One of my favourite canalside walks is the one at Cowley Lock. I’ve wanted to share this one with you for a long time, as it’s a local one and not too well known. You can walk along the Grand Union Canal and see all the boats, let the kids loose at the playground and even stop off for a meal at the Malt Shovel. It’s a lovely place to eat outdoors, especially on a sunny evening.
Location: Cowley Recreation Ground, off High Street, Cowley, Middlesex UB8 2EA
Parking: Small FREE car park next to Cowley Meeting Hall (Butterflies Preschool), High Street, Cowley, Middlesex UB8 2EA
Public Transport: Nearest tube station is Uxbridge or nearest train station is West Drayton. Then catch a 222 bus to Cowley.
Food: You can go for a meal at the Malt Shovel next to the canal. They have their own car park on Iver Lane if you want to do this.
Toilets: In the Malt Shovel
Pushchair-friendly: Yes but the canal path is narrow.
This is a map of the Cowley Trail of Discovery Walk. The area I will be talking about is around Cowley Recreation Ground and the Lock on the top right of the map. The car park is labelled there too.
We haven’t done this trail but apparently it takes an hour to walk it and is 2.5 miles long. I think that’s a bit long for my kids, but one day I might try it with just the other half.
The Canalside Playground
From the car park by Butterflies Preschool, you’ll walk straight into Cowley Recreation Ground, which is a big open green space alongside the High Street. A bit of history for you – Cowley Recreation Ground was laid out on the former parkland of Cowley House, an C18th mansion that still stands to the north on the High Street.
Straight in front of you there is an outdoor gym and a playground, with a bowling green to the left and the canal in front of the playground. The playground is just a typical local one. It’s not brand new or anything but my kids love it, and what makes it special is how it is next to the canal. This photo is of the younger kids side, but there is also an older kids side. There are some picnic tables too.
From the playground, this is the view of the canal. We always go for a short circular walk here after the kids play.
Now, this is a very short walk. If you are after a longer canalside walk, I’d suggest trying the discovery trail. But for my kids, they like this short walk. At the canal, turn right and walk up the path. After a few minutes you’ll get to Cowley Lock.
After the lock are two really pretty buildings – these are the former toll house and lock-keepers cottage. I just love them!
Keep going and you’ll come across the Malt Shovel inn to your right and Cowley Bridge straight in front of you. (This is the bridge to Slough!)
We have eaten at the Malt Shovel in the past and it’s a lovely place to have a meal – especially if you get a table outside on the decking, with a view of the canalboats. This photo is from one of the times with ate here, when Tyler was teeny tiny!
Obviously nowadays it would be best to book a table in advance due to social distancing. This is how the back garden looked when we went for a walk yesterday. As you can see, there were diners on the proper seating on the decking. And down in the garden are a lot of picnic tables. That’s their own car park behind it, entry via Iver Lane. It’s free to park here but you need to enter your car registration at the pub to do so.
Right, back with the walk – turn around here and walk back towards the recreation park. Check out the cute ye olde lamppost. (That’s the kids’ aunty, in case you were wondering who’s walking with them).
After the white gates, turn left and you’ll walk back into the recreation park. Here there are a couple of large fallen logs that make a nice photo.
Although it is pretty, it is a bit rough and ready here – expect to see cigarette butts on the grass. I took this photo of Tyler on the tree stump when he was 3. Of course we had to recreate the photo – the tree stump is looking very much weathered 5 years later!
If your child is into transport, they will enjoy seeing the 222 red double decker buses going by in the distance. And if you play Pokemon Go, there are quite a few Pokestops here as well.
This brings us back to the playground where our walk ends. Depending how long you want to stay out, you can hang out more or just go home like we did.
I hope you found this post useful. I think this is more for the locals, as I wouldn’t travel far to do this. From Slough it’s a 20 minute drive, and it’s just nice to go for a walk somewhere different. Let me know if you try it.