This is another really pleasant section of the Capital Ring walk that loops around London. This part is just under 9km long, from Osterley Lock (near Boston Manor station) to Greenford. This part is not very difficult, although it can get a little muddy in a few places. Most of this walk follows the meandering path along the banks of the River Brent, so this is one section where I don’t think it is possible to lost.
The start of this walk is really easy to get to. Osterley Lock lies just a few minutes walk from Boston Manor on the Piccadilly line. The Elthorne Waterside area used to be a refuse tip(!) but now it is a gorgeous nature reserve. I can’t think of a better use for an ex-tip!! Follow the Capital ring and “River Brent Park Walk” signs near the start, to make sure you don’t wander off in the wrong direction along the Grand union canal. This part of the canal uses the River Brent (with the occasional canal cuts to make the course straighter.) Another blogger, Jura Runner, told me that there is a race to run the whole way from Birmingham to London along this Canal for 145 miles(!) You can even read about it on his blog here.
You need to follow the path along the Canal for just over a kilometre up to Hanwell Bottom Lock, which has a line of lock gates all in a row. Before the first lock, you should bear right to follow the river Brent. Don’t go to Birmingham!! It is worth going to look at the locks before you turn off the park, as it is really cool to see so many close together in the Hanwell flight. Especially if there are any boats trying to make their way upstream!
After walking along the river, the path dips under a bridge. Apparently sometimes this is flooded, so you might have to climb up to the road…but it was fine for us, even in early spring.
Next, you get to walk under the Warncliffe Viaduct, which is really pretty (there were a lot more dog walkers near the viaduct so it must be a popular place to walk…) It isn’t actually a viaduct – we saw trains zoom past on it. Wikipedia says it was the first major structural design by Brunel. It also says that there is a colony of bats that live inside the hollow columns! How cool is that!? Anyway the green fields around the viaduct must be popular as there were a lot of dog walkers and families out and about near here, even though the rest of the route was pretty quiet.
Turn left after going under the viaduct to enter Churchfields Recreation Ground/ Brent Lodge Park. Despite walking under a busy train line, this whole area feels quite rural and relaxed. It really is a pleasant place to walk. You need to keep the river on your as it wiggles its way around the green. You’ll be able to see a pretty view of St. Mary’s, the parish church of Hanwell, on your right. Quite soon after the church, you need to cross the Brent and wander along on the other side next to a cricket ground.
Next you walk along the edge of a golf course, but it is sort of screened off with trees, so I don’t think you have to worry too much about being smacked by a golf ball! Once you’re past the golfers, you need to turn right and cross the river again. You stay on this side of the river for a while walking next to fields. It is not the most picturesque landscape, but it is all still green. You need to pop up off the path to cross Ruslip road. Then you head back down to the sports fields at Perivale park.
After the Perivale park sports land, you need to cross the A40, over a footbridge. This is really close to South Greenford station if that has a good connection to get you home. If not, keep going past through the houses to cayton green park (another sports field.) Then you just need to walk through a few more residential streets to reach Greenford Station. The walk officially finishes by Westway Cross Shopping Park – so you can even finish with a Maccy D’s if that makes you happy
The end of this walk is not particularly inspiring, so if you can, I recommend you keep going onto the next section of the walk! The next pretty walk along the canal will make you forget about it all
Toilets: The zoo in Brent Lodge Park, Westway Cross Shopping Park, various pubs near Greenford Station.