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PINNER (Metropolitan Line) 
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK
A real Metroland station – fusion of country and suburb with many charming ancient half-timbered buildings. Length of walk about 2 miles
 

Pinner has an unusual number of timber-framed buildings – so it is not surprising that much of the development that came with the advent of the railway in 1885 was built in a medieval style.The Metroland concept of living in idyllic countryside but being able to commute to London by train finds its purest expression here. However, a lot of the High Street is genuine Tudor, and there are a surprising number of old farm buildings to be found a few minutes walk from the centre. To start your explorations, turn left down Station Approach, then right and right again into the High Street.

This has a gentle slope up to the church and the mixture of fifteenth century and Georgian architecture creates a pleasantly varied roof line. Benskins pub used to be called the Victory and dates from 1580. At one time it was several small shops. The Queens Head, which used to be a coaching inn, is basically an old building, but its apparently ancient frontage is a glorious 1930’s fake. Adjoining the pub is the Pizza Express - once the village bakery.  

On the other side of the road, No. 32 is a sedate brick-built eighteenth century house – notice the Sun Fire Insurance mark above the front door. At the highest point of the High Street on the right is Grange Court on the corner of Grange Gardens. 1930’s Mock Tudor - not at its best. Opposite was a slaughter house, whose louvred roof still remains. On the left hand side of the High Street, set back from the road,  is Church Farm  - a long, low dwelling with medieval timber framing. To the northwest of the church is an odd building with a startlingly tall chimney. This is Heywood House. Originally Georgian, additions were made in 1878 when it became the Cocoa Tree Temperance Tavern. It was popular with day-trippers seeking a cuppa.



Now for the medieval church, St. John the Baptist, which stands guard over the town at the top of the hill. To the south of the church is an extraordinary monument – you can’t miss it. Erected in the early nineteenth century to the memory of his parents by John Claudius Loudon, a garden writer and agricultural pioneer, it's a tall tapering mass of stonework with an archway at the base. About halfway up an imitation sarcophagus sticks out a couple of feet either side, as if it has been pushed through and just left there. More discreet is the touchingly simple wooden headboard tucked away on the north side of the church under a tree. It records the death in 1775 of one William Skenelsby aged – wait for it – 118 . . .If you want to see the details of his life,  go to British History on Line and scroll almost to the bottom of the page where you will find a table which explains how he calculated his age. On the corner of Church Lane, which runs by the side of the churchyard,  is an  ancient, but largely reconstructed building, currently a restaurant.

From the church, turn left up the pleasant, winding way.  Chestnut Cottage is early eighteenth century.  The handsome Pinner House, dated 1721, is now accommodation for old people. Unusually, the roof is lined with thatch, an early method of insulation. Further down the lane, the black and white Grange Cottage has its origins in the sixteenth century (there's another fire mark on the west  wall nearest the road). 

Where the road forks,  walk through a small area of grass (Tooke Green) towards a granite drinking fountain (1886) in memory of William Arthur Tooke, a local landowner.

















Please note that at this point walking becomes a little tricky, as footpaths tend to disappear. Cross Moss Lane carefully towards a slope that leads to a raised pavement and turn left. Soon there is an intriguing building on the other side of the road – The Fives Court, built at the turn of the nineteenth century. It is in the Art and Crafts style and was designed by Cecil Brewer for Ambrose Heal of the up-market furnishing firm, Heal’s, in London. The sparse detailing shows the influence of C.A. Voysey.  (The pavement is now on that side of the lane).  Further on,  at the bend opposite the modern Chiswick Court development, have a look at Tudor Cottage. Although dated 1592, much of it is a delightful later patchwork of old bits and pieces. Now go down a private road to find East End House, a large red brick building, its eighteenth century frontage half-hidden behind trees.

Tucked away at the end of the lane comes a gem - East End Cottage* It began life in the fifteenth century as an open hall and was gradually improved and added to over the centuries, with fireplaces and chimneys making it a much more comfortable place in which to live. There is a excellent detailed leaflet about this fascinating building which you can download here. However tempting it might be to have a close look, please respect the privacy of the owners.

You now have two choices, the first is to return to the station, the second is to do a farm walk ending at Headstone Lane overground station.

1) Return to Moss Lane and follow the curve downhill until a footpath sign by a low brick wall (opposite No. 95). This is at East End Way, another private road. Go down here to reach Paines Lane. Turn left towards the brick Baptist church and in five minutes you will back in the High Street. From here you can return to the Tube station. 

2.Alternatively, from East End Cottage walk back up Moss Lane until the turning for Wakeham Hill on the left. From here you can do a rural walk that takes you to Headstone Lane overground station( about a mile away) via Pinner Park Farm.

Pinner Park Farm Walk 


Wakeham Hill is quite steep, but it is only a few minutes to a Public Bridleway sign.There are a couple of seats just before the beginning of the walk where you can sit and enjoy the view before setting off. Please heed the warning notices, and keep dogs and children under control, especially in spring when there will be cows with calves in the (fenced off) fields.This much-loved route is pleasant, downhill and goes through meadow land, though electricity pylons are visible in the first half. After passing through a gateway/stile the way becomes more sheltered with tall hedgerows and ash trees When you come to George V Avenue cross over to the Pinner Farm sign. As you approach a gate a recorded voice may tell you that you are on CCTV.  Go through the small gate and make sure you stay on the wide concrete track (not the small path on the right).   The farm buildings themselves include a somewhat eccentric collection of rusting containers, but the farmhouse itself is a substantial and attractive dwelling of the mid eighteenth century.  Once past the farmyard the path narrows again. At the end of the bridleway climb over the stile and turn right into a quiet lane. Be on the lookout, as it does have some traffic, especially near the garden centre which you will reach after a few minutes. Another place to be cautious is when you see the funny little Headstone Lane station buildings over the road at the end of the lane. It is safer to approach the station by going to the right, crossing  over, then turning left/right to find another island, rather than attempting to cross at the brow of the hill which is on a bend so you can’t see approaching traffic properly. The Overground trains go to Euston/Watford Junction.

Photographs (click on images to enlarge)
East End Cottage
Tudor Cottage
Pinner High Street/1580 pub, once The Victory
Fire Mark on No.32 High Street
Loudon Sarcophagus/Skenelsby grave marker
Pinner House
The Fives Court/East End House
Cattle grazing at Pinner Farm
Pinner Farm House.
 

Access. Please note that because of the stiles involved, the farm walk is not suitable for everyone. Also, as noted above, in Moss Lane the pavements are non-existent in places, which might make things awkward for anyone with a wheelchair or buggy.

* It is worth checking the Open House London website to see if this is will be briefly open to the public in September.

MAP

Pinner 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 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 to go to www.londontuberambles.co.uk to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!


© DR