My third Ramblers’ AGM of the season was that of my own Area: Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and West Middlesex (probably the longest Area title of all).
It was hosted by West London Group on 3 February, at the Holy Trinity Church Hall in Perivale in Ealing. Pevsner tells us that the architect was J P Blake, and that it has a ‘blocky brick exterior with s tower-porch’. Indeed it does.
I have whizzed past Perival often enough in the train or on the A40, so it was interesting to walk here, particularly as our leader was Tom Berry who knows the area well. It is surprisingly rural, though not quite as much as in John Betjeman’s day:
Parish of enormous hayfields
Perivale stood all alone,
(Middlesex, from A Few Late Chrysanthemums, 1954)
We met at Perivale station, with its elegant curved facade designed by Brian Lewis and completed in 1947.
From there we went to Perivale Wood local nature reserve, which is owned and managed by the Selborne Society. Unfortunately it does not have public access and Tom had to make a special arrangement to take us in.
Plenty of good work goes on here, such as managing the hedgerows,
and the ancient trees.
HS2 is to go under the site, where the red post is in the photo below.
We walked through the woodlands and came out at the northern end of the reserve, on the Grand Union Canal. It was hard to believe we were so close to central London.
We followed the canal
and congregated in a nearby park for a photo opportunity.
Then we walked past Horsenden Farm, at the foot of Horsenden Hill
In the car-park a fresco of Horsenden Hill and the canal is reminiscent of somewhere on the South West Coast Path!
We climbed to the top of Horsenden Hill with views over Harrow to the north, though it was a dull day.
Then we headed back down the hill to the hall.
At the afternoon meeting we said goodbye to Tom Berry. He has served on our committee for more than 30 years, some of them as Area secretary; he was also West London group secretary for many years He has moved to Suffolk, although he still spends a lot of time in west London.
Tom is one of those tireless, dedicated workers, who always tells it how it is and is constructively critical. He is incredibly hard-working and was an excellent member of the committee who diligently passed on the views of members to whom he spoke on walks: it is important to hear from members. We are all sorry to see him go.