Friday 3 November 2017

London Loop 11 alternative via Weston Walk

Grand Union Canal and Great Western Railway viewed from the end of newly opened Weston Walk, Horton.

A new path opened early in 2017 has further reduced the amount of road walking on the London Loop through Hillingdon borough. Following a green strip beside a new development site, Weston Walk links the point where the trail leaves Stockley Park directly with the Grand Union Canal towpath just east of where the Loop originally rejoined the canal at Horton Bridge.

The original route along roads through a largely industrial area does have some minor points of interest, though most walkers will undoubtedly prefer the new greener alternative, even though it’s very slightly longer (by 150 m or so). At the time of writing, signing on the ground was still directing walkers along the old route. I’ve amended my route description to include both options.

As explained in my commentary on London Loop 11, in the 19th century much of the land to the north of the canal here was covered by brickfields. The site immediately to the south of Horton Road, once known as Coopers Dock, had several subsequent uses, including as a printing works and a concrete works. It had been derelict for a decade before developers Prologis took it on a few years back for redevelopment into a business park under the name Prologis Park. A big distribution depot now stands on the eastern portion, while at the time of writing the rest was already flattened ready for building.

Improvements to public access have been provided under a ‘section 106 agreement’ (s106), where a developer undertakes to provide public benefit as a condition of planning permission. This includes resurfacing the towpath along the south of the site – you’ll only benefit for a few metres of this if you’re walking the Loop – as well as the current path, the line of a former private drive converted into a landscaped green strip. It appears to be named Weston Walk after one of the company’s executives, Paul Weston. Information boards narrate the story of the local brick industry, and at the end is a small grassy mound which provides good views of the canal and the Great Western Railway, running parallel at this point. I’ve said more about the former under London Loop 11, and the latter under London Loop 10.

Entrance to Weston Walk, Horton, a stroll across former brickfields beside a new distribution depot.

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