Yesterday I had a very sociable afternoon volunteering at Denham Deep Lock. Not as a locky you understand, but as a Towpath Ranger. We were handing out Share the Space maplets to walkers and cyclists, talking to them about their use of the towpath and answering questions. The little maplets are very popular and lead to a lot of questions about canal routes. I really don’t think the Towpath Code bit therein has a lot effect on speeding cyclists, but these exercises certainly have a good effect in teaching people about the canal system.
Bearing in mind that Denham Deep is a long way from the nearest road, and that it is not on anyone’s commuter route, how many people would you think we saw in two and a half hours? Well, I’ll tell you. 48 cyclists and 158 pedestrians! A good haul I thought for a quiet rural spot. I guess we had conversations with 80% of them. Fun, but a bit frantic at busy times as there were only two of us volunteers.
Virtually all of them were just out for pleasure and the majority of them had parked their cars at Denham Country park and were doing a circuit of the park which includes a stretch of canal, and of course many of them were visiting Fran’s Tea Room alongside the lock.
A few people had driven out of London for open space and fresh air and some cyclists were out on longer rides of course. One lady told me she had once walked along the canal all the way from Maida Vale to Leighton Buzzard! I just looked it up, that’s 54 miles. She didn’t do it all in one go of course, but impressive nevertheless. Her favourite bit was the Tring / Marsworth area.
There was not much action in the lock itself, we only saw four boats go through, so the gongoozlers didn’t have much to gongoozle at. In a three weeks time we’re doing another of these events at Cowley lock.