Friday 23rd September 2011
5.7 miles including station link
Toilets: Horsenden Hill Visitors Centre; Sudbury Hill Station (outside ticket gates; costs 20p); restaurants and cafes at Harrow on the Hill.
The South Kenton to Hendon section of the Capital Ring turned out to be much more interesting than I’d anticipated, so I decided to join people for another section.
After a short walk through suburbia, we went through a Nature Reserve known as Paradise Fields. The name was definitely a bit of an overanalysis, but it was still picturesque. After a short while, we joined the Grand Union Canal.
At the next junction we went over a bridge, and then into a children’s playground with wooden animals and a pirate ship.
A visitors centre was originally planned for the area. It seems like the plans never got under way, but there are toilets.
We then headed up Horsenden Hill, where we met some cows about half way up. A quick look around online told me that Ealing Council hire some cows every year from August to November, as an environmentally friendly way of cutting the grass. By the way, the guide book warns you that it’s a steep hill. It’s probably one of the steepest hills in London, but London isn’t exactly a hilly place so it’s all relative. It might seem steep if you’re new to that sort of thing, but if you’ve done some more traditional country walking then this is nothing to worry about.
There were fantastic views from the top of the hill, and, similarly to a few days ago, I asked myself why I’d never been there before. I’ll definitely be visiting again.
Someone had decorated the trig point.
After enjoying the spectacular views, we headed downhill through an area of ancient woodland. We saw some parakeets – something I’ve been noticing a fair amount of in London during the last few years.
We followed another section of suburbia through Sudbury, before ascending again, this time to the lovely area of Harrow on the Hill, with its village-like atmosphere. If you’re planning on doing the Capital Ring all in one go and staying at places along the way, stay here. The area is based around Harrow School, with its characteristic buildings.
There’s also a gorgeous-looking tea shop, the Doll’s House on the Hill.
Don’t worry if you see a few interesting aircraft passing by, flying low and with their wheels out. They’re heading for the RAF base at Northolt.
We also visited St Mary’s Church, consecrated in 1094. This is the one that can be seen from many miles away.
It was open at the time, so we had a look around. More photos of the stained glass windows can be seen here.
Round the back of the church is a memorial to Lord Byron, a former pupil of Harrow School.
We headed down Football Lane and around the school playing fields. At the bottom we went over a stile – the only stile on the whole of the Capital Ring.
The route then took us down a fairly boring footpath going between a hospital and a golf course, before going across Northwick Park and back to South Kenton Station.
So there you have it. The Capital Ring: helping you discover things that are almost on your doorstep. I’m definitely up for exploring some more sections.