Paddington Branch of GUC from Willesden and
Capital Ring 9: Greenford to South Kenton

6 January 2008

Today's walk combined two routes, picking up the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal where we left it in July, and then another stage of the Capital Ring.

After walking from Willesden Junction station, we join the towpath of the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal as it takes its level course westwards across London towards Bulls Bridge. In the distance can be seen the arch of Wembley Stadium.

On the left is the aqueduct carrying the canal over the North Circular Road

One of the three narrowboats we saw on the move today

The high-point of the horizon is Horsenden Hill, a landmark that was to toy with us for quite a while until we eventually conquered it - the planning of this walk was slightly odd, as you may see.

Passing the golf course on the eastern slopes of Horsenden Hill

Moored boats and wooden sculptures. Just round the corner is the bridge which takes the Capital Ring up Horsenden Hill, but planning ahead a future walk will join together the remainder of the Paddington Branch with stage 8 of the Capital Ring, but there was a gap between the two, so a section of the towpath was walked in one direction as the Paddington Branch westwards, and then coming back as the Capital Ring clockwise!

Approaching the bridge which carries the A4127 Greenford Road over the canal, and which marks the end of following the canal west.

We turned off and walked a short distance along Greenford Road, looking down over Paradise Fields Wetlands, a relatively recently created nature reserve converted from a golf course. In the distance can be seen Horsenden Hill.

We joined the Capital Ring and stopped in Paradise Fields for lunch

Evidence that we are now on stage 9 of the Capital Ring

George in Paradise Fields with Horsenden Hill behind him

First we need to rejoin the canal and follow it back eastwards to the bridge which takes the Capital Ring onto the hill

Starting the ascent of Horsenden Hill

After the firm footing of the canal towpath, the hill had some very muddy sections (not seen here) and it suddenly felt very rural even in west London

Approaching the top. As is always the case, the long-distance views were better in reality than the camera can show, especially into a low winter sun. This is looking past Heathrow, with the North Downs on the far left of picture, about 25 miles away.

This is the edge of the "summit plateau". Centre of the horizon is Windsor Castle, 15 miles away, and on the far right can be seen the Chiltern Hills

George at the summit trig point, itself 84 metres above sea level, with the hill peaking at 85 metres (278 feet). In the background can be seen some of the skyscrapers of London

to the east, Wembley

and in close-up

To the north is Harrow-on-the-Hill, with the church spire just poking above the trees on the right

To the north-east we look past the nearby houses to as far as Barnet

A Capital Ring signpost, slightly over-exposed, tells us that it is 27 miles left to Crystal Palace Park, and 22 miles right to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel

Our way lies towards Woolwich (eventually!) down through the woods on the northern slopes of Horsenden Hill

Eventually we emerge into suburbia, a bit of a shock after such a delightfully rural little hill and the relative tranquillity of the canal

The 1930s rebuild of Sudbury Hill station on the Piccadilly Line (originally on the Metropolitan District Railway).

We ascend Green Lane, a bridleway towards Harrow on the Hill

As we walk along London Road, there are lots of interesting buildings

High Street, Harrow on the Hill

Some of the buildings of Harrow School

A splendid old post box

We then descended through the school along Football Lane to the playing fields, which are crossed by a public footpath

Not a terribly good photo, but as we leave the Harrow School playing fields, we encounter the one and only stile on the whole of the Capital Ring.

We pass Northwick Park Hospital, and look across Northwick Park golf course.

We then walk around the edges of Northwick Park playing fields, and the Bakerloo Line train running alongside the West Coast Main Line railway is an indication that we are approaching South Kenton tube station, and the end of today's walk.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

Total distance: 17.6 km [including station links and 8.6 km on the Capital Ring]  with 198 metres of ascent in 3 hours 45 minutes.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson