Dave Sergeant

This 6 mile walk from Inner London Ramblers starts at Acton Town station and works its way down to the Thames at Kew then along to Brentford and the Grand Union up to Boston Manor. I have done parts of this before but much was new.

It is a short walk from Acton Town station to the entrance of Gunnersbury Park with just the obstacle of the North Circular to tackle on the way. Gunnersbury Park was the grounds of a country mansion with various owners over the centuries including the Rothchilds. It became a public park in 1926. The Temple is on the large Round Pond.

The large mansion is now a large museum which I may visit in the future.

The Orangery faces the Horseshoe Pond. Nearby the Gothic Ruins built around 1840 as a folly to hide the nearby stables.

Away from the houses is extensive parkland with the somewhat hidden Potomac lake at the southern border where I exited the park.

From the park the walk continues to Carville Park (North) which is playing fields. Then the busy A4 has to be crossed followed by the M4 above on the Chiswick Flyover.

The other side of the motorway is Carville Park (South), another of London's hidden gems which despite the noise of the traffic was quite pleasant. The house within the park dates from 1777 and is now residential flats.

The walk now proceeds down to the Thames at Kew Bridge. The London Museum of Water and Steam with its prominent tower, originally a water pumping station, seems another interesting place to visit.

The walk now follows that of the Thames Path along the north bank towards Brentford. Because of all the development along this stretch the tow path is quite narrow in places and there are several diversions via Brentford High Street, one of which is not that clear. The route passes the Music Museum and Watermans Art Centre and the quite pleasant Watermans Park. Thames Lock on the Grand Union Canel comes into sight but there is a bit of diversion before getting there. It has a spectacular weir.

Thames Lock is eventually crossed followed by a diversion through a quite pleasant part of Brentford before reaching the Brentford Guaging Locks which are crossed via a long footbridge.

The walk now goes along the Grand Union canal following the path of the Captital Ring with the huge GlaxoSmithKline complex dominating the view. It should have then crossed the canal to enter Boston Manor Park on the opposite side but the bridge was closed for repair and is scheduled to be replaced with a new bridge later this year. So I had to back track and follow the A4 to reach Boston Manor Road.

The house and grounds of Boston Manor Park are also undergoing work and the entrance I should have used was for site traffic only. I was able to view the house though there was no entrance to the park from there. Even the attractive lake was being refurbished so I was able to see very little of the park. I continued to the Harvester in Boston Manor where I had a very pleasant lunch before returning to tube station and returning home. A pleasant walk but not quite completed as intended.

20th October 2023

I repeated this walk today mainly to visit Boston Manor park and house which have now reopened. The report concentrates on the new bits and should be read in conjunction with the above.

Starting at Acton Town underground station I walked down and through Gunnersbury Park, passing the Round Pond. The Gothic Tower, originally a tile kiln, is by Potomac Lake and the exit of the park.

Then through Carville Hall Park North, under the M4, Carville Park South to eventually reach the Thames at Kew Bridge. The route follows the Thames Path along the North bank to Brentford, though having forgotten to print one of the sheets of the guide I omitted the sections through the docks and instead continued along Brentford High Street.. At one point the route is not obvious and having gone down some steps follows a somewhat hidden path which was not that attractive.

Through the older part of Brentford and the Butts. The sign on the Weir pub shows that the artist Turner lived here between 1785 and 1787. Then down to the River Brent to join the Grand Union Canal.

During some work along the canal including a new bridge the walkway goes over a temporary walkway which seemed somewhat unstable. The next bridge was closed last year but the old wooden bridge has now been replaced by a smart new one which I used to cross into Boston Manor Park.

Boston Manor Park is dominated by the M4 which passes through the centre of it on an elevated section.

Boston Manor House, now open. I entered via the cafe on the south side and exited through the front door. Diamond Geezer's blog gives a good history of the building and much of the displays described this along with details of the restoration.

The beautifully restored Dining Room with a piano (do not touch) and a speaking statue of William IV.

The grand staircase. During restoration a fragment of 18th century wallpaper was found. They papered the walls up the stairs with paper recreated from this sample and the original can be seen behind a glass panel at the top of the stairs. Plaster castings of lions adorn the newel posts.

The Drawing Room with its incredible plasterwork ceiling. The inscription on and above the fireplace depicts the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham.

The formal gardens with magnificent cedar trees and a large lake completed my visit. I headed to the nearby Harvester for lunch before travelling back home on the tube and train.

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