have created this informative video.

 

 

Exploring a few of the many attractions of the Colne Valley, this video highlights the practical uses of the land: farming and angling; the many circular walks within the Valley; how to support the Colne Valley; as well as the threat to the Valley from over development, such as HS2. 

Please share this video to help spread awareness of the Colne Valley and all it has to offer the ten million people who live and work in and around it.