Dave Sergeant

This circular walk around Northholt from Inner London Ramblers explores Northala Fields, Lime Tree Park, Sharvel Lane, Yeading Brook, Hillingdon Trail and the Paddington Canal. Being a 10 mile walk I split it into two sections.

Northolt to Kingshill Avenue - 19th April 2023

After a fairly lengthy tube journey I arrived at Northolt tube station just after 11am. Then after a short stretch of busy road reached the much quieter Ealing Road and the pleasant area of the village green.

Then after the Crown pub the lovely area of Belvue Park and its church. A notice board gave a lot of information about it and I shall be passing it again on my second part so depending on time may explore in more depth.

After diving under the busy A40 the strange Northala Fields are reached. These four mounds were created using rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley stadium. The second mound has a three turn spiral walkway to the summit, a path which seems to go on and on with every expanding views as you climb. Half way up I met a couple of chaps doing some filming. They said it was a video to go with a new song they had composed and assured me that I would not get on camera. On my way down one of the chaps had climbed up the adjacent mound and was performing there like it was The Sound of Music.

At the top the views over London and beyond are indeed rather special in all directions. I would be passing through the lakes at the bottom next.

Passing through the lakes and then Medlar Fields and Rectory Park, another pleasant lengthy area of parkland.

A stretch of busy road now has to be followed with several subways. Eventually Lime Tree Park is entered by its children's centre and crossed.

Back on the main Ruislip road and the West London Golf Centre is passed which has a pair of huge prehistoric reptiles at its entrance. Off the road and along Sharvel Lane, a long quiet road which gets more rural as I walk along it. Called the Dog Rose Ramble although there is no signposting for this. Down Barns Moated Site is the site of a 13th century manor house, long demolished and only the moat remains, now a listed building owned by All Soul's College.

Sharvel Lane skirts the grounds of the West London Shooting School and has a very impressive house at their entrance which includes a presumably fairly expensive restaurant. At various times gunshots were heard but I was assured by my guide leaflet that it was perfectly safe for us passers by.

The tarmac of the lane eventually peters out and I find myself in deep woodland. A girl out riding her horse passed and we exchanged a few words. Other than that you would hardly imagine you were in London. Yeading Brook is reached and the bridge crossed to then join the Hillingdon Trail.

The Hillingdon Trail follows the brook through Michael Frost Park. Just as the horse rider had said this was very muddy and I had to fight my way past several huge puddles. Half way along a large pond. Eventually I leave the lovely woodland, passing AFC Hayes training ground to reach Kingshill Avenue.

Here was my end point for the day. I caught the 90 bus back to Northolt station then had lunch in a nearby Harvester before making my long journey back home. This was one of the best walks I had done for quite a while and plenty of real countryside in an area of London I had not explored before.

Kingshill Avenue to Northolt - 26th April 2023

To continue my walk where I left off the previous week I took the 90 bus from the other end of its journey at Feltham station arriving at the stop in Kingshill Avenue around 1030am. Across the road and onto the Hillingdon Trail again.

The first part of my walk was in a huge meadow with the Yeadon Brook flowing on its eastern side. There was a well defined path across the grass but that ran somewhat to the west of the suggested route, however with the grass being rather wet this was probably the better option and even this was tricky walking in places. So very little was seen of the brook itself, hidden in dense vegetation in the distance.

At the end of this meadow the brook was briefly seen as it was crossed by a bridge. Then along the edge of another meadow with the brook off to the right again hidden from sight.

The meadows end and I am in woodland and the track becomes ever muddier.

Here I leave the Hillingdon Trail, passing an information board, and reach Spikes Bridge over the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. The canal is followed for the next two miles of my walk.

The next bridge over the canal gives access to Willow Tree Nature reserve and the guide suggested the cafe of the Willowtree Marina was a good place for a refreshment stop but involved a fairly lengthy diversion. I carried on.

There was not that much wildlife in the canal and in parts it was not clean at all. This swan though was proudly showing off. Next the recent Engineer's Wharf Moorings and housing development.

The firm of Taylor Woodrow used to have substantial premises along this stretch of the canal, all gone now but commemorated with a mosaic at the nearby Bridge 18 which carries Ruislip Road.

To the right of the canal is now Marnham Fields, an area of parkland formerly a rubbish tip. On the other side is the similar Smith's Farm. The guide mentions a footbridge here giving access to Smith's Farm but I found it had totally disappeared apart from the pillars each side. It seems it has been closed for several years for safety reasons and last month spectacularly crashed into the canal as reported in the local press. The debris has now been cleared away and a notice on the structure suggested a new bridge would be installed at the end of May.

After passing under the A40 I left the canal at bridge 16A by a small mooring.

Belvue Park is now reached which I had passed last week. There is much history in here where the original Saxon settlement stood and information boards give quite a lot of history. There was a manor house dating from this time but only the moat remains. The guide suggested I explored around here but access through the moat looked very wet so I abandoned the idea.

The church is passed which dates from around 1300, it was locked so I couldn't go inside. Then back to Ealing Road and towards the station and the end of the walk. I had a very pleasant lunch in The Crown before making my way up the road and a lengthy tube journey back to Richmond and home after another great day.

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