01 May, 2006

Greenford to Hendon- stages 9 and 10 of the Capital Ring

After an unpromising start the weather got better in the morning so I decided to continue the walk. The water meadows at Greenford (with views over a shopping centre) were OK but Horsenden Hill at 84 Meters (278 feet) was one of the highlights of this walk, which took in some very diverse areas. Firstly though I walked by the towpath of the Grand Union Canal (Paddington Branch) and saw a heron. I just had time to get a picture (it will be OK but not good) when it flew away its massive wings flapping. I left the canal at Ballot Box Bridge. The advertised visitors centre for Horsenden Hill is nothing of the kind. They are lax about locking up and the gate was open when I called although “it shouldn’t be” said one of the rangers. Getting onto Horsenden Hill was easy enough. There was a great abundance of birdlife and I saw a Goldfinch, a Nuthatch and plenty of tits in the old woodland. The top of the hill had some wonderful views, again the sort that cannot be captured on camera so you’ll need to go and see them yourself! The thing about Horsenden Hill is that there are two reservoirs under it, one used and one disused. Surely in these times of drought both should be used.

In the woods coming down from Greenford towards Sudbury Hill the bluebells were in bloom and this was a chance to use the rolleinar close up lens. I hope I have a good macro photo of the bluebell!

After this the walk led through some suburban streets (which with the number of skips around looked more like building sites) past a rather attractive brick built church with a concrete cross and a beautiful peace garden and up to Sudbury Hill Station in the moderne style. Off the walk there was a cottage ornee style building bearing the legend Lancsville. I do not know what this was but it was most incongruous amongst the 1930s factories and houses.

Back on the walk there was a steep climb up Piggy Lane and an incongruous Regency Terrace in a modern gated development overlooking playing fields. Next a steep climb up Sudbury Hill to Harrow, dominated by its school for boys, rather posh don’tcha know, and its church of St Mary. The church (heavily restored) was being used for an ‘art’ exhibition but these were mostly chocolate boxy views and cutesey teddy bears playing poker so awful daubs really. Harrow school was quite attractive with buildings dating from all periods, but none of them were open this morning so I couldn’t go in. The playing fields were fun with joggers wearing skimpy shorts and taking the Ducker Path I took a naughty diversion to see the old derelict swimming pool for Harrow School. After a brief getting lost on Northwick Park Golf Course dodging the golf balls I came out into Northwick Park itself where there was some filming going on. The walk leaflet said that the Windemere pub was noted for its 1930s interiors so I stopped there for refreshment. Unfortunately it was only liquid refreshment that they could offer so I had a pint and soaked up the atmosphere. It had horizontal panelling on the walls, a tiled fireplace with pictorial tiles of windmills and a scalloped coved ceiling with globed brass chandeliers. There was a dancing room (which I didn’t see much of) and the gents had large upright urinals. The interior was typically 1930s but it also had a typical 1930s smoky fug and an untypical large screen television for football matches. I did not stay long there.
Walk 10 led me through South Kenton which appears to be quite a poor suburb, the Borough of Brent is not so posh as Harrow and in fact this section of the walk was quite dowdy altogether. I passed under the Jubilee Line and saw (but did not pass) a little brick church with a pepper pot turret in concrete – very amusing! Thtough more suburban streets into Fryent Country Park, (see earlier entry) then on into Kingsbury where the old church of St Andrew incorporates roman bricks in its structure. I could not see inside it. The new church of St Andrew has been moved stone by stone from where it stood in Wells Street (WC1).

The next port of call was the Welsh Harp (or Brent) Reservoir which was built to supply the Regent’s Canal with water. The welsh Harp was a pub with a music hall and dining room and was a great resort in Victoria’s day. Demolished in 1971 to make way for the Hendon Passover. After this there were some very dull suburban streets but Hendon Park at the end was good. Basic and small but full of life. All in all these two walks were too much for one day but I managed it!
The picture shows the Greenford Cascade

1 comment:

Vikki said...

I often wondered about the building bearing the legend 'Lancsville'. Having read a local history book at Barham Park Library, it turns out to have been the village school, when Sudbury was just that.
Little changed in the three years since this interesting blog entry... less skips now perhaps.