NORTHOLT Central Line W.Ruislip)
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES
Follow the path up the hill to get to St. Mary’s church, a simple medieval building with a nave c.1300. The pretty weather-boarded bell turret and shingled spire were added in the sixteenth century. This delightful example of an old Middlesex country church still stands snugly in a rural setting. Opposite the south door is a narrow pathway which leads to Belvue Park. Facing you is a wide expanse of grass. If you look to the right you will see one of the Northolt 'hills', of which more later. Follow the sandy path left and before long you will come to the site of the now vanished Manor House. Frankly, there's not a lot to see, but those who like their imagination stimulated will enjoy the information boards explaining the history and layout of the various houses that were occupied in this area until the 1670’s when the site was finally abandoned. The big dip in the ground marks where the moat used to run - it was originally dug in the early fourteenth century. Drainage is poor even away from the moat and you may have to negotiate a large puddle in the path. Continue round the bend to the left and soon veer left again over a plank bridge to access the site, which apart from its historical interest is a great place for a peaceful picnic. Return to the path. At this point you may wish to get back to the Tube station. If so, go left and continue along a pleasant route until you come out at Court Farm Road (turn left down it for Ealing Road). An alternative is to visit Northolt Hills.
Northolt Hills. These are situated in the Northolt and Greenford Countryside Park. If you wish to see this splendid recreation area turn right from the church, along the sandy track (away from the Manor House site) and follow it to the left as it runs parallel to Ealing Road. It then bends left and takes you round a clump of trees to Rowdell Road. Cross this at the lights and turn right to regain Ealing Road. (This later becomes Kensington Road). I strongly recommend that you do not cross over yet, as there are entry and exit roads to Western Avenue on the other side. Go under the flyover. Shortly you will reach Smith’s Farm. Opposite are enormous conical mounds (the tallest is 25 metres). Cross at the traffic lights a little further down to get to these strange objects which are in fact heaps of rubble and subsoil from local redevelopment schemes (including Wembley Stadium) now covered with grass and wild flowers. One has a winding path up to the top which has a gentle enough gradient to be possible if you have a buggy (it takes about ten minutes to get to the top). The others provide useful exercise and/or practice for more rigorous rough hill climbing. As well as the monster mounds there are several lakes, a cafe and a mini mound for kids; also a conventional playground by the entrance. Visiting Northala Fields is an enlivening experience, as it is obvious that a great deal of thought as well as money has been put into the project. This is a place where you are intended to have FUN. From here it is less than a mile back to the Tube station.
Northolt 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!