After what seemed like weeks of freezing cold, the group assembled at Rickmansworth Tube Station in what felt remarkably like spring sunshine. So it was with a somewhat jaunty air, we headed out of town to follow the River Chess upstream past the Royal Masonic School towards Loudwater. After about 2 miles, we briefly left the valley to cross the M25 and shortly afterwards headed south west to reach Chorleywood Common. The next stage led us across the common to the delightfully named ‘Artichoke Dell’ and our lunch stop at ‘The Black Horse’, a traditional pub with oak beams and a roaring log fire. Victualled and refortified, the group continued across the common to cross the Metropolitan line by a narrow road bridge and descend into Chorleywood Bottom. Almost immediately we began to climb steeply out again, to join the Old Shire Lane circular walk. With lovely views over open countryside this section ended in a footbridge over the M25, before taking us on into the Colne Valley. A short section of road between the flooded gravel pits that typify this area brought us to the towpath of the Grand Union Canal at Springwell Lock. Here we turned to the north east and followed the canal towpath past the ‘Hanging Monkey’ to Batchworth, and a short town walk back to the station.