Why don’t you ….

Why don’t you....

.......go out walking? You won’t spend and you’ll see that London is much more than you thought, it can still give you the feeling that it was once villages and countryside. Try two of my favourites, they’re circular. During lockdown I’ve been doing them in the early morning and they’ve kept me happy. I think they will you.

Try walk number one:

Make your way to Perivale station, 297 bus or central line, turn right and walk to the canal, and when you reach it turn left and walk for ten minutes. You’ll see boats, people living on boats, ducks, ducklings at this time of year, a few joggers and me probably.

When you get to the first bridge, a wooden one, cross it into the park. And you’ll find this pretty path into the park. Walk through the park for a minute or so, then any turning on the right takes you into what I now call the buttercup meadows. I imagine that as the year progresses the flowers will change but these meadows have been so beautiful with their golden glow of buttercups.

Keep walking, any direction through one meadow after another, you can’t get lost. Any path will take you sooner or later to the road. Look out for The Ballot Box pub, (closed now, but handy for a quick beer in a while). On the same side of the road as the pub there’s a path into another green area. Here you have a choice to go up to the top of the hill or have a walk through a wood. I suggest the path through the wood, (my friend and I sat down there on a hot morning, drank our coffee and were amazed that in London we could see such loveliness.)

After a few minutes’ walk in the wood you’ll come onto a golf course, any path is fine. Talk to whoever you see if you want a direction, the area is not so big and anyone will be happy to recommend a way. I turn left at the beginning of the golf course, walk around it and then down another little wooded path past the Gruffalo waiting for you, and then after ten minutes you’ll be back on the canal bridge. You’ll have walked a circle, it takes about an hour, more if you’re like me and like to stop, eat your sandwich, look around, take a few photos.

As you leave the area, and just before the bridge there’s a notice board, and every day there’s a different poem on it, some famous, some not, but always worth reading. Often I’ve felt it’s made my walk just that bit more magical.

Or try walk number 2:

This one starts at Hammersmith station. From there make your way to Hammersmith bridge, just ask almost anyone for directions, it’s only a five minute walk. It’s a beautiful bridge and the river walks in any direction are really lovely.

I like to start on the Hammersmith side, turn right, stopping to look at the water, is the tide in or can you see the mud and stones we like to call the beach. Then there’s the house boats to look at. If the pubs are open, stop and watch the passers-by, everyone’s favourite hobby, or make your way to The Dove at the end of Furnival Gardens. It’s my favourite pub in the whole of London and you can hope there’s a table on the balcony overlooking the river because it is so enjoyable to sit there, eat something and watch the river traffic.

When you’re ready leave and continue your walk, past the beautiful houses, choose where you’d like to live. Just keep going for as long as you’re enjoying the walk. I like to walk until the bridge that leads to Barnes station. I cross and then walk the opposite way, going back to Hammersmith. I love walking along the length of the river in Barnes, it feels like the sea. Then the path leads to the path through trees, take it and keep going. If you have the energy you can turn off and walk round the Leg of Mutton reservoir, or if not just keep following the path all the way back to the bridge. You’ll get a taste of the countryside before you head back to city life and the shops.

Published on 28 March, 2023