Horsenden Hill (East), Gruffalo and friends and (canal) Herons.

Today’s exercise was to perhaps the best known green area in Greenford/Perivale (after the park of course!); the heights of Horsenden Hill. The hill has a myriad of footpaths, some well trodden but many less so. We have visited often over the years but still manage to get lost!

I suspect most visitors now know it for its Gruffalo trail, which remains open during the lockdown. The Gruffalo himself is rather large; from our experience large enough to cause a 2½ year old to cry when coming across him. We will leave the location of both him and the other animals a secret so that you can discover them yourselves.

You may also notice a fenced off meadow. The photos above are the best I could do without close access. We think they might be orcids (Brad? Neil? Richard?) and although now past their peak are still a relatively uncommon sight. Not far away is the Horsenden farm area, which includes a new brewery selling craft ales, sadly again inaccessible during the lockdown but definitely with an online presence!

Also inaccessible is the equally famous Perivale Wood, along one edge of which runs the Grand Union canal. The wood in  normal times is open to the public one day a year, which used to be the first Sunday in May. About 10 years ago I believe this was moved by a week since the bluebells (English naturalised variety) were reaching their peak earlier due to climate warming.

And yet another large heron. This one was brazenly sitting by the canal edge and flying away only at the last moment when a cyclist or walker approached. In the last 5-6 weeks we have seen around five of them (or maybe the same one getting around a lot!).

We have covered another part of the Capital ring, the remarkable 126 km long inner-loop footpath surrounding London and which of course also runs through Perivale Park. There is still lots of Horsenden Hill we have not covered – – that for another day.

One Reply to “Horsenden Hill (East), Gruffalo and friends and (canal) Herons.”

  1. Those Gruffalo statues are fabulous. Must pay another visit to Horsenden Hill next week when the weather looks better.

    Your orchids are sadly not that but Bugle which is a great nectar plant for a good variety of insects. It’s sometimes grown in gardens as a purple leaved cultivar which I think is attractive.

    The only orchid I’ve seen there is Broad-leaved Helleborine which persisted for some years, though I couldn’t re-find it last year, so may have disappeared after the 2018 drought.

    The other two orchid species I’ve found within walking distance of home are Common Spotted & Bee Orchids.

    One of the most notable plants on Horsenden Hill East is one section that has a good population of Dyers Greenweed.

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