Landscape of the Colne Valley Park


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.


For more information on the landscape please see the Landscape Character Assessment.


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.