The Harefield Loop Walk planned by a friend to avoid slipping and sliding in the mud . The route is a delightful trail down to the canal and through to West Hyde. Finally you return back through woods and back to the centre of Harefield.
The walk is only 6.6 km (4.1 miles) and took us just over 90 minutes to complete. The total ascent for the route is 60m (196 ft).
Where to begin
Begin the Harefield Loop Walk in Park Lane Harefield UB9 6BN. There are a few buses that visit Harefield and its hospital like the U9 from Uxbridge. However, going by car is much easier and there is plenty of parking on the left hand side of the road as you leave the village. Park before the open space appears on your left and the road dips downwards.
From this point you can see across the valley to the HS2 construction site which looks like a mini-city. This one shot of a small part of HS2 is an indication on the amount of destruction that building this line is causing.
The canal and ex-chalk pits
Descend the road and cross over the canal at Black Jack Mill.
Once across the canal turn right and follow the towpath. When you turn off the towpath there is a small 10 yard section of slippery mud. You can see this marked on the map.
You will cross between several ex-chalk pits ideal for watching the local bird life
Turn right at the end of the path and head into West Hyde. The history of this village goes back to Saxon times. Traditionally West Hyde has been a farming community. In 1820 an entrepreneur, William Bradbury, moved in and brought a new crop, watercress. The springs from the nearby River Colne provided the ideal environment for growing watercress and by mid-century he sent shipments all over the country.
The timber framed Corner Hall with the fantail doves on its roof became the home of William, Job and Richard Bradbury whilst the family ran the watercress business.
While the main route turns back across the chalk pits it is worthwhile making a small excursion a little further along The Old Uxbridge Road. Pleasant Place on your left reveals a terrace of houses and the original village pub, Ye Jolly Gardeners.
The pub built in 1820 became a private house in 1956, but the owners have preserved the interesting signage.
Onward to Coppermill Lock
Retrace your steps and once again cross the chalk pits to The Coy Carp at Coppermill Lock
There has been a pub at Coppermill Lock since at least the middle of the 19th Century. It was originally called The Fishermans Inn. As the name of the lock suggests there was a copper mill here as well as a lime kiln.
On the other side of the bridge is a Grade II listed building that was once the headquarters of the London Rubber Company.
Pass by the old Harefield Rubber HQ and turn left and follow this minor road until it turns sharp left. A gentle rise becomes significantly steeper as you climb through the Old Park Wood.
Managed by the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wild Life Trust the wood is an area of Special Scientific Interest. The wood appears in the Domesday Book and was later part of the Harefield House Estate. You’ll find beech and oaks and a variety of bird-life.
We took a short excursion, which was a little muddy, to the observation post that overlooks potential feeding area for birds. Sadly there was no wild life on our visit.
The final section
Return to the route and where there is an alert head straight across the grass and avoid the muddy path that we ventured along.
With the fence on your right hand side you’ll emerge onto Hill End Road and pass Harefield Hospital on your right.
Finally walk to the roundabout in the centre of the village and back down Park Lane where you parked your car.
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