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Bayhurst Wood.
A potentially delightful circular country walk of about one and a half hours. Unfortunately in the later stages there may be problems with noise and an unpleasant smell (details below). However, these can be avoided and in any case may not worry you at all – so read on…

From the Tube station go over the road at the crossing and turn left. Just after the Soldiers Return (I like the sign) go right down a track, passing what was once a farm – the old cowsheds are still there. At an open space you will see a wooden post. Go ahead in the direction of the arrow down a grassy track.  Continue until you see a signpost for the Hillingdon Trail. Do not follow this to the right, but continue ahead past some ancient oaks. Follow the wide path which leads to a sports field (ten minutes). Keep to the right. You are walking parallel to a railway embankment and occasionally a train whooshes past.  Next comes a meadow. Again, keep to the right. You will see a footpath junction – it doesn’t matter which way you go here, they both lead to the railway embankment. At the next fork go right and pass under the railway viaduct. Walk on a bit to get to the bridge over the River Pinn (beautiful flowers crowd the banks in the summer). Cross over the water – at this point the path (Public Footpath U46) becomes quite narrow. Soon you will reach Breakspear Road South. Cross over (diagonal left) to the Public Bridleway U42 sign and walk over the grass to the right of the road leading to business premises. Now you are in farming country, with lovely views through the hedgerows. At first the going is uphill, but after about ten minutes, you start going down and will pass New Years Farm. Cross Newyears Green Lane with great care – although it seems quite rural, cars and lorries do come along here and there is no pavement. Walk right for a short distance, watching and listening for traffic. Opposite the posts that mark the bend in the road take Public Footpath U37, which is a narrow track (uphill again) with more hedgerows on either side through which you can see fields and grazing cattle. At the next signpost continue ahead. The path becomes U35. After about ten minutes you will come to Bayhurst Wood
BUT now comes a bit of a problem:

In 2004 West London Composting Company began processing waste from a number of different local councils. It is the largest green recyling centre of its kind in Europe. The conveyor belt clanks busily every day except Sunday and if the wind is in the wrong direction there is an unpleasant smell, especially on a hot day (you know – the kind of day that makes you want to go for a nice country walk and breath in the clean air). As if that were not enough, a noisy ‘amenity site’ (Council rubbish tip) that is open seven days a week is sited nearby. All this happens just below the once-peaceful ancient Bayhurst Wood and if the wind is in the wrong direction the smell * which reaches right up into the woods, makes the picnic area a less attractive proposition. Luckily West London Composting Company is shut on Saturday afternoons and all Sunday, so those are the best times to explore this route – a round trip of about an hour and a half. At least these nuisances do not occur until quite late on in the route and can be avoided by stopping short of the woods, which still gives you a lot of pleasant rambling. I hope you admire my restraint in not saying what I think of the planning decisions that allowed all this to happen.

So, assuming you are not having a problem with the recycling plant etc, go into the woods via a kissing gate. As it has been a steady, though gentle, uphill walk, you might like to take advantage of the four pretty seats carved in the shape of leaves which are near the entrance, but the real picnic area is a little further on.  To reach it, continue along the footpath at the edge of the woods. You should be aware that the last few metres are very narrow and the brambles that stretch over the way in summer might be awkward if you have been intrepid enough to bring a buggy (this walk is not really suitable for wheels). To continue exploring the woods, leave the picnic area by the broad path that is more or less opposite the small one you entered by. The track bends to the right. and almost immediately meets up with a larger path. Go through the gap in the post and wire fence. On the left you will see a signpost for the Hillingdon Trail. Turn up the broad path, following the waymarkers, some of which have a cycle track symbol. (There is a car park at the end of this track, so cyclists start from there). In less than ten minutes you will come to a hut, with information posts about the flora and fauna to be found in the woodland.

Retrace your steps to where there is a small downhill path to the left (there is a tree in the middle of the main path and two waymarkers nearby). This is a pretty walk which lead you towards the farmland. Alas, it also takes you nearer the dreaded composting plant, so you might like to avoid it on when the wind is blowing up towards the woods. At the end of this trail you will see a gap in the wire fencing. Go through this, turn left, and you are on your way back to the Tube.

Please do not be put off by my warnings – this really is a great walk and the first time I did it there was no smell at all – just the noise (which you can pretend is farm machinery. ) Also, I suppose we have to remember that the composting plant is helping to save the world, even if it‘s not doing much for this particular part of the planet.

* West London Composting provides a telephone number with a pre-recorded message about the direction the wind is for any given day. (see Community news on their website). It is best to avoid a Southerly.
Photos: (click on image to enlarge)
Cows on New Years Green Farm
'The Soldiers Return' sign
Newyears Green (there seem to be two different spellings)
Bayhurst Wood
Twisted trees on broad path through Bayhurst Wood
West Ruislip 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 theouter 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