The London Spiral, a walk around London from the inside out, has reached its outer circle, and over the months ahead will be exploring those parts of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Sussex that melt into the edge of the metropolis.
It’s a series of walks, each one picking up the path where the previous month left off, and covering the land and geography of the wider reaches of London.
- 11 Feb 2018: Enfield to Hadley Wood – done
- 11 March: Hadley Wood to Borehamwood – done
- 8th April: Elstree to Carpenders Park – done
- 13 May: Hatch End to Northolt – done
- 10 June: Ruislip through Hayes to Heathrow Airport ** up next **
- 8 July: Feltham to Kempton Park
- 12 Aug: Hampton to Chessington
- 9 Sept: Chessington to Woodmansterne
- 14 Oct: Smitham to Biggin Hill
- 11 Nov: Biggin Hill Airport to Knockholt
- 9 Dec 2018: Knockholt to Eynesford
Hatch End to Ruislip: more about the walk …
The towns around Pinner (north west of London, map) are pretty much contiguous housing, however you can still glimpse how the land must have looked a hundred years ago just before the suburban expansion overtook the fields and woods. Where the houses reach a limit, paddocks and cottages are still to be seen.
Pinnerwood House beyond its ‘moat’ – hidden-london.com/gazetteer/pinnerwood-park/
It’s hard to look further back into history though, Grim’s Ditch looks more like a woodland path than a defensive or territorial boundary from three centuries before the Romans (alternatively, three centuries after the Romans, when the Saxons were establishing a foothold) http://londonhistorygroup.com/archives/listings/grims-ditch.
The houses are conservative, quintessentially English semis and detacheds, not a modernist mansion among them, unless you include the council-built blocks. A whole century of modern architecture has failed to take root in the outskirts of Britain.
Albury Drive Hatch End
What impresses most are the trees. There are mature and varied individuals everywhere, a true suburban arboretum. Here we are grateful for the planting and foresight of residents a generation or two ago. The firs in particular, including North American Redwoods – still youngsters in tree age – Austrian Pines and Scots Pines. And plenty of decorative, flowering trees – cherries, horse chestnuts – appreciated in a domestic area.
Scots pines on Grimsdyke Road Hatch End
Giant sequoia on Boniface Walk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum
From the height of the Pinner Hill golf course we can see across the whole Middlesex basin to the hazy towers of London. Bring your binoculars.
The trees reach a crescendo of species in the Eastcote House park by the River Pinn.
The second aerodrome we encounter on this westerly route around London (first one at Elstree here) is RAF Northolt, which is celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force. Many of the fighter planes that repulsed the German aerial attacks of the Second World War took off from here, including the legendary Spitfire, piloted often by Polish airmen, and we can see a model of it from the road. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Northolt
Northolt RAF airfield
South Ruislip station ticket hall and frieze
Meet at: Hatch End station (overground train from Euston, or change at Queens Park from the Bakerloo line)
When: Sunday 13 May 2018, 1pm
Distance: 6 miles
Walk to: South Ruislip (Central line)