And, by the pipes of Pan, was it worth the wait. Leg five of our intrepid circumnavigation of London could only be described as ‘lovely’, even if you got both Gyles Brandreth AND Stephen Fry on the case, they would find no more appropriate word.
The first two-thirds of the route are in the aqueous company of the Grand Union Canal. Starting in Uxbridge, where chap and chav coexist in seeming harmony with business parks and clinical trial specialists, the canal strikes north past several larger bodies of water. Be sure to stop at Denham Llock to visit Fran’s tea garden. She has both a canal and a river under her auspices, punctuated with dove cote, terrapin and a fearsome bust of Beethoven staring at a table full of second-hand books.
Then water, water everywhere for many a mile, before the welcome drop to drink arrives at the historic Coy Carp pub (legend has it that the copper for St Paul’s dome was beaten here).
Post-pub the walk turns away from the canal and heads east through farm land and occasional woods. All very agreeable apart from the frequent overgrowth of nettles. Make sure you don’t do this stretch in sandals and shorts.
We conclude in Moor Park, surely the most affluent stop on the network. This place is too posh for pavements and the typical house has four cars in the drive (well, as much of the drive as we can see). One property even has a box hedge in the shape of 1 Canada Square. It’s a very different world from the cramped Met line home, full of chanting Chelsea fans.
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