I now walked up and down the A30 a few times trying to find the start of the Loop. This added a mile probably and quite some time.I eventually found that you have to walk up to the traffic lights turn left and double back on yourself along a service road.Where I now see a sign directing me into Crane Bank Water Meadows.
Again as so many of my other Loop walks I'm walking through mud and paths that are now streams.Unbelievable that the water companies say we were in a drought! Its here that I catch my first proper glimpse of the River Crane.
I walk out onto Bath road and across the balustraded Cranford Bridge.Here was the ford that gave Cranford its name,and the bridge still proudly carries the shield of the bygone Middlesex borough.
I now go through an arch into Berkeley meadows,with the River Crane running to my right.
|A 2m tall Hemlock|
Coming up to a bridge over the Crane, I climb to the top to take a picture of the River Crane before turning left towards the Church.
I walk over to St Dunstan's Church,a 15th century tower made of flint with a later added top story of brick,and a whole nave rebuilt of brick after a fire in1710.It shame the church is currently covered by scaffolding.
During the reign of Edward the Confessor the Manor was owned by Turstan, the King's Thane.It later passed to John de Cranford, who passed it to the Order of the Knights Templars.
When the Knights Templars were abolished the Manor and Parish were vested in the Crown until 1310, when it was passed to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem.
The records tell us that Bishop Roger of Lichfield presented a priest to the living in 1363. However, by 1365 the Abbot and Convent of Thame (near Oxford) were in possession of the Advowson.
With the dissolution of Religious Houses by Henry VIII, the Manor and Advowson were given by the King to his friend, Henry, Lord Windsor, whose family help possession until 1604.
In 1604 the estate was purchased by Sir Roger Aston, gentleman of the bed chamber and confidential minister of James VI of Scotland. Upon the death of Sir Roger, with no surviving male heir, the estate was acquired, in 1618, by Elizabeth Lady Berkeley. It remains a living of the Berkeley family today.
From the surviving records and documents we can safely assume that a church has stood upon the present site of St Dunstan's from Saxon times (7/8th Century). The earliest known reference is to be found in Sir Montague Sharpe's edition of "Middlesex in British, Roman and Saxon Times", in which he mentions the church at Cranford as one of those built upon the site of a compita, or 'little chapel', which usually stood at the cross-roads, and where the Romans offered sacrifices to their rurual gods twice a year.
When Pope Gregory I sent St Augustine and his missionary priests to Britain he directed them to "utilize the sacred places of the Pagans for the service of the true God, and to adapt them to the uses of the Christian Church."
St Dunstan's is also mentioned in the Domesday Book, as is the fact that a virgate of land (about 30 acres) was held for the maintenance of the priest who served at the church prior to the Norman conquest.
I make my way through the graveyard,there there are several giant redwood trees and loads of squirrels.
In the corner of the churchyard as you turn right from the entrance there is a plaque commentating the comic and actor Tony Hancock. He was well known for his Hancock's half hour. His mothers and his ashes were scattered here in the churchyard.
I now make my way over to the corner of a 18th century ha-ha,a sunken wall and ditch that separated the gardens of the Earl of Berkeleys mansion from his 1000 acre park. The estate was bought by the Berkeleys in 1618,but the house became a ruin after their leaving in 1918 ans was demolished in 1939.
Through a gate I come to the stable block of red brick and a cobbled yard. Here was the headquarters of the Berkeley Hunt.
I walk through the stables and through a underpass under the M4 motorway to into the woodland of Dog Kennel covert.I exit near to the Crane Pub and turn right and cross the River Crane by a road bridge.
I walk alongside the dual carriageway of the A312,crossing over the Grand Union Canal and then down a huge ramped way that eventually takes me down to canal level.
|A Grey Heron|
As I walk along the canal I smell a strong smell of ground coffee,I realise that I'm walking pass the Nestle factory makers of Nescafe coffee.
I continue along the canal.
|A Moorhen and its babies on the nest.|
I now leave the canal path to walk through Stockley park.
I now make my way onto the Business estate of Stockley Park,home to corporate giants like Sharp,Toshiba,Apple,Marks & Spencers etc....
It is a perfectly managed park with manicured lawns,lakes and waterfalls. Shame all business parks aren't as nice as this!
Stockley Park was built upon a tip that was used by Londoners who would load barges on the canal and come to tip the industrial and private waste from West London. Top soil was added to the site to cover the waste and the modern offices were built on top.
|Still on the Business Park!|
After a walk through the rest of the country park,I exit out onto Horton Road and then left onto Horton Bridge Road passing the Brickmakers Arms a reminder of the past industry in the area.
I'm now back on the tow-path of The Grand Union Canal.
|A Female Mallard and her young|
|The turn off for West Drayton Train Station if you wish to cut the walk short.|
I now take a criss cross metal bridge across the canal at Cowley Peachy junction to follow the Slough arm of the canal for a while.
This 5 mile stretch of canal was virtually the last canal to be built in this country.Back in 1882 it was needed to transport London's demand for bricks from the brick fields around Langley.
|A view from the bridge along the main stretch of the canal.|
|A pair of Mute Swans Preening|
|Passing Packet Boat Marina|
|Yellow Flag Iris on the canal|
I turn across the second bridge to cross the canal into wild woodland.
|A Mute Swan on the lake.|
|Little Britain Lake|
I cross The River Colne and took the above picture looking across the River Colne to the Little Britain Lake.
I now follow the river through a lovely wood.
I exit out onto the road and cross the river where I rejoin the river on the other side.
|A Common Poppy|
I now come out by a small Industrial Estate and pass The General Elliott Pub. About here I rejoin the Grand Union Canal.
I now meet the Swan and Bottle Pub where I started my last walk.I leave the canal here to walk to Uxbridge Tube station.
I stopped off by the St Margarets Church in Uxbridge again.
|Queens Head Pub,54 Windsor Street Uxbridge|
The Queen's Head pub Uxbridge Dating from 1546, this is reputed to be the oldest pub in Uxbridge, a town which had a large number of coaching inns, being on the route from London to Oxford.
|Windsor Street Uxbridge|
I now made my way across to Uxbridge Station for my journey home. A lovely 12 mile walk!