Dave Sergeant

The Capital Ring is a walking route of 78 miles length around London split into 15 sections. See tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/capital-ring for more details.

Capital Ring Section 8 - Osterly Manor to Greenford - September 25th 2020

A slightly delayed account of my day out walking yesterday. Just as something to do, and before increasing lockdown may make these walks impossible again, I re-walked section 8 of the Capital Ring from Osterley Lock to Greenford that I had previously done in October 2018. Although the weather was a bit chilly and there was a strong wind it was actually quite pleasant. Trains definitely busier than on earlier trips and parts of the Underground were decidedly busy, however on the Piccadilly Line train heading towards Heathrow I found myself alone in a carriage, a very visible sign of lockdown's effect on the airline industry.

So from Boston Manor tube station the walk started at Osterley Lock where I had finished leg 7 in July. The first couple of miles were along the Grand Union with the noise from the M4 slowly retreating in the distance. A few other walkers and cyclists but relatively quiet.

The towpath crosses the River Brent via a bridge near the Fox public house and shortly afterwards when I reached the chain of six locks at Hanwell I turned away from the canal and picked up the Brent in its own right.

After a pleasant stroll in woodland by the river on a path called FitzHerbert Walk, I reached Hanwell Bridge, sometimes flooded but not today. Then the magnificent Wharncliffe Viaduct designed by Brunel.

Then I reached Brent Lodge Park, called the Bunny Park by the locals. Last time I had a very pleasant lunch in the cafe here. Today the cafe was take away only and although there were a couple enjoying their eats on the nearby picnic tables it didn't look busy. The zoo, which I visited last time, was pre-booked entry only and was deserted, there didn't seem many animals there either from what I could tell. The Millennium Maze was open as normal but seemed rather overgrown. But the kids playground was a hive of activity so at least something worked. After a quick look around I continued my walk back on the Brent.

St Mary's Church, Hanwell comes into view, an impressive building. Then after a lengthy walk near to the Brent the path leaves the river and enters Perivale Park. Costons Brook was crossed on a footbridge and passing the second golf course of the day and an athletics ground the rural part of the walk comes to an abrupt end.

But first a rather impressive seat by the path in the form of a piano in memory of Nicky Hopkins who I admit having never heard of, with quite a long description of his life. Then the peace is suddenly shattered when the A40 is crossed via a long footbridge. A few suburban streets takes me to Greenford Station where I first had a nice lunch at The Railway before catching the tube back to Richmond. That took rather longer than it should as there was severe disruption on the District line and I spent 20 minutes at both Ealing Broadway and Turnham Green waiting for trains which eventually did arrive - and yes, those tube trains were by then decidedly busy. Back home around 5pm after another nice day out.

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