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ALPERTON (Piccadilly line) LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK with several options - length of longest route 4 miles, including return to station.

The Grand Junction Canal was cut through Alperton in 1801, a local brickfield being used in the building works. Although passenger boats carried sightseers and the canal was popular with anglers, by the end of the century Alperton had become an industrialized, extremely smelly place. Its commercial enterprises included a sewage farm, 3 large piggeries and two recycling plants producing manure! With the coming of the railway in 1842 passenger barge traffic declined but the surrounding countryside was still a popular place to visit. Today long stretches of the canal in this area provide a peaceful walk (no noxious smells) where herons and other water birds flourish.

 From Alperton Tube Station turn right. Cross Bridgewater Road opposite The Pleasure Boat pub. Just over the bridge there are pushchair-friendly steps down to the towpath. At first there is a built-up section, but soon you will be walking along a quiet stretch with canal boats moored on the opposite bank. After about twenty minutes you will see a signpost and old road bridge with an iron pedestrian crossing next to it. At this point you have a number of options.

1) Wetland wander. (About 2 miles from the station) Paradise Fields is a lovely area just off the canal with ponds (the largest having a viewing platform) and wildflower meadows. To reach it, after the road bridge continue along the towpath 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 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.

2) Horsenden Hill climb. (About 2½ miles starting from Alperton station and ending at Sudbury Town.) Go over the bridge and pass the visitor centre car park, then turn right at wooden gates to follow the Capital Ring signs up the rough tracks of Horsenden Hill. (There is a useful map on the board at the beginning of the walk.) The orange gravel path is a useful marker in itself, but nearer the summit you will be on a grassy track, so keep a look out for the Capital Ring posts. When you get to the highest point (279ft) you  can see six counties and on a clear day as far as Windsor Castle and the Chilterns. From archaeological finds it is known that Stone Age and Iron Age people knew this hill, which is scheduled as an Ancient Monument. Now it is popular with employees of nearby hi-tech businesses who enjoy a break in these pleasant surroundings during their lunch hour. (I mention this just in case you are puzzled or even worried by the unexpected presence of peacefully wandering males in such an apparently remote place. I had a quiet laugh when I was last there. While having a picnic I watched four separate people climb over a gate - clearly it was the preferred route  back to the office.) You may also encounter some equally peaceful wanderers in the shape of cattle which graze on the hillside in the summer. When it's time to leave, either retrace your steps to the canal and Horsenden Lane North for Perivale Tube station or continue to the end of the woodland for Sudbury Town Tube station (Piccadilly Line). To begin the descent of the hill northwards, look out for a bench at the summit. Near this, half hidden by a small tree, is a signpost to Harrow-on-the-Hill. Follow this. Where the way forks go left into woodland. You'll see a Capital Ring post ahead. At a surfaced path turn right and then, at a small C.R.signpost near a road, go left down a narrow rough track. At this point you will glimpse houses through the trees. This track ends at Whitton Drive. From here it's about ten minutes to Sudbury Town Tube station. Walk to the end of the cul-de-sac and over Whitton Avenue at the crossing. Turn left and go into Allendale Road which has a shopping parade where you could buy drinks etc. Continue, crossing Sudbury Heights Avenue. Just after a bridge you will see Station Crescent on the right. Note: Horsenden Hill is steep enough to cause problems for anyone with even minor walking problems and is not suitable for buggies etc.

3) Return home via Perivale Tube station (Central Line).  Although it's not listed on the signpost, Perivale is only ten minutes away. To get to it,  leave the canal path and go through a wooden gate on to Horsenden Lane. Turn left. Soon you will see a children's playground. Continue along the road for the station.

4) Return to Alperton Tube station. You can, of course, simply retrace your steps to Alperton - useful if the Central Line is closed.

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
This 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!