We started this week’s section of the London Loop from the same place as last week: Uxbridge. This time we went south instead of north, taking in Harefield West, Hayes & Harlington, and Hatton Cross.
The contrast to last week’s walk was immediate. The Grand Union Canal led into the lusciously green Colne Valley Park and its weeping willow trees, which I always find uplifting.
Colne Valley hosts the River Colne and a few lakes. One of them is called Little Britain Lake because it resembles Matt Lucas. You can decide for yourself from one of the photos below.
The colours of autumn were much more apparent than last week. Recently, the Woodland Trust had a fascinating article on why leaves change colour and fall off in autumn. The short version is that, like us, trees are affected by cold nights, dry weather, bright sunny days, and hormones!
The section from Hayes & Harlington to Hatton Cross is slightly marred by the M4. When the M4 was proposed, St. Dunstan’s Church tried to stop it being routed through the parish. They failed. However, a pedestrian subway was built to allow parishioners to attend church. Hikers, providing they’re not atheists, are also allowed to use the subway.
The London Loop is turning out to be one of the highlights of London. Having spent my whole life in London, I’m very happy to find that there are still more wonders to be discovered here. Who needs to go abroad?!
If you’re tempted to do the London Loop, the TfL website has leaflets for each section. They include some history of each area.