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Waterways and meadows in West London – Saturday 5 September

GOC London finally recommenced our circumnavigation of the Capital Ring after the long lockdown hiatus since February. 2 groups of 6 were led by Robin and myself, spaced an hour apart. Although most GOC groups now allow up to 30 attendeees, we are taking a more cautious approach, particularly because our walks are almost all accessed only by public transport and the greater difficulty of social distancing.

It was a perfect day for walking, cool but mainly sunny. The walk has extensive green space and follows watercourses almost the whole way including the Thames, The Grand Union Canal and the River Brent. We  passed a number of notable buildings and structures, including Richmond Lock (semi-tidal) with its attractive iron footbridge, Syon House, Brunel's Wharncliffe railway viaduct, the Victorian St Mary's Church, Hanwell (by George Gilbert Scott), and an interesting concertina-style weir on the River Brent, designed to maximise flow in a limited width.

We ate our packed lunches in the pleasant surroundngs of Brent Lodge Park, just above the river valley, by which time we were already two-thirds of the way into the walk. After passing through the rather nice Perivale Park, which is open and has wide views, the  final part of the walk was rather an anti-climax. We had to cross a not very beautiful - but essential - footbridge above the extremely busy A40 and then through suburban streets to reach Greenford station.

We found the walk to be one of the most attractive sections of the Capital Ring we have yet done and we had a pleasant and enjoyable day.  Small groups also have their advantages, as they allow everyone to get to know everyone else. The fact that the walk is level and well surfaced made the day very easy walking, and we could have easily done several more miles. However that is for the next stage of the walk in October. We will have to climb some actual hills - I'll let you know how we get on!

Andy Fisher


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