We walked this section of the Capital ring on the same day as the previous section, but I liked this half of the walk quite a lot more. The part around Greenford is not particularly picturesque. However as soon as you get back onto the canal, the route becomes pretty again! There are a few hills from Greenford up to Horsenden Hill and then again up to Harrow. For me, that makes this walk more pleasant as you can see London from above.
This section of the capital ring was not too muddy – but that might be because we made it this far slightly later in the year! Most of the route has actual paths, rather than muddy trails BUT there are quite a few steps, and a style…so this might not be a good route for push chairs or wheelchairs.
Greenford to South Kenton – the basics
Distance: 8.8 km
Public transport: Greenford to South Kenton (tube and rail for both)
Best sights along the way: Paradise Fields Wetlands, The Union Canal, Harrow, especially the school,
Loos: Horsenden Hill Visitor Centre or at one of the pubs at Greenford, Sudbury Hill, Harrow-on-the-Hill and South Kenton.
Greenford to South Kenton Map
Capital Ring Section 9 – the route
The walk starts by the Westway Cross retail park, so if you need to start the walk with a Maccy Ds, this is the route for you! However you soon turn off into Paradise Fields. This used to be a golf course, but it has been turned into a nature reserve. TFL says “A number of rare bird species nest here, including reed buntings and several species of warbler. In recent years a pair of lapwing have bred, a rare occurrence in Greater London.” But we didn’t see many birds at all as we walked through. It is possible that we were just too loud. Oops.
The walk through the nature reserve soon turns off onto a towpath. I always love walking along the canal. You only follow along the canal for a short time, but this is an area with a lot of house boats so it is a pretty walk. I love seeing all the colourful houseboats.
When you get to a low bridge, come off the canal, cross the bridge and then follow the Capital Ring signs up to Horsenden Hill. Or, you can take a mini detour to the Horsenden Hill Visitor Centre.
This is not a very big hill; it is only 84m above sea level. But as we had been so used to the flat walks along the canal, it felt pretty steep(!) Once we got to the top, there are nice views over to Harrow-on-the-Hill. This hill used to be an iron age settlement, so you might be able to find some iron age pottery! At the very least you’ll find decent views over London.
You come down the hill into Horsenden Wood, so you’ll be surrounded by beautiful oak trees. You then follow the path around to the left, keeping a small stream to your left.
After the woods you’ll emerge into suburbia. You need to wander up Horsenden Lane and Melville Avenue, cross Witton Avenue, and then walk up Ridding Lane all the way to Sudbury Hill Station. This sounds like a lot of roads to follow, but it’ll all make sense if you have the google map. Turn left after Sudbury Hill Harrow station. It still looks like suburbia, but at the end of the road, the path changes to be a quiet footpath behind people’s gardens. There is a slow easy climb up, all the way up Harrow Hill.
You’ll emerge back on the main road (Sudbury Road leading into London Road.) However, although this road can be quite busy, it is still a nice walk. You get to wander past the Harrow school uniform shops, and even an Old Etonian restaurant. Even the post boxes are posher than the rest of London!
This road keeps climbing all the way up to Harrow School’s chapel. Then you can see some more fantastic views down to central London.
Once you’ve seen the chapel and church it is time to turn back down the hill, past the Harrow School dormitories and towards the school fields. Harrow pupils are pretty lucky. Their playing fields are enormous! It is easy to follow the path down the the fields, and across them. The capital ring path follows a stream, so this part of the field was a little soggy in spring.
Follow the capital ring signs and cross Watford Road and then take a well-marked path through the woods. The path continues with a gold course on one side, and Northwick park hospital on the other.
The very last part of the walk is through pretty Northwick park. This leads you back to South Kenton Station.