Author Topic: What a terrible walk!  (Read 1043 times)

fernman

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What a terrible walk!
« on: 18:49:10, 26/01/18 »
Has anyone set off to do a walk that turned out to be as bad as my one yesterday?

From an old leaflet I had, it was a 5.5 miles circuit in the Colne Valley in the green belt on the Middlesex/Buckinghamshire border, which is on the west side of the London conurbation. It looked promising as the area is a mix of small rivers, mature gravel pits and a canal, while the start was from Uxbridge which is very few miles from my home.

There was absolutely nowhere to park at all in the edge of the built up area, I drove around for half an hour seeing nothing but yellow lines and residents parking. The car park for a recreation ground had pay & display machines, 6.30 for a maximum time of 4 hours.

Plan 'B' was to drive to the southern end of my route, where I found a pull-in with room for 5 cars, full but someone was just leaving. This was by an attractive lake with rivers either side of it, but even though the air was filled with the distant roar of the M25 it turned out to be the only decent part of the walk, as twenty or so minutes later the path ended at a dismal road that I walked along to reach a canal. For a mile this was far from idyllic, with light industry along one side and office blocks along the other, while it was lined with really tatty-looking old houseboats and barges.

Leaving the canal I followed a minor road filled with traffic queuing for lights, and then there was half a mile along an A road. A public footpath passed through a young wood full of empty beer cans and other litter, before following the side of the motorway for nearly a mile. Mercifully this was out of sight behind an 8 ft wooden fence, but it was all too audible. Meanwhile, a fence the other side of the path hid a river from view. I also saw a very strange 'footpath' that I'll be writing about in a separate thread when I get the photos sorted out.

Next a half-mile track bordered by large properties led to the centre of the village of Iver, where crawling HGVs queued for a mini roundabout. I followed a suburban road and then cut through a council estate, where there was a serious fire behind one of the houses, a shed or something maybe, but I couldn't get close enough to see. It was no good me calling the fire brigade because I didn't know the names of the roads, so I told a woman who was by her car, but when I glanced back she was just standing there looking.

On the far side of the estate I climbed to a footbridge spanning the gridlocked 8-lane motorway. My instructions read, "walk along the track down to the canal" (an arm of the one I followed earlier), not mentioning that it passes a sewage works, by the entrance of which I had to literally climb over a makeshift barrier presumably intended to deter further flytipping beyond it. Little more than two miles to the south of me, planes were climbing steeply one after the other from Heathrow airport.

A real shock came after I had threaded a way through mounds of rubble and heaps of old tyres, for the expected bridge over the canal turned out to be nothing more than a pair of large pipes crossing the water. The alternative my map showed was to return past the sewage works and walk a path beside the motorway for a quarter of a mile, to reach a lane that headed to my starting point. The large lake whose boundary I followed was surrounded by a high steel fence.

Never before have I been so relieved to get back to my car! It is certain that I won't walk in this area again.

adalard

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #1 on: 19:10:36, 26/01/18 »
Blimey! That's certainly a "rich tapestry" of experiences, Fernman!


Thankfully, I haven't ever had a walk like that. It makes for quite an interesting TR, though - or could even be a blog post, especially with photos detailing all its horrors. A sort of ironic riposte to the usual blogs full of beautiful landscapes and nature in all its green glory!  ;D


Glad you got back okay.  O0  Some parts of your route sound like they were in quite unsavoury areas.  :-\

Tin

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #2 on: 19:13:32, 26/01/18 »
To be honest it sounds like the intro to a new Madmax film.

adalard

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #3 on: 19:23:35, 26/01/18 »
To be honest it sounds like the intro to a new Madmax film.


 ;D

Jonty1

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #4 on: 19:42:30, 26/01/18 »
Well 'nicked' I believe from a golfing forum .A bad days walk is better than a good day in work😀

gunwharfman

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #5 on: 20:23:37, 26/01/18 »
Reminds me of the film 'Elysium'. Everywhere on the planet laid bare by industry, the ordinary people having to live in this mess whilst the D. Trump's of this world live elsewhere, no rubbish in their world!

fernman

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #6 on: 20:49:57, 26/01/18 »
Some parts of your route sound like they were in quite unsavoury areas.  :-\

Especially when I got back to my car, I think I'd found the local cruising spot  :o

Below is the non-existent bridge over the canal shown on the map:

Dovegirl

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #7 on: 21:03:11, 26/01/18 »
Not the most scenic of walks!  I think semi-industrialised urban fringe areas do sometimes feel rather unsafe. Glad you were OK.

If I'm planning a route that includes roadwalking I find it helpful to go into Streetview to see how busy the road looks and whether there's a pavement. You can get a bit of an idea of the area but, of course, it's not till you get there that you find what it's really like.

Mel

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #8 on: 23:04:11, 26/01/18 »
Welcome to my world fernman.  Most of my lunchtime walks resemble that.  On the map, little patches of green space parkland.  The reality is burned out wheelie bins and motorbikes, not to mention the sallow-faced scruffbags walking down the street with their tinnies and rollups saying stuff like "eff yea, well I effing told him to eff off effing *anker"... shouted over the roar of the boy racers showing off round the estate.


Aye, sure makes you appreciate the beauty and solitude of the countryside, that's for sure  :D
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

maxmarengo

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #9 on: 13:42:19, 27/01/18 »
One of the many improvements that an App based approach offers over the old fashioned leaflet is that it is possible to update routes frequently. I aim to get all the walks we publish checked at least every couple of years. Once I have feedback that a walk needs to be changed I can update it on ViewRanger (in my case) and provided the user remembers to synchronise their device, they will have the latest version right away.

In case you want to try another walk in the Colne Valley, here is our option: http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MTE2MTIx

fernman

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #10 on: 16:07:12, 27/01/18 »
Thanks for that, Max, though I've walked a few variants of that route. Although Harefield is still in the London Borough of Hillingdon it is just a bit further north than where I walked on Thursday and the area is more unspoiled (although the route still passes a huge sewage works!)

I did say it was an old leaflet I was following! But even if I had made up a walk from footpaths on the map I would still have come unstuck at that non-existent bridge. The old route appears to have been replaced by Walk No.16 here: http://www.colnevalleypark.org.uk/short-walks-colne-valley-park
which seems to avoid all the nasty bits of road walking and following the motorway, but as it's only 4.5 miles long I'm unlikely to be tempted to try it.
« Last Edit: 16:10:28, 27/01/18 by fernman »

pdstsp

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #11 on: 13:59:03, 28/01/18 »
I do quite like some urban walking now and again but that just sounds unpleasant - I love the fact that on the map extract Beeches Way, which sound lovely, is sandwiched neatly between the M25 and a sewage works!

Deolman

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Re: What a terrible walk!
« Reply #12 on: 16:07:31, 31/01/18 »
One of the many improvements that an App based approach offers over the old fashioned leaflet is that it is possible to update routes frequently. I aim to get all the walks we publish checked at least every couple of years. Once I have feedback that a walk needs to be changed I can update it on ViewRanger (in my case) and provided the user remembers to synchronise their device, they will have the latest version right away


I did a Map Navigation course a couple of years ago and was surprised to find that even the most up to date OS maps can contain errors.  One of the examples we were shown was an old bungalow alongside a minor road that was not shown on the OS map but a large housing estate, built within the last few years behind the bungalow was shown (thus proving the map was an updated version) This was just one of a number of errors he pointed out just in the small area of Derbyshire where I did the course.