Monday 26 November 2012

London LOOP-Moor Park to Elstree 5th May 2012

I arrived at Moor Park tube station on the Metropolitan Line to complete another section of the London LOOP. I left the station and immediately there's a sign for the LOOP.12 miles in total.

Walking through a wood alongside Sandy Lodge Golf course.

Great Tit in a Beech Tree
After leaving the wood I walk over the gold course,after some confusing signs I am walking along the course off course. Some kind golfer stopped and walked over to point me in the right direction. So I cut across the course and am now back on track.

After leaving the golf course onto Sandy Lodge Lane I have a view across to the Colne Valley.

Now after a short walk along the lane,I cross the road onto a path into Big Wood.Several sightings of Green Woodpeckers,while not exactly a rare bird ,they are a lovely bird all the same.


I leave the open area to what appears to be a council estate,a small bit of road walking before entering Oxhey Woods.

While walking through the woods, two Eurofighter jets flew over from a nearby RAF base I assume.First time I've seen them.

On exiting Oxhey woods I come to early 18th century  Pinnerwood house,home once upon a time to author Edward Bulwer Lytton in the 1830's.

 A few more pictures of the woods.

Then there was some walking across wet and muddy fields near to Hatch End and with views to Wembley where the FA cup final was being played today Chelsea V Liverpool.

The path follows the railway line and then exits out onto a road where I cross the line by a bridge.

Then more road walking along a busy road as far a busy T-junction where I cross and walk along a path that leads me onto another golf course(Grim's Dyke Golf course).
After leaving the golf course I came upon Grims Dyke.
Once it could be traced for miles,but this is the only substantial stretch remaining where it can be seen as a ditch and a bank.It probably marked a boundary, and excavations suggest a date of around 100AD.

 Now I come to GrimsDyke House,designed by Norman Shaw in 1872 in Tudor style,which in 1890 was bought by W.S Gilbert,literally half of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Gilbert lived there for the last two decades of his life. He died while attempting to save a girl from drowning in his lake. Lady Gilbert lived there until her death in 1936. The statue of Charles II now found in Soho Square stood on the property from about 1880 to 1938. The house was then used as a rehabilitation centre until 1963.
From 1963, the house was used mainly as a location for films and television including Futtocks End with Ronnie Barker. It was converted into Grim's Dyke Hotel in 1970 but continues to be used as a film location. Most of the lands have been separated from the hotel.

On 29 May 1911 Gilbert had arranged to give a swimming lesson in the lake to two local girls, Winifred Isabel Emery (1890–1972), a teacher and niece of the actors Cyril Maude and Winifred Emery,and her 17-year-old pupil Ruby Vivian Preece.The three arrived at the lake at about 4 pm that day. In 1923, Winifred Isabel Emery related to Gilbert's biographers her recollection of what happened on that day:
Sir William Gilbert was teaching me to swim, and he invited me and a pupil of mine [Ruby Preece] to Grim's Dyke on May 29th. We met him at Harrow Station and motored to Grim's Dyke and went straight to the bathing pool. My pupil and I were in the water before Sir William had made an appearance. It was a very hot day, but the water struck very cold. My pupil was a much better swimmer than I, and soon outdistanced me. We were both unaware that the lake was very deep further out, and presently she shrieked out "Oh, Miss Emery, I am drowning!" I called Sir William, who was on the steps, and he called out to her not to be frightened, and that he was coming. He swam out to her very quickly, and I heard him say: "Put your hands on my shoulder and don't struggle." This she did, but almost immediately she called out that he had sunk under her and had not come up. We both called to him, but got no answer. I tried to reach them, but got out of my depth and could do nothing but call for help. My pupil managed to struggle to the bank, and presently the gardener came and got out a boat, but it seemed a long time before they recovered the body.
The lake, seen on 29 May 2011
At the coroner's inquest, Preece stated, "I found that I could not stand and called out and Sir William swam to me. I put my hand on his shoulder and I felt him suddenly sink. I thought he would come up again. My feet were on the mud then. Miss Emery called for help and the gardeners came with the boat." Gilbert had "died instantly of the heart attack". Once his body was recovered, it was laid out in the billiard room (now the hotel's restaurant) at Grim's Dyke.The family doctor, Dr W.W. Shackleton, and Dr Daniel Wilson of Bushey Heath Cottage Hospital, later certified that Gilbert had died at about 4.20 pm that afternoon of syncope (heart failure) brought on by excessive exertion. The coroner's jury, also meeting in the billiard room at Grim's Dyke two days later, on 31 May 1911, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The path leads out onto a road where I can see south across to Harrow.
 A little further is The Case is Altered Public House.Most pubs with this name trace it to a licensing decision by local magistrates,but this one prefers the Spanish version-a corruption of casa alta,or high house.


The path crosses back across the road into the Harrow Weald Common.

I cross the road after a bit of walk to cross over to Bentley Priory open space.

To my left runs a double barbed wire fence with security lights,even a pillbox.

Bentley Priory is still RAF property,proud of the part it played in the Battle of Britain.I saw a little of the massive Victorian house and a glimpse of a Italianate tower.

Moving  on through Bentley priory I took a few more pictures.

Then out onto an estate,a rather posher estate the earlier one I had walked through.

I cross the main road onto Warren Lane through some woods,back across the road and along a lake

A robin by the lake
I now come to a sign that shows the loop going in two directions, One is showing the way to cut the walk short and you could leave at Stanmore Station. Just down this way are the ponds known as Caesars ponds,going by the theory that the Romans dug them.

Mandarin Duck
I now follow the path out onto a road and came to a junction where the road splits three ways. Again Harrow council are poor and there is no sign pointing the way. Thankfully I took the right way after consulting the map.I take a path that runs past The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

 It runs out into a very wet and muddy field with long grass. It runs down to a corner where I can walk under the M1 motorway via a road tunnel and out to a roundabout, where I do some more road walking past an industrial estate and eventually past The Fishery Pub where I cross the road into Aldenham Country Park.

 I follow the path alongside Aldenham Reservoir and the sailing club.

I take a rough drive up to a road that I cross on a stile oppositte.The path runs ahead with a view over to Elstree Church across the fields.

In this field there were so many paths going off in different directions,again no signs to confirm which I should be on.Luckily I chose the right path again.I come out onto a road in Elstree and a few more paths before I arrive back at Elstree/Borehamwood Station for the Journey Home.

.I get a fast train that stops at West Hampstead and St Pancras Station only,that saved some time. My first time in St Pancras so I had a quick look about before catching the tube.

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