73 – Ruislip Woods and Lido 7.8 miles – 19th July

In short: a lovely shady wooded walk centred on Ruislip Lido – a place I’ve long been curious to see. Forecast 30’C never materialised – so tree shade used to shelter from drizzle – and Lido slightly disappointing as really just a sandy play area beside a huge lake. Probably lovelier in the sunshine! Clean functional if unappealing public toilets, pleasant cafe for pitstop. 2hrs 50 mins walking + 25 mins pitstop.

Ruislip Lido is one of those places that has been on my radar to visit for a few years now so, finding a shady-seeming walk in the AA London Walks book I suggested it for today, given the forecast was hot and sunny. Unfortunately the promised heat didn’t materialise but the walk is interesting whatever the weather. We park at Young Wood car park off Ducks Hill Road, as suggested – hard to find a postcode for this but we use HA4 7TP and continue a bit further along Ducks Hill Road till we come to the car park which is relatively easy to spot. It takes around 50 minutes from Muswell Hill.

We enter the woods on a path out of the car park which heads south, parallel to the road which we have just driven up. This brings us to a broader path running right to left and we turn left here towards the road. We go through a gate, cross the road, and initially have some difficulty finding the footpath signposted ‘Hillingdon Trail’ – squeezing ourselves past a locked gate and onto a path through the woods. It soon transpires that we should have turned left at the road as the path we want is over to our left.

We continue along this path until we reach a post, at which point we are due to turn left and uphill but here we take a detour to the Lido itself to make use of the facilities. So we turn right and head downhill through the trees, bearing left to join a more substantial path towards an open area and right towards the buildings near the Lido.

We find some toilets at the ‘railway station’, which are clean and fine to use, then make the mistake of trying to cut back to our path through the car park here but we realise there is no way through and so end up retracing our steps. We stick to the main path (Hillingdon Trail) and make our way back to the post where we now turn right to head uphill through the trees and resume the published walk.

The woods are undeniably lovely – despite the gloomy mizzle that is enveloping us – lush and green with much bracken and undergrowth all around. At a T junction we turn right and then almost immediately left onto a narrowing path which now heads downhill. We cross a brook and turn right and immediately left again at the next T-junction.

Broadly speaking we have headed due North since the post and eventually reach the far perimeter of the wood where we turn right to follow a path with the backs of houses and gardens on our left.

On reaching a road on our left we turn right and head back into the woods. After a couple of minutes we turn left at a junction and walk along a path that winds along the edge of the woods to a kissing gate.

Here we take the path to the left of the gate, left at a second gate and then cross a brook to reach a golf course. We turn right onto a narrow path that skirts the edge of a golf course, following it across a couple of small brooks and hugging the edge of the woods on our right.

After a while the path heads right into Park Wood and after a few minutes we can see the miniature railway track on the other side of a wire fence to our right.

At this point we are on the walk extension through Park Wood and out towards the river Pinn, however we inadvertently take the wrong path – heading left uphill through the trees shortly after seeing the miniature railway line. On this path we find ourselves once again tracking the edge of the golf course and effectively walking the far east perimeter of Park Wood. We stick with this for quite some time until we arrive at a road, Park Avenue which we join to then turn left onto Elmbridge Drive.

This road bends right and then just before a bridge we join a footpath on our right and head across the meadows beside the River Pinn.

We stay on this footpath all the way to the next road, Saint Martins Approach where we turn right, then left onto Park Avenue, right onto Sherwood Avenue and across Broadwood Avenue to re-enter Park Wood at a metal gate ahead.

We bear right at a fork and then keep ahead ignoring all paths off right and left. From here we can hear the noises of the Lido and children playing there – no doubt much louder on a sunny day! – and we follow our noses (and ears!) to find ourselves on a path past the ticket office of the miniature railway to the Lido itself.

Here we head for the cafe by the beach and enjoy a filling sandwich and decent coffee before making use of the functional public toilets.

We continue from here along the edge of the Lido towards the Waters Edge pub and from there rejoin the path we used after visiting the toilets earlier – the Hillingdon Trail.

At the marker post we continue straight on to reach Ducks Hill Road which we cross to more or less retrace our steps to the car park – albeit this time taking a different path off right to reach it.

I have to be honest – this isn’t my favourite walk – but my opinion has definitely been coloured by the combination of the weather and then my crazy satnav which sent me home via the lovely A40/A406 junction, yuck. If I lived closer I would make good use of the woods but the Lido itself was a little underwhelming.


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