Ruislip Manor – Ruislip Lido Walk – 01.04.2013

Arriving at Ruislip Manor, we were anticipating a large stately house to home into view, but this was not the case, instead we were greeted by a brightly coloured parade of shops. Our walk was to take us alongside Ruislip Manor Underground Station, onto the High Street and then into Pembroke Road, leading us to the village of Ruislip. Unfortunately, we had arrived when roadworks were taking place at the junction of Ruislip Station, normally this would not trouble walkers, but in this instance it did :-(, as it was a bit difficult to cross the road! However, once we had successfully crossed over, we were on the high street. At the top end of the road the buildings seem to no longer seem to be the usual modern shops but they were much older in character. I was particularly struck by an old water pump that stood outside one of them. The water pump was originally sited in the central roadway, but in the 1970’s, as a result of increased traffic it was moved to it’s new location.

Walking a bit further along, I was rather taken by a small wooden archway, which seemed to belong to the local Parish Church. Taking a walk under the arch, I was able to see the Church of St Martin’s. The church has a long history, although the outside flint walls date back the C13th, some Roman tiles have also been found there! The village of Ruislip is listed in the Domesday Book when a priest is known to have held over 40-60 acres of land, possibly relating to St Martin’s Church. The Church has been altered throughout the years, during 1870, a large restoration project was carried out on the building by Sir Gilbert Scott and Ewan Christian. Both of these notable architects had been behind large developments such as the Grand Midland Hotel / St Pancras Station and National Portrait Gallery. The Church resides near a few other older buildings, all of which would have formed the original core of the Ruislip’s village square.

From 2013 – 01.04.2013 – Ruislip Manor Walk – Ruislip Lido Walk

We crossed over from the old Village, and found the “Manor Farm Heritage Site”. Just to the side of site was a large duck pond, throughout the C16th the pool was more commonly known as the “Horse Pond”. A blacksmiths, which has long since gone, once stood nearby making the pond a hive of activity, the smithy often collecting water to cool the furnace. Horses were often brought to the pond to be washed down and to drink, I can imagine the whole place would be have been buzzing with activity with the toing and froing from the blacksmiths! This is so different from the “Horse Pond” we had found in Hampstead. These days the pond is very serene in comparison! Beyond the pond we stumbled upon the sign for the “Motte & Bailey Site”. Ruislip had it’s very own Castle, courtesy of the Normans, built in C11th, probably as a town fortification. Although the structure would been created out of wood rather than stone, a little different from other Castles I have encountered. It was not mentioned in the Domesday book, so I am not sure how long the “Motte & Bailey” actually lasted, but the site where it used to stand is still quite evident.

I turned away from the missing castle to spot a set of wooden buildings which seemed to be still in use. The first one was known as “Little Barn”, which was alongside the “Great Barn”, both of which were built in the C16th, to store crops and produce when they were part of Manor Farm. The smaller structure was converted into Ruislip’s public library at the beginning of the C20th, what a change in usage! On the other side from the barns, we could see a piece of public art that had been installed above the small stream. It is simple artwork of pieces of Willow which have been crafted around clay pots representing flowing water and earth together, hence the Anglo Saxon title “Ea Eard”, which means exactly that. Around the corner from the stream we discovered Ruislip Manor House, the one we had been expecting to find when we first arrived.

From 2013 – 01.04.2013 – Ruislip Manor Walk – Ruislip Lido Walk

This great house was constructed at the beginning of the C16th, although at first glance I could see that the house has been radically altered over time. This is particularly noticeable with the C18th Sash windows, but nonetheless an impressive site. This was not a nobles home, as I thought, but it was built by Kings College Cambridge. When the College felt that they required more comfortable surroundings for there visiting dignitaries to stay, they commissioned for a manor to be constructed for them. Not only did the college use the site for dignitaries, but they used the site for the college farm. The house was also used for some sort of manorial court, sessions were held here right up until the C20th. Just beyond the House, we joined a small footpath, taking us past something looking like a huge bunch of brambles. In fact this was known as the “Ditch and Bank”, which had been the “Saxon” boundary of the village of Ruislip. Prehistoric Flint tools and clay pottery have been discovered here when excavations were carried out, showing that the area of Ruislip has been populated for a very long time!

The pathway led us out onto a “Flood Meadow” of the River Pinn, which was not overly muddy or flooded whilst when we encountered it :-). As we reached the small river, we discovered that we could have joined another trail known as the “Celadine Route”. The path would have taken us along the river Pinn, but we decided to save that path for another day :-). At this point we took to the pavement, passing by the “Hillingdon Trail”, but again we left the footpath for another walk! Our route had eventually brought us to round to “Ruislip Lido”, whose blue waters really were sparkling in the spring sunshine :-). It did not resemble the lido’s that we had stumbled on in our previous walks, like Barking and at Margate which had been neglected and no longer used. The Lido itself did not look like a traditional looking lido that I would have expected, but this is due to the Lido being created from the “Ruislip reservoir” as a means of Water Supply in C19th. Therefore, it was its original intention was nothing to do with leisure facilities. However, the lake was never used as a water supply and instead attracted many day trippers and wildlife alike, by the early C20th the Grand Union Junction Canal Company, reopened the lake as “Ruislip Lido”.

From 2013 – 01.04.2013 – Ruislip Manor Walk – Ruislip Lido Walk

As we turned the corner we came across an enormous building, which incorporated the “Ruislip Woodlands Centre” and the “Waters Edge Pub”. At first I thought that the building had been there for quite a number of years, but I was mistaken, as the pub had been built to replace the original Art Deco cafe built here in the 1930’s. Unfortunately the cafe was burnt down quite a number of years ago, shame it would have been a lovely sight to behold I would imagine! We did not stop for a drink to discover if it served a decent tipple or two! Therefore, we carried on our walk, whereby we discovered a electric locomotive. The lido railway has been in existence since the mid C20th, when it was built as part of the many attractions of the newly opened Lido. The line only seemed to suffer during the mid 70’s when it was sadly shut down, it seemed to be part of the Lido’s own decline. A keen bunch of Volunteers formed the “Ruislip Railway Society Limited”, who since that time have bought new engines and have extended the line to double it’s original size!

Our walk was to partial follow the Lido Rail line, through the open woodland areas. It was not long before we caught up with the first rail platform “Haste Hill”, although it seemed to be permanently closed. It did feel quite strange to stumble on what felt like an abandoned platform on a miniature railway! From open scrub land, the path suddenly became enclosed by trees, but it was not all that bad as the darkness was broken up by the sunlight shining through the branches. Trees were still quite bare and there were still plenty of brown leaves strewn on the ground, which made the walk have an autumnal feel rather than spring. However, we were able to gaze over the lake through a convenient gap in the wood and the warmth of the sunshine soon reminded us that it was definitely spring! High up on one of the trees was a a sign “Julierpass”, which seems to refer to a Swiss Mountain passing place, I am not sure why the Ruislip Lido Railway Passing Place has the same name?? It was not long before we reached the end of the line and quite a few construction works as the station is currently under renovation as is the whole area, but it was still very busy as we had reached the piece-De-resistance of the lido, the beach.

From 2013 – 01.04.2013 – Ruislip Manor Walk – Ruislip Lido Walk

On a lovely sunny spring afternoon, it was so nice to be able to walk on the beach next to still waters of the reservoir. I really did want to feel like I was on holiday, therefore I was not surprised to learn that Cliff Richard’s film “Summer Holiday” was filmed here. With the reservoir so calm, I can see that people would have been keen to boat on the lake, but in 1958, a ship sunk here! This was the Titanic, when they filmed “Night to Remember”. Apart from Boating, it seems that Water skiing was popular on the Lido, in the Movie, “The Knack” in 1965, with Charlotte Rampling and Jacqueline Bissett used the reservoir for water skiing stunts in part of the film! A Ruislip Water skiing Club exists today and was founded by the Dr Who actor Jon Pertwee! Strolling amongst the sand with a hot drink, it really was wonderful. I had a glimpse into why the Lido was so popular all those years ago on such a warm day!

We wandered further around the lake to the other side to complete the walk around. It was here we decided to leave the lido behind and walk back into Ruislip, following the roadway. We eventually crossed over another part of the River Pinn, which seemed to wind it’s way lazily through the woodland. We eventually reached the northern end of Ruislip where I spotted “The Duck House” Inn, which is the oldest in tavern in Ruislip, which was built in C17th. However, we were unable to stop for a drink 😦 as it was here we ended our walk, so we could go back home for spot of lunch.

For all the afternoon walk photos, please click on the photo below –

2013 – 01.04.2013 – Ruislip Manor Walk – Ruislip Lido Walk

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One response to “Ruislip Manor – Ruislip Lido Walk – 01.04.2013

  1. Pingback: Thames Path – Henley On Thames – Marlow – 26.04.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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