1) The walk starts in Harmondsworth village. (A) Facing the Five Bells pub, turn down Moor Lane to its left and follow the road as it bends to the right. (B) Cross a small humpback bridge over the Duke of Northumberland’s River (C) -Directions update due to access (not amended on the map) Continue on this road till you reach some bollards and then turn left onto Accomodation Lane. After 150 metres turn right through the kissing gate to the right of the car park entrance.
2) Follow this path straight on, then left and right to cross Pulpit Bridge over the River Colne. Turn left towards the ponds (signposted "Accommodation Lane"). After crossing the bridge, looking up the hill to your right, you will see the war memorial next to the bench. (D) Return to Pulpit Bridge and take the right hand fork, then turn right onto the boardwalk between the ponds and then left on another boardwalk. (E) Turn left at the end of the boardwalk and cross the stile on the right. Turn left, go through a gate, then turn right adjacent to another car park.
3) Continue along the path with Wraysbury River on the right. (F) Cross the second footbridge on the right as the path bends to the left.
4) Head to the left on the path following the motorway and make your way up the highest point of the moor on your right to arrive at a stone circle known as "The Prospect" and further north along the ridge to a landscape feature known as "The Keyhole". (G) After The Keyhole, continue around the hill, bearing left on a track towards the edge of the park and then down past some rejuvenated ponds near the M25. Follow this curving track until you reach a path junction. Continue ahead through the kissing gate and right across a bridge over Wraysbury River.
5) Continue ahead and just before reaching another bridge turn left through the kissing gate and right along the path, following the River Colne on your right until you reach a fork in the path. Take the left path to “The Rings”, (a superb collection of trees) and from there follow the path to the right, over the bridge towards Saxon Lake. 6) At the end of the lake turn right through a kissing gate and turn right onto a footpath. Go through a kissing gate into St Mary’s graveyard, crossing it diagonally towards the church. (H) Continue south along the churchyard path with the church on your right back to the Five Bells pub. (I)
Points of interest/history
A) A great deal of history lies here, including the 12th c. St. Mary’s church and the 15th c. Great Barn that John Betjeman called the Cathedral of Middlesex.
B) On your left, watch out for a memorial to Sir Barnes Wallis. Tests of his famous Bouncing Bomb were held by the Road Research Laboratory on a site here in the lead up to the attack in 1943 on the Ruhr dams in Germany by the RAF 617 Squadron immortalised in the film "The Dambusters".
C) The river is man-made, dug in the 16th c. to divert water from the River Colne to the River Crane in order to supply Isleworth Mill and feed the ornamental ponds in the grounds of the Duke's estate at Syon House.
D) Between this point and Pulpit Bridge is a War Memorial to the 7 crew members of a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax bomber which crashed here in 1944.
E) The park is a former gravel working and landfill site. In the late 1990s the pollutants were removed, and the site was extensively re-landscaped, planted with 70,000 trees. It is now managed for wildlife and public recreation. F) This river is one of the many braids of the River Colne, leaving it at West Drayton and re-joining it at Staines.
G) The Prospect is the highest point of the park. On a clear day you can see Harrow-on-the-Hill, Wembley Stadium, Windsor Castle, the North Downs and the tall buildings of central London. Both The Prospect and The Keyhole are constructed from sandstone blocks stored on this land for decades. They came from the old Waterloo Bridge in London that was demolished in 1935.
H) Under two yew trees just before the church is a large slab table gravestone marking the resting place of Richard Cox, a retired brewer and horticulturist of nearby Colnbrook, who first grew the famous apple cultivar Cox's Orange Pippin.
I) On your left, notice Sun House. Although much altered, it was built during the 16th c. and is the oldest residential property in Harmondsworth. It was a public house until 1912 and a butcher’s shop until much later. Remnants of the inn sign support may still be seen on the wall, and the hooks for carrying the joints of meat can be seen at the far end of the building.