PERIVALE Central Line (West Ruislip)
A LONDON TUBE RAMBLES
There are four separate things to do/see from Perivale: wetland wander, hill climb, rescued church, canal walk.
1) Wetlands. (1 mile from Perivale station). Paradise Fields is a lovely area just off the canal with ponds (the largest having a viewing platform) and wildflower meadows. From the station turn right and continue for about ten minutes along suburban Horsenden Lane South towards the trees of Horsenden Hill. Just before the bridge go through a wooden gate on the right and down to the Grand Union canal tow path (slope). Turn left and walk for about ten minutes until you see a pretty arched footbridge. Immediately after this is a Public Footpath. Go down it and at a T junction (useful info board) turn right into the wetland. I suggest that when you have finished your explorations you return to Perivale rather than attempt to reach Greenford Tube station to the west which, although only about ten minutes away, involves negotiating several busy roads and a roundabout. It is worth going up to the bridge for the glorious view. (The photo above shows the track into Paradise Fields.) There is a path from the bridge that leads to Horsenden Hill, but as it runs alongside sports grounds for much of the way I found it disappointingly tame compared to the one described below. Nor does it lead anywhere near the summit in spite of what it says on one of the signposts.
3) Rescued Church. (10 minutes from Perivale station.) St. Mary’s is worth a quick visit for lovers of unusual churches as it makes a pair with Greenford (see that entry for Holy Cross). Sadly you will normally only be able to view the outside. Nestling among the trees and surrounded by a golf course it has a distinctly rural feel considering it is only 10 minutes from Perivale station. The church dates back to the twelfth century and is tiny with a delightful sixteenth century wooden bellcote and a sundial (1990's replacement). During the hundreds of years when Perivale was a country parish the fact that St. Mary’s could only accommodate about 70 people did not matter. However, after the huge expansion of the area in the 1930’s following the building of Western Avenue and its associated factories, plus housing estates, St. Mary’s was clearly too small. A larger church was built elsewhere and the old church was effectively cut-off from the newly populated area to the north – so much so that in 1972 it was declared redundant. Happily it was rescued from dereliction by the Friends of St. Mary’s Perivale and is now both a consecrated church and flourishing arts centre.
In the churchyard the graves are unusually close together, showing the difficulties in coping with a parish that had grown too large. One in particular is worth a look, its delicate carving having survived almost 300 years. There is also a strange legend attached to 'The Maiden's Tomb'. Apparently trees began to grow out of it as she had predicted would happen 'if there was a just God'. To get to the well-hidden church, cross the road outside the Tube station and follow Horsenden Lane South to the left until Western Avenue. Cross this major road by the long pedestrian bridge (a slope, no steps, but it does seem to go on for ever). As you come off the bridge go left and down (unmarked) Old Church Road. At the end, cross Perivale Lane towards a lych gate slightly to the left. A different world.
4) Canal walk to Alperton Tube station (Piccadilly Line). (About 2 miles station to station)The final option is to get to the canal bridge and waterside as described above, but in this instance turn right along the towpath. After about twenty minutes you will reach the bridge over Bridgewater Road. Go up the pushchair-friendly steps and cross at the lights. Walk to the left for Ealing Road. The station is a few minutes from here.
You may notice that the Alperton and Perivale entries are similar. I have included them both as they are on different Tube lines, so that if there are weekend engineering works you might still be able to enjoy the route by switching your starting point.
Click on photos to enlarge
Perivale is just one routefrom the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like click on the link above to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!