Once more unto the Walk dear Friends!
We we started at Boston Manor and got coffee at No6 Coffee and walked. The route doesn’t technically start until you reach Osterley Lock, but that is about a Kilometre from the station, so we are stating the start was there. Having got lost coming off of the Grand Union Canal last time we knew to follow the unmarked path back down to the water and then continue on, walking back on ourselves and along the side of the canal, thankfully the day was lovely and warm (it wasn’t hot, it’s England!) The walk mainly follows the canal and then the River Brent and is one of the longest on the Capital Ring
Osterley Lock is a single lock which as we approached was being filled for a CRT dredger that was heading up to the more impressive Hanwell Flight.
The Hanwell Flight is a series of locks that are situated close to each other in order to raise the canal about 53feet (17 metres) in a quarter of a mile. Each of the six locks opens into a pound of water about a 100m long and then the next lock is at the end. Our water loving dog cooled off in the first pound and we had to drag her out to carry on the walk, which leaves the flight after just one lock and joins the River Brent.
After turning off we came to the first hurdle of the day there is a small bridge that you can walk under if the tide is low and hasn’t turned into a muddy slush pile – but as you can see it had done just that – so we walked up and over and rejoined the other side.
This is probably the most pleasant part of any of the walks so far, the river is shallow and the dog was in and out all the way along, especially by Brent Meadow. This open grassland is supposed to be a free orchard, growing fruit for the public to take, but we spotted only 4 trees out of the 24 shown on the sign, maybe more appear at some point?
The meadow is over shadowed by The Warnscliffe Viaduct which was built in 1838 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Victorian engineer, to carry the Great Western Railway from London to
Bristol and is impressive in its height and redbrick pillars,
After this viaduct you walk into more parkland and head to the Western most part of the whole Ring, we stopped of first to use the toilets and check out the Hanwell Zoo, but it wasn’t free and wouldn’t allow us to take the dog in.
Instead we decided to take a look at the Millennium Maze a well laid out hedge maze, its a pretty easy walk as you can see over the hedges and it follows a typical maze pattern but it was worth a look.
After that brief interlude we rejoined the route and found a large buttercup field and the dog discovered the deepest part of the River Brent and struggled to get out. Ash got wet!
We walked on past a rather outdated looking cricket pitch and pavilion and past another Golf Course.
This is where the problems occurred, we followed the path through the golf course staying in the tree line. The map states ‘Missing sign Post’ at a most crucial part. The route veers right and crosses a bridge, but with more than one missing signpost at this section, we just walked and got to some shallow steps, we had seem on the map in mentioned shallow steps and so we went up them, then across a large field (again the route described a large field at the top of the steps), but when we reached a main Greenford Road at the end of the field, we figured we had done something wrong and we retraced our steps. Back down the steps and along another path, eventually we found the bridge over the river and a sharp left turn with no sign.
Back on route we crossed Bitterns field – once again the map tells you to walk around it to avoid the grass, but we are rebels! and we saved ourselves about 10mins extra walking. Across Ruislip Road and into Perivale Park, alongside the public golf course. There is a memorial bench here for Nicky Hopkins a session musician from the 70’s. it made for a good place to sit and have some water before going on to finish the route.
The signs once again are not helpful here, the green badge is stapled to the side of a hut and we only found it after turning off to exit the park and then we were on the extremely busy and loud Western Avenue, across this via the footbridge and then we were nearly done.
The last part is along a footpath alongside Northholt Rugby Pitch and up a wonderfully weirdly named Uneeda Drive!
Well that was a rather long and hot walk, but one of the best so far. We will be back on The Capital Ring in a few weeks so be sure to follow us and see it then!