Celandine Route - along the River Pinn
A walk of 12 miles along the River Pinn from Pinner to the Grand Union Canal at Cowley. Through green spaces, conservation areas and wildlife havens.
Allow about six hours to complete the route which can be walked in either direction.
Refreshment points and public transport facilities are marked on the map [201kb] and along the walk are signs and waymark posts with the celandine symbol.
The walk can be completed in small sections to suit individual needs through planning ahead and using public transport.
- Starting from Pinner station (Metropolitan Line) turn right along Marsh Road. Cross the road at the zebra crossing; here the River Pinn may be seen from the bridge. The High Street has many fine old buildings including the 12th century church of St John the Baptist and others over 300 years old.
- Turn right and then left into Chapel Lane. Walk under the bridge and past the toilets before crossing the car park entrance to enter Pinner Memorial Park. This park was bought by the residents and Friends of Pinner and given to Harrow Council to commemorate those who died in the two world wars. Here the route leaves the river for a while as it disappears underground.
- Walk along the path through the park and turn left at the play area and before the aviary to walk around the edge of the lake. The building is the remains of West House which was the home of Nelson Ward, grandson of Lord Nelson.
- Turn left in front of Pavilion, then right through the car park and follow the path to the gate passing the small dog cemetery dating from the 19th century.
- Cross West End Lane with care and turn left past the school. On your right is Rose Cottage with its rose decoration on the front. This cottage was built when West End was part of a hamlet.
- Continue along the road crossing two other roads until Cranbourne Drive, then turn right and enter Cuckoo Hill allotments. Here the walk rejoins the river. Walk straight ahead along a wide path through some woodland and on reaching the open grass area keep to the path on the left following the waymark posts. In spring a common yellow flower called celandine can be seen here and at many places along the walk. Hillingdon has entered into a Countryside Stewardship Scheme with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). Many of the open spaces between Eastcote and Ickenham are managed in the traditional way, as hay meadows, to provide additional habitat, encourage wildlife, and delight people.
- Cross Cheney Street and enter Long Meadow open space where cows used to graze; walk ahead past a group of poplar trees called Hinman Copse; here a bird called the treecreeper may be seen. At the wooden bridge it is possible to cross the river and visit the walled garden, coach house and dovecote of Eastcote House (a guide is available from Hillingdon libraries on the Eastcote Village Conservation Area).
Return to the road and cross Eastcote High Road with great care. Walk through Haydon Hall grounds; on the left there are the remains of an old lake now enjoyed by local young cyclists.
- Walk past the large sequoia tree and other conifers and go through gate. Cross road with care, turn left along Joel Street to bridge and T-junction. Turn right to walk past tennis courts, and a mock Tudor building (a substation). Walk through Forge Green Open Space which used to be the site of a blacksmiths forge. It is possible to see an anvil in the front garden of the house at the end of the open space. Turn right over footbridge and then immediately left with the river on the left. Follow the riverside path as it crosses over two roads and enter King's College Playing Fields.
- Continue to King's College Road then turn left over the bridge, cross the road with care and enter the cricket field, at the gate. Walk behind the pavilion and walk ahead with the river on the right, keeping to the riverside. Continue ahead crossing St Martins Approach and Pinn Way (At Pinn Way it is possible to bear left and walk up path behind the Winston Churchill Hall to Ruislip Library where leaflets describing this conservation area are available).
- Continue through Pinn Meadow until reaching main road at Bury Street and cross with great care walking to the right and enter King's Gardens through a gate. Walk along surfaced path with river to the right. Cross footbridge and continue with river on the left. This area is very popular with green woodpeckers.
- At the end of the open space turn left over footbridge into Westcote Rise, then take first right along Woodville Gardens. Walk to the end of this road and enter another open space, with recent flood alleviation measures. Rejoin the river on the right (in the corner can be seen the aqueduct that carried the canal feeder over the river).
- Continue ahead with care along edge of golf course crossing the Hillingdon Trail (a 20 mile network of paths through the Hillingdon Countryside). This area is very popular with many bird species including the winter visitors such as redwings and fieldfares. The west meadow is an excellent area for wild flowers such as ragged robin. Do not cross the next footbridge but turn left under the railway line; this stretch of the river is a favourite feeding place for grey wagtails and kingfishers are often seen.
- At the next footbridge, near a play area, it is possible to cross the river and turn right and walk back to the site of the old Pynchester Moat which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
- Continue past the play area until Swakeleys Road (dual carriageway). Cross with great care and enter gate.
(It is possible to turn left here and walk about 800 metres (half a mile) into Ickenham conservation area with a pond and village pump.)
- Continue through open space past another play area and tennis courts. To the left is Swakeleys House, a fine example of Jacobean architecture with its lake.
- Follow the river and cross Swakeleys Drive. The walk now leads through more open space towards the A40 road. At the A40 ignore the exit space and turn left, follow the fence for 100 metres then turn right and walk up the ramp, turn left along the pavement on the A40 slip road and turn left down a slope which leads under the road and alongside the rail line (Hillingdon underground station). Leave the path, turn right and follow the woodland edge parallel with the A40, going across the meadow areas through the gaps in two hedges, back to the river; turn left.
- On reaching the concrete footbridge continue on the left bank and walk under the railway line. Follow the water's edge until bearing left to reach the gate.
- Cross Hercies Road with care and follow road to the right. Just before the bridge turn left and walk up Honey Hill which becomes Vine Lane (the route diverts from the river here because of the RAF station and the golf course). Continue along the road until reaching Hillingdon Hill Conservation Area with its old buildings and church.
- Turn right down Hillingdon Hill and cross the road at the pelican crossing. Continue down hill to rejoin the river, walk over the bridge and turn left along the Brunel University footpath. Follow the paved path alongside the river, cross the road and go ahead through gap in the hedge to enter a lane. Turn right and continue to the end.
- On reaching Church Road, turn left and walk along pavement passing St Lawrence Church, Cowley. Turn left into Pield Heath Road. At Robbie Bell Bridge, cross the road with care and rejoin the riverside path, with the river on the right.
Continue along the path 3/4 mile (1000 metres) through meadow area until Cowley High Road. Turn right and cross the road with care at the central refuge. Cross the river, then turn left onto the path alongside the river, passing behind new commercial buildings, to the canal towpath.
- Here it is possible to extend your walk, using the Slough Arm towpath or The Grand Union Canal Walk, a long distance route between London and Birmingham. It is not possible to follow the River Pinn, as it passes under the canal into private land, but soon joins Frays River and loses its identity on its way to the River Thames.
The Celandine Route (River Pinn Walk) is part of the London Walking Forum's network of paths along rivers and canals in West London. This walk has been developed in partnership with the London Borough of Harrow and Hillingdon, the Ramblers Association and the local residents.
Leaflets describing walks in Harrow are available with further information by telephoning 020 8758 5916.
Additional information on this and other walks in Hillingdon, telephone 01895 250456.