ⓘ River Colne, Hertfordshire. The Colne is a river in England which is a tributary of the River Thames. Just over half its course is in south Hertfordshire. Downs ..

River Colne, Hertfordshire

ⓘ River Colne, Hertfordshire

The Colne is a river in England which is a tributary of the River Thames. Just over half its course is in south Hertfordshire. Downstream, the Colne is the boundary between Buckinghamshire and London and finally between corners of Berkshire and Surrey. On leaving Hertfordshire, the watercourse splits off into several separate branches, a few of which rejoin it, and its main branch flows into the River Thames on the reach above Penton Hook Lock at Staines-upon-Thames.

Two further, artificial distributaries were constructed in the 1600-1750 period for aesthetic reasons for Hampton Court and for Syon Park which have been kept maintained, flowing through several London districts. Although their main purpose was not drinking water, these artificial streams can be likened to the New River in scale and in date. Crossing its route, viaducts and canals, such as the Grand Union Canal, have been recognised for pioneering engineering during the Industrial Revolution.

Digging for gravel and clay along its lower course south of Rickmansworth has created a long belt of pits which have flooded to become lakes. Many of these are important habitats for wildlife and protected as nature reserves. The river, meadows and many once gravel-producing lakes form the Colne Valley regional park in total covering 43 square miles 110 km 2.


1. Route

The Colne rises perennially from a subterranean river at a spring in North Mymms Park in Hertfordshire. Two occasionally dry tributaries: an unnamed brook and the Mimmshall Brook start 2.5 to 4 mi 4.0 to 6.4 km from the source at golf courses in Barnet, at Borehamwood and in fields by Northaw Place, Northaw. This underground stretch under the old village centre of North Mymms runs for 1.1 mi 1.8 km from swallow holes of the two brooks in the part of that parish named Water End. From the Water End Swallow Holes the Colne runs NW then SW, bounding central and residential Watford and Oxhey, also bounding Rickmansworth and Batchworth, then marking the border between Greater London and Buckinghamshire. After these conjoined settlements it turns south, its main direction, and passes between West Hyde, near Maple Cross, and Harefield, passes Denham Green then passes Uxbridge, where it parallels the Grand Union Canal and its distributary the Frays River which is joined later by the River Pinn between Cowley and Yiewsley on the Greater London side. The Colne Brook splits off as a distributary between New Denham and Uxbridge. After this, at West Drayton, the Frays River rejoins and the Wraysbury River and Duke of Northumberlands River divide off.

In its lower reaches, the river at Longford supplies water to the Longford River, a 12-mile 19 km artificial channel created in 1610 for King Charles I to supply the water features in Bushy Park and the rectangular lakes in Hampton Court Park.

The Colnes drainage basin extends almost as far north again as the main stream of the river beginning in Hertfordshire: its tributaries, including the Gade, Ver and Misbourne, all extend well into the Chilterns. The Colnes drainage basin is bordered by a range of Thames tributaries to the east and west, including the Crane, Brent and Lea to the east and Wye to the west. To the north of Tring a modest ridge acts as a watershed, separating the Colnes drainage basin from that of the River Great Ouse, which flows north and east towards the Wash.


1.1. Route Eponymous settlements and indirect reference to the river within a district name

The villages of Colney Heath east of St Albans, London Colney south of St Albans, Colney Street almost wholly a large business park north of Radlett and Colnbrook between Slough and Heathrow take their name from the river. Three Rivers district covers an area of Hertfordshire named after the River Colne and its two tributary rivers which join the closest together, the River Chess and the River Gade.


1.2. Route Use of valley and river for navigation

Among early proposals to link the river to London was one in 1641 by Sir Edward Forde for a navigable canal, the main purpose of which seems to have been the supply of clean water, and two in 1766, for canals from Marylebone to the river at Uxbridge and another from Marylebone to West Drayton.

The river underwent considerable change in the 1790s, when the Grand Junction Canal which became part of the Grand Union Canal in 1929 was routed along the valley and still takes the river channel for part of its course. Construction began from Brentford, where it used for 3 miles 4.8 km the channel of the River Brent, and progressed westwards then northwards, with it reaching Uxbridge in November 1794. To reach the Midlands it continued along the river channel until its junction with the River Gade, which it ran parallel to, but did not take over the channel. The Slough Arm was built in 1882 which required three aqueducts to carry it close to its junction with the Grand Junction, to cross the Frays River, the River Colne and the Colne Brook.

Between Croxley Green, where the River Gade joins the Colne, and Thorney/West Drayton, below the Slough Arm, the river channels thread their way between many large lakes, some of which were once watercress beds, some chalk pits, and some of which were the result of brickmaking, an industry that developed over several miles of the valley after 1800, when the Grand Junction Canal company advertised the presence of good brick earth, discovered during the construction of the canal.


2. Structures

There are two London Coal Duty markers beside the river, which mark points at which duty became payable on coal entering the London area. The first is on the north side of the river in Colney Heath Local Nature Reserve, and is a square-section cast iron pillar made by Henry Grissell at his Regents Canal ironworks and erected in 1861 or 1862. It is 5 feet 1.5 m high and is painted white. The second is a stone obelisk, 13 feet 4.0 m high, with a square base, which was erected at Colne Bridge in 1861. It was moved from its original position to the other side of the river in 1984, when it was repaired by Watford Borough Council. It is close to a five-arched railway viaduct, which was built in 1837 to carry the London to Birmingham Railway over the river. Each of the arches spans around 40 feet 12 m and is 45 feet 14 m high. The structure was designed by Robert Stephenson, and is grade II listed.

At London Colney there is a seven-arched brick bridge which carries Barnet Road over the river. It dates from 1774, and is called Telfords Bridge, although it is not thought to have been designed by Thomas Telford. It was modified in the 20th century, when parapets and railings were added.

There was a long-running dispute over water levels in the Batchford area, following construction of the Grand Junction Canal, which were resolved in 1825, when an 8.2-foot 2.5 m obelisk was erected in a pond, to act as a water gauge. The obelisk records the agreement made between the canal company, John Dickinson who was the miller at Batchworth Mill, and R. Williams of Moor Park, who was the landowner.


3. Tributaries and distributaries

From its mouth on the Thames to its source, the Colnes main tributaries and distributaries are:

  • Wraysbury River branch West Drayton to Staines-upon-Thames
  • River Alder Bourne Fulmer to Uxbridge Moor
  • River Ash distributary from Staines-upon-Thames to River Thames at Sunbury on Thames
  • Colne Brook distributary from Uxbridge Moor to River Thames Hythe End
  • Frays River branch Watford to West Drayton
  • Longford River man made - distributary from Longford to River Thames at Hampton Court
  • Duke of Northumberland River man made - distributary from West Drayton to River Thames at Isleworth
  • River Pinn Harrow Weald to West Drayton
  • River Chess Chesham to Rickmansworth
  • River Bulbourne
  • River Misbourne Amersham to Uxbridge
  • River Gade
  • Mimmshall Brook Elstree to Colne
  • Potters Bar Brook Potters Bar to Mimmshall Brook
  • Catherine Bourne Shenley to Mimmshall Brook
  • Tykes Water Aldenham Reservoir to Colne
  • River Ver Dolittle Mill to Colne
  • Ellen Brook Hatfield to Colne
  • River Colne is the name of several rivers in England River Colne Essex, passing through Halstead, Colchester and Wivenhoe River Colne Hertfordshire
  • 1973. Colne Valley Waterworks railway River Colne Hertfordshire COLNE VALLEY WATER COMPANY: 1873 - 1973 pub. Colne Valley Water Company, 1973 The Colne Valley
  • the local river Colne Engaine Earls Colne Wakes Colne White Colne River Colne Essex, England River Colne Hertfordshire England River Colne West Yorkshire
  • valley Colne Valley, Essex, Colne Valley Railway, a heritage railway located in the Essex Valley the valley of the River Colne Hertfordshire Colne Valley
  • Hillingdon, Berkshire and Hertfordshire and a small area in Surrey. Much of the landscape is relatively flat the lower reach of the Colne forming the centre
  • the River Thames followed a path through the southern part of Hertfordshire running from the area of modern Staines up the valley of the Colne to Hatfield
  • River Wraysbury is a river in England that branches off the River Colne at West Drayton and rejoins it at Staines before it flows into the River Thames
  • The Colne Brook is a river in England that is a distributary of the River Colne which runs from Uxbridge Moor, there forming the western border of Greater
  • Tykes Water is a minor tributary of the River Colne in Hertfordshire in England. Its head waters are a network of drainage ditches west of the A41 near
  • Three Rivers is a local government district in south - west Hertfordshire England. Its council is based in Rickmansworth. The district was formed on 1
  • approximately the watersheds of the Colne and Lea both flowing to the south each accompanied by a canal. Hertfordshire s undeveloped land is mainly agricultural

  • Pond, the River Colne and the western side of Broadwater Lake form the Broadwater Lake nature reserve, which is managed by the Hertfordshire and Middlesex
  • join the River Colne in Rickmansworth. The Chess, along with the Colne and Gade, gives rise to the name of the district of Three Rivers where it forms
  • Sarratt is a village and civil parish in Three Rivers District, Hertfordshire It is situated 4 miles 6.4 km north of Rickmansworth on high ground near
  • 1960s, and it is a Hertfordshire Heritage Site. The site is acid grassland, which is unusual in Hertfordshire and the River Colne runs through it. The
  • the River Colne from just south of Staines Moor by the M25 motorway eastwards through the rest of the borough of Spelthorne before meeting the River Thames
  • The River Gade is a river running almost entirely through Hertfordshire It rises from a spring in the chalk of the Chiltern Hills at Dagnall, Buckinghamshire
  • between Rickmansworth and Watford in Hertfordshire The route crosses three rivers The River Colne River Chess and River Gade as well as the Grand Union
  • Lodge Adjoining Maple Close, Three Rivers Hertfordshire Retrieved 22 May 2017. Colne Valley Park. Old Shire Lane Circular
  • of the Grand Union Canal formerly the Grand Junction Canal and the River Colne The nearest large town is Watford, approximately 5 miles 8.0 km to
  • The Ver is a river in Hertfordshire England. The river begins in the grounds of Lynch Lodge, Kensworth Lynch on west side of the A5 trunk road and stays
  • the county of Hertfordshire England. It is a Grade II listed building. A ford on the River Colne is found just off the Hertfordshire Way at Munden House
  • Hertfordshire It is owned and managed by Watford Borough Council. The site is mainly rough grassland, with some woodland and scrub. The River Colne runs
  • Colneystrete in 1475. It takes its name from the River Colne with the Old English suffix ēa, meaning river and the Middle English strete Roman road
  • town and borough in Hertfordshire England, 15 miles 24 km northwest of central London. The town developed on the River Colne on land belonging to
  • of the River Colne Hertfordshire It flows from the Colne at Longford to the Crane at Hounslow. The Lower DNR is a distributary of the River Crane, flowing
  • Hertfordshire is a county in eastern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire to the north, Cambridgeshire to the north - east, Essex to the east, Buckinghamshire
  • the Grand Junction Canal Company, to control the water levels in the River Colne following the construction of the Grand Junction Canal, and was hand
  • an unnavigable tributary of the River Gade, which flows into the River Colne which in turn is a tributary of the River Thames. The Bulbourne is an example
  • Cowley Hall in Hillingdon which adjoined the Frays River The Frays River is a branch of the River Colne which may have been developed to feed watermills

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