The major benefit of life right now is the chance to explore our local area. Living on the edge of London means the best of both worlds – a quick hop on the underground into town, and fields and woods on our doorstep. Over the last 2 months we’ve been exploring all the paths and byways around our village. We’ve kept the kids busy with geocaching and collecting leaves and flowers to press when we get home.
We live in the middle of the Hillingdon Trail, a 20 mile path though Hillingdon’s countryside from Cranford in the south east to Harefield in the north west. The walk passes through woods, fields, meadows, parks and open spaces, many of them nature reserves and some designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The route runs close to the rivers Crane and Colne, following and crossing the River Pinn and Yeading Brook in several places. It also follows the towpath of the Grand Union Canal and its Paddington Arm, and the central section of the trail is near the Canal Feeder. So there are plenty of places to explore and learn about and we’re trying to tick off the whole of the Hillingdon Trail. A few weeks ago we walked part of the Hillingdon Trail through Ickenham Marsh.
Ickenham Marsh (7.5 hectares) is an area of grassland and marsh managed as a nature reserve by London Wildlife Trust. The Marsh and Green, both unproductive ares, were left for grazing, when the common fields of Ickenham were enclosed in 1780. Each householder could turn out one horse or two cows from May to Martinmas (11th November). The poorer cottagers, having no large animals, preferred to dig up part of the green for allotment gardens.
It’s a lovely place to walk with lots to see and do. It was very quiet when we went and we enjoyed using our tree app to identify trees. There were streams to walk along, fields and marsh (which was surprisingly boggy in places!). It was a great place to take the puppy and the children enjoyed exploring it too.
There were a few boards along the way, with insects and birds to look out for. It’s a really lovely place to explore and we’re so glad someone mentioned it to us. We’ll definitely be back again soon.