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Cranford Park

Cranford Park To Bulls Bridge 2 miles (1.5 to 2 hours).

Hillingdon Trail

The walk starts at the car park at Cranford Park.

Map of the walk [1Mb]  »

Walk from the car park a few yards to enter the stables courtyard.

The Stables Block is the most impressive and complete part of the remaining buildings of Cranford Park House. Nearby is a curved 17th century wall, all that remains of a crinkle-crankle wall. Extending southwards is a raised mound of earth covering extensive brick vaults and these, together with the stable block give some idea of the scale of the house. Further east is the 16th century church of St Dunstan, which has beautiful Georgian brickwork, spectacular graves, a stone coat of arms of the Berkeley family [the original owners of the estate] outside the eastern end. In the churchyard is a stone to the memory of Tony Hancock. To the south is a magnificent Lime tree with Mistletoe and 10 metres south of this is a fine old Sweet Chestnut and a corner of the extensive ha-ha. Occasionally seen around old country houses, they are made of a sunken wall and ditch and designed to keep animals in the parkland and out of the domestic garden near the house. At the same time, they allow an uninterrupted and impressive view from the house across the expanse of the estate. Further east, along the vehicular access road is an elegant and Grade II listed bridge. A short distance south-west of the site of the house is the ice-well or ice-house. It is a square area with trees, almost surrounded by a ditch. Ice was taken from the lake [the canalised part of the River Crane immediately north of Cranford Park bridge] in the winter and put in the ice house where it remained frozen during the summer.

Walk under the stables block arch. (The southern links starts here to Thames Path).

Through the small doorway on the left [to the west and north] are the extensive 17th/18th century walls of the Walled Garden. In the wooded area, there are many fine trees including Lime with Mistletoe growing on it in large evergreen clusters, Larch, Scots Pine, Hornbeam, Giant Redwood, Ash and Oak.

Follow the path north under the M4 via St Dunstan's subway and turn right [east]. Follow the path parallel to the M4 for 80 metres, then pass through a pleasant area of young woodland known as Dog Kennel Covert. On merging onto open land, continue north-east towards a bridge over the River Crane.

Look out for Heron along the river bank, where Willow and Hazel occur. Across the river is Moat House Covert, denoting the site of the former Manor House of Cranford le Mote [13th century].

Follow the river bank and bear north-west through a wooded area and the path emerges onto Watersplash Lane.

At the junction of Watersplash Lane and North Hyde Road is The Crane Public House which serves food. Hayes main line railway station is a kilometre away and has a car park.

Turn right [east] to the traffic lights, to cross North Hyde Road in safety.

Up to the 1930s the road to Southall went through a ford at this point [roughly opposite the end of Nestles Avenue].

Join the footway onto the Hayes By-Pass [opened in autumn 1992].

As the path rises, the road crosses the Grand Union Canal and from here fine views of West London can be seen. Note the Canal overspill [on its south side] going into [topping-up] the River Crane; this prevents the locks further down the Canal from flooding. This watercourse is Yeading Brook to the north of the canal and the River Crane south of the Canal.

Continue on the footway, descending to the Grand Union Canal tow path and turn east, through the motorcycle barrier, to Bulls Bridge.

The Yeading Brook forms the borough boundary between Hillingdon and Ealing. On the towpath, look out for the British Waterways Birmingham/ Brentford/ Paddington signpost and the Interpretation board.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 30 Dec 2011 at 12:00