Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley – 08.04.2012

Despite the clouds rolling in, we felt it was time to go back and invesitage Silver Jubilee Park where we had walked past a few months back… It may have been grey, but the view was still quite a sight to behold, particularly as it was quite high. The park had some lovely grass slopes and it was quite tempting to roll down them! It was a shame that we did not have any decorated Easter Eggs or we could have done some “Easter Egg Rolling”, which is a tradition from “pace-egging” from the old English “Pasch” meaning “Passover”. I should have been more prepared!!

From 2012 – 08.04.2012 – Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley

Instead of rolling down the slope I decided to run down it instead! From this point on we slowed down our pace so we could take in the sights and sounds of the park. I was beginning to discover that this park was larger than I had a originally envisaged, it seems the entrance we took from the Road near Kingsbury did not give away it’s true size. The reason I say this, is because of the amount of football pitches it seems to have in it! The “Kingsbury London Tigers” have a Football Ground here! I have to admit the football pitches may not be full size like Wembley Stadium but nevertheless it showed the park had lots of room ๐Ÿ™‚

Our walk took us out of Silver Jubilee park as we were on the hunt for the “Welsh Harp Nature Reserve”. I had thought the park and the Welsh Harp met up at some point, which I think they do, but we were not fortunate enough to discover that! We found ourselves walking along a very urban road and crossing the River Brent which would have lead us to our destination, but there was no obvious footpaths alongside it. As we were very unsure of our route, we took a diversion through a residential area, as we knew the reserve was located behind it. It was becoming frustrating as we still could not find a way in! Our little diversion was rewarded by seeing a beautiful painting that had been placed on one of the houses, reminding me of the St Ives Branch in Cornwall. If anyone could shed any light on who painted it would be appreciated!

From 2012 – 08.04.2012 – Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley

We eventually found our way down through Cool Oak Lane, unfortunately I am unable to discover why it has this name. I have discovered that this was also known as “Wood Lane” and during the 1850’s it seems there was a monastery, known as “the Hyde”, that was located here, and was the London home of the “Passionists”. As we strolled down the lane, we eventually found a public footpath by the Welsh Harp. The footpath took us behind peoples gardens. It was a strange experience to see back gardens on one side and the Welsh Harp reservoir on the other, I was not sure where the path was going to lead us.

As we trudged on through the muddy path, I found a wooden bridge. Well I thought it was a wooden bridge, in fact it was a wooden ramp to a “bird hide”. This hide was donated to the Welsh Harp to enable bird watching on the “Eastern Marsh”. In fact this Hide was opened on 2nd February 1991 by Bill Oddie ๐Ÿ™‚ The birdlife is so nice in this reservoir as we spotted a Swan was nesting! We followed the path around the lake, which became increasingly difficult to walk. We had a originally thought that the path would have taken us around the entire reservoir but sadly the path comes to an end. In fact it just ends at a locked gate. We had to turn to back, to Cool Oak Lane.

We had to walk down the lane slightly and over the bridge over the reservoir and found another entrance to the Welsh Harp Open Space. This path was very different to what we had just experienced. In fact this was part of the Capital Ring walk. I had come across the ring before on the other side of London. We were able to stop and look at the Swans that were swimming near the shore a lot more easily on this path ๐Ÿ™‚

From 2012 – 08.04.2012 – Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley

As we continued on it looked like the harp had been used for Swimming? However due to the growth of dangerous Algae this could not happen anymore :-(. Although I did not capture many in my photos, the lake was very popular with boats. In fact there we walked past a canoeing club that was on the shore! I was not a big surprise to me to find out that this stretch of water was used during the 1948 Olympics to host the rowing events! Very different from the Lee Valley Park which is being used for the 2012 Olympics!

Our walk had come to end at the reservoir, but not before I had been able to find out some of it’s history. It had been built in the early 19th Century and was originally developed to feed the developing Canal System, after the Reservoirs at Ruislip Lido and Aldenham were no longer able maintain the levels required. This reservoir specifically fed the Paddington branch of the Grand Union Canal. There is seems to be conflict in name as the reservoir is really the “Brent Reservoir”, as it is fed from the River Brent, the name “Welsh Harp” came from a nearby famous coaching inn.

The “Old Welsh Harp Inn”, was purchased in 1859 by the enterprising William Perkins Warner. He purchased the fishing rights to the lakes, rebuilt the inn to make it bigger and better than the original. The Inn housed a dining hall for about 300 people, a 500 seater music hall and a museum of birds and beasts! The grounds included a Bowling green and shooting enclosure no less! In 1862 the adjacent farmland was used for a 2 day Steeplechase festival The resort was so popular Victorian Naturalists that used to visit the reservoir, that it had it’s own Station! Sadly this was shut in 1903 when the area became urbanised and day trippers were in the decline. This is so difficult to imagine in 2012!

From 2012 – 08.04.2012 – Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley

We left the lake behind to start walking down Old Church Lane. It felt quite spooky as there was a cemetery along this part which was hidden amongst the trees. As I looked carefully there was a Church as I would have expected, but it was very small, I went to investigate. In fact this Church is “old” and it is not in use any more. Although we could not go in as you needed an appointment to visit, I have been assured it would have been worthwhile. Particularly as there are beautiful brasses and a lovely oak lectern, which W.E.Gladstone read at. W.E Gladstone was the Prime Minister of England four times during the late 19th Century. This little Church had been renovated quite a few times in it’s life, but sadly the Church became too small and was declared redundant in 1977.

We continued on our walk along Forty Lane towards Wembley and it was here I spotted a blue plaque to “Arthur Lucan”. No, this is no one related to Lord Lucan! This is Arthur Lucan who was an entertainer, who starred in the “Old Mother Riley” films. He was part of a double act ‘Lucan and McShane’ and 1934 played in a Royal Command Performance!

We left the Lucan residence behind to reach Wembley Park Station and it was here we finished our walk…For all the afternoon walk photos please feel free to click here –

2012 – 08.04.2012 – Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley

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2 responses to “Silver Jubilee Park – Welsh Harp – Wembley – 08.04.2012

  1. Pingback: Kennington โ€“ Crystal Palace โ€“ 11.02.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Sudbury – Walthamstow Marshes – Via Capital Ring « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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