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Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal

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Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 22 Sep 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guidestar1 Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guidestar1 Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guidestar1 Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guidestar0 Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guide
Middlesex, Isleworth
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Osterley Park and the Grand Union Canal Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk starting from Osterley Park, one of the largest open spaces in the western suburbs of London. The walk will take you through a mixture of parkland, industrial landscapes, a beautiful section of the Grand Union Canal and then back through residential streets and arable farmland to reach the park once again.

The walk is relatively flat throughout with no significant inclines. There are no stiles and just a few kissing gates (one of which is quite tight!). The paths are a mixture of pavements, stone and gravel tracks and grass/dirt paths and some of the latter can be muddy and/or a little overgrown at some times of the year. Whilst some sections of the walk do follow roads, there are pavements so no road walking is required. There is one railway crossing (a crossing with no signals or barriers) so take particular care here. There are public toilets available in Osterley Park near the mansion. Approximate time 2 hours.

The walk starts from the Osterley Park car park which is managed by the National Trust. The car park is free to members and pay on entrance for non-members. Entrance to the grounds of Osterley Park is free. The car park is accessed from Jersey Road just north of the A4 in Isleworth. Approximate post code TW7 4RD. Osterley tube station is just a 10-15 minute walk from the start of the walk.

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Walk Sections

Start to Hare and Hounds
Start to Hare and Hounds

Start point: 51.4889 lat, -0.3476 long
End point: 51.4915 lat, -0.3396 long

Leave the Osterley Park car park past the payment booth and turn left along the main tree-lined access lane. You will pass the farm shop on the left. Shortly after the farm shop you will see a bungalow on the right hand side of the lane. Turn left opposite this bungalow to pass through a kissing gate onto a fenced footpath between fields.

At the end of the long straight section pass through a (very tight!) kissing gate and follow the fenced path as it turns right and then left. Soon the path will emerge out onto a small green. Keep ahead with the hedgeline running on the left. Cross over the stone vehicle track and pass through the gap in the railing on the opposite side. A few paces later bear left to join the narrow mud path and then keep left at the fork.

The path will emerge out to reach a T-junction with a road. Cross over with care and turn left for just a few paces and you will reach the Hare and Hounds pub on the right.

Hare and Hounds to Grand Union Canal
Hare and Hounds to Grand Union Canal

Start point: 51.4915 lat, -0.3396 long
End point: 51.5006 lat, -0.338 long

Continue along the pavement beyond the pub with the main road running to your left. Follow the road as it passes under the M4. Continue for a further 400 yards and you will see a tall brick wall and wooden gates on your left. Turn right opposite this and pass through a staggered metal railing to join a narrow fenced footpath with playing fields to the left.

At the end of the footpath, cross over the railway line with care and continue ahead on the opposite side. You will emerge out into an industrial estate. Go straight ahead along the road pavement passing industrial units on each side. If you glance through the gates of the Waterside Trading Centre you will be able to see a beautiful old red brick derelict chimney, a glimpse of the industrial heritage linked to the canal.

Cross over the canal via the road bridge and immediately afterwards turn right through a squeeze gap, then right again to go down the steps to reach the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.

Grand Union Canal to Three Bridges
Grand Union Canal to Three Bridges

Start point: 51.5006 lat, -0.338 long
End point: 51.5046 lat, -0.3553 long

Turn right along the towpath and pass under the bridge you just crossed. Continue ahead with the canal on your left.

This stretch of the Grand Union Canal was opened in 1794 to provide a shorter and quicker route between London and Birmingham. When the canal reached Braunston in 1805 it cut 60 miles off the shortest alternative route.

Soon you will come to Hanwell Locks, a set of six locks which raises the canal by more than 16 metres and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Further along you will pass under a road bridge but take time to stop here to appreciate this construction known as Three Bridges – a stack of three bridges. Long after the canal was built the Great Western and Brentford railway proposed a line connecting Brentford Dock with the mainline at Southall. They commissioned their foremost engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to survey where and how the railway should pass beneath the canal and the road, Windmill Lane. Three Bridges, completed in 1859, was the result. The railway runs along the bottom, the canal rests in a cast iron trough above while a cast iron bridge carries the road across the top.

Three Bridges to The Plough
Three Bridges to The Plough

Start point: 51.5046 lat, -0.3553 long
End point: 51.4955 lat, -0.366 long

Continue along the towpath and you will pass another lock, Number 91, and a little further ahead you will reach a white brick arch bridge over the canal. Pass under the white bridge and up the short brick slope. Swing hard right and through the fencing gap and turn right again to cross over the white bridge.

Keep right at the fork in the road to walk down Melbury Avenue. At the T-junction at the end turn left, and then at the mini-roundabout turn right. You will pass a row of shops on the right. Soon after, cross to the left hand side of the road using the zebra crossing. A short distance later you will reach the Plough Inn.

The Plough to Osterley Park
The Plough to Osterley Park

Start point: 51.4955 lat, -0.366 long
End point: 51.4936 lat, -0.355 long

Turn left immediately before the pub onto the enclosed footpath signed as ‘Leading to St Mary’s Avenue’. Cross over the residential road and continue ahead on the enclosed path opposite. Go ahead along the narrow footpath between arable fields.

At the far side of the field pass through the gate and cross over the road onto the pavement. Turn left along the pavement and follow the road as it swings right over the M4. Over to the left you will be able to see the giant arch of Wembley Stadium.

Continue along the pavement passing the gated entrance to Osterley Farm Park on the right. As you reach the metal barrier ahead, do NOT pass through this, instead turn right on the narrower tarmac lane past an information board to reach a wooden gate into Osterley Park.

Osterley Park to End
Osterley Park to End

Start point: 51.4936 lat, -0.355 long
End point: 51.4896 lat, -0.3492 long

Follow the tarmac lane and go through another open wooden gate to reach an avenue lined with very old chestnut trees. Continue ahead and further along the avenue becomes flanked with younger lime trees. Follow the path as it bends right, passing by the cafe and heading for Osterley House ahead. Follow the path as it swings left in front of the house.

The original building on this site was a manor house completed in 1576 for Sir Thomas Gresham. The current Osterley House was completed in the 1760s for Sir Francis Child and his brother Robert Child. The house, built by architect Robert Adam, is red brick with white stone details and is square with turrets on the four corners. One of its most striking details is the broad flight of steps flanked by eagles on columns. In the 2012 Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, the interior of Osterley Park mansion is used as a double for Wayne Manor.

Beyond the house keep left to follow the path as it runs alongside the lake on the right. Follow the path as it swings right at the end of the lake. You will pass a large willow tree on the right and an ice-cream kiosk on the left. Immediately afterwards turn left onto the footpath to reach the car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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