853

news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Capital Ring 7: Harrow-on-the-Hill to west Hendon

with 3 comments

It’s been a long time… um, since I actually did this walk. Well, about three months – after which I spent six weeks mostly travelling, and then over a month, er, forgetting to post this. But I’m digging my walking shoes out this week to have a pop at completing the Capital Ring, so it’s time to refresh my memory and show off what came before. In this case – off the Metropolitan Line at Harrow-on-the-Hill, a walk up a steep hill, through some woods, a graveyard, and back up to an amazing view across London.
Harrow
St Mary's, Harrow-on-the-Hill
View from Harrow
St Mary's, Harrow-on-the-Hill
St Mary's, Harrow-on-the-Hill
From St Mary’s Church, Harrow-on-the-Hill, it’s down through the famous old school‘s playing fields, plotting an uncertain path through beautifully-kept sports grounds. From here, it’s out the across the only stile on the Capital Ring and around the back of Northwick Park Hospital, taking us into the borough of Brent, and the place where all London’s sparrows seem to be living nowadays.
Harrow School
Harrow School
Harrow School
Harrow School
Ducker Footpath, Northwick Park
Ducker Footpath, Northwick Park
And then it’s proper 1930s suburbia once again – through Northwick Park itself and underneath South Kenton station, shiny new London Underground signs not very well disgusing the fact that this used to be a manky Silverlink station. Before Preston Park station is the green space it’s named after, a pleasant and, once again, perfectly-kept little spot. The same can’t be said for the streets by the station, but then nestled between some semis is the entrance to somewhere quite extraordinary.

Northwick Park
South Kenton station
Preston Park, Wembley
Preston Park, Wembley
Preston Road
Fryent Country Park entrance
Fryent Country Park is the kind of rugged place you don’t expect to find sitting behind suburban homes. I’d never really thought of north-west London as being a particularly green area, but with open fields, ponds and woods, it’s an interesting place to explore. It’s easy to imagine getting lost here, although the rattle of the nearby Jubilee line shatters the illusion a little. From here, Wembley Stadium provides an optical illusion, with planes coming into Heathrow looking as if they’re flying under the arch.
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
Fryent Country Park
The back streets of Kingsbury beckon next – we’re still in the shadow of Wembley Stadium here, before St Andrew’s Church beckons. Moved from Wells Street, Fitzrovia, in the 1930s, it replaced an older church, which remains in a sorry state next door. The smashed-up graveyard was a heartbreaking sight.
Kingsbury
St Andrews, Kingsbury
Old St Andrews Church, Kingsbury
Old St Andrews Church, Kingsbury
Welsh Harp
Another North London gem then appeared – the Welsh Harp reservoir, looking blue and idyllic in the sunset.
Welsh Harp
Welsh Harp
Welsh Harp
The Welsh Harp marked the point where the Ring enters the borough of Barnet – fiefdom of controversial Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman, currently its mayor. So here was where the signage started to dry up again, and a closed-down Barnet Council youth centre came into view. Once, this was probably alive with the sounds of young people learning to sail – I’d seen this earlier on the route in Wimbledon Park, a teacher good-naturedly pitting her wits against some lively kids. Instead, it was boarded up, presumably awaiting arsonists or vandals. Not the kind of thing you expect to see in a “regeneration area“.
Welsh Harp
Barnet Council shut down boatyard
Barnet Council shut down boatyard
West Hendon!
Finally, the day’s destination – the thrills of West Hendon Broadway. From here, I could have continued to Hendon station and got the train, but with Oyster pay-as-you-go still not accepted, it was easier to jump on a bus to Kilburn and pick up the Tube. Today, I’m returning there, picking up the Ring again.

Click here for all the past Capital Ring posts.

Written by Darryl

26 October, 2009 at 9:44 am

3 Responses

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  1. Good to have the Capital Ring posts back!

    H

    26 October, 2009 at 10:22 am

  2. Fryent Country Park’s great, isn’t it, in a looks-like-it-should-be-10-miles-further-out-of-London sort of way.

    diamond geezer

    26 October, 2009 at 8:06 pm

  3. It really did feel like a proper scamper in the woods in the country. Incredible we have these things in London, really.

    darryl853

    26 October, 2009 at 11:46 pm


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