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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

London Loop: Day 8: Donkey Wood to Uxbridge

The River Colne
The River Colne

I love walking along canals, and this walk is a delight for anyone who loves the gentle chug-chug of narrow boats. Not only that, it winds through a fascinating business park – fascinating if you don't work there, that is – and towards the end passes some very pretty lakes. I wasn't expecting it to be this interesting, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Anyone caught taking drugs in the park will be reported to the police

It's a brave new world...

The Union Canal

Bull's Bridge on the Grand Union canal
Bull's Bridge on the Union Canal

The noise from the M4 doesn't last long, but there's still a short suburban hop before the Loop starts enjoying itself again. When I wandered past the Crane pub after a strange roundabout loop along the edge of a field, the local wags were slumped along the fence, sucking on pints of Stella and cracking wise ones about whether I was lost; one can only assume they don't see many long-distance walkers round these parts, but that's a shame, because on the other side of a large roundabout is the Union Canal, and it's great for walking.

Business Suits

Stockley Park
Stockley Park is a very trippy place

To someone like me who's more used to the grit and pollution of central London, walking through Stockley Park is a revelation. I daresay that the novelty soon wears off, but I found the whole experience quite bizarre. There's a golf course beyond the manicured lawns, and spotless and completely empty roads lead to mirrored office blocks that occasionally spit out an office worker wearing the standard uniform of white shirt, black trousers and short hair. Three men were hacking the first tee to bits as I walked past, no doubt heading off to make or break a deal in the sci-fi landscape of future business, and I found the whole thing quite amazing. Perhaps I'm out of touch with modern office culture; whatever, Stockley Park really is something.

A coal tax marker by the Union Canal
A coal tax marker by the Union Canal