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HOUNSLOW WEST Piccadilly Line (Heathrow)  
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES  (about 3 miles)
This station is one of Charles Holden’s polygonal buildings (1931). Looks a little like a Martello Tower. In this area the similarity is apt, for there is a large barracks not far away. Continuing the military theme, a distinctly unlovely building opposite the Tube houses the Earl Haig pub with suitably daunting sign. From here a ten minute walk will take you to Hounslow Heath. 
The Heath was once a royal hunting ground, then it became notorious for highwaymen who used to ambush the stage-coaches travelling to and from the West country. Subsequently it was an army exercise ground – hence the barracks in adjacent Beavers Lane. To get to this historic open space from the Underground, cross the major Bath Road at the lights and go left until Martindale Road. Walk down here, past the attractive Duke of York pub and turn right at Beavers Lane to see the Cavalry Barracks.  
Building began in 1793 on this, the first of forty installations built round the country during the Napoleonic Wars. Much enlarged during the nineteenth century, it is still occupied by whichever battalion is posted for public duties in London, so photo opportunities are distinctly limited. Indeed, you will discover if you use Google Street View that some buildings are fogged out. Do not on any account attempt to take photographs of the guards at the main entrance. I'm not suggesting you would meet the same fate, but you might be interested to know that Beavers Lane has the dubious distinction of being the place where the last British Army soldier was flogged to death in 1846: on a more positive note, Florence Nightingale received some of her early training here.

Cross over to Barrack Road, just opposite the Barracks. This is a somewhat depressing road, but at the end is a cheerful sight - another pub with military connections - The Hussar. Go over the Staines Road to get to the Heath. In the summer there are grazing cattle (no problem unless you have an unruly dog or child). You may be relieved to know that the wild boar that once roamed the area have long gone. From the above link you can discover that there are many species of flora and fauna, including some rarities.The Heath has plenty to offer even in winter – silvery seed-heads of varying shapes and sizes have a beauty of their own, besides providing food for birds throughout the colder months, while here and there scarlet berries brighten the scene. You can either do a circular walk or simply go straight across the heathland, following a wide concrete strip until it branches when you should take the left hand fork.  This is a gravel path that meanders pleasantly towards the Hanworth Road. When you reach the end of the heath (about a mile) go through the metal exit point and walk briefly through a housing estate. At the main road turn left to find a bus stop nearby. The 111 (a frequent service) will take you to Hounslow East Tube Station.
MAP
www.londontuberambles.co.uk
Hounslow West is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings to be found, in the area 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 to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!


© DR