Hanger Hill Park and Fox Wood -
August Park of the Month
Hanger Hill Park
Our Park of the Month for August comprises two very different areas adjacent to each other Hanger Hill Park and Fox Wood. Together the combination makes for a very different way to spend your time in an Ealing Park. Fox Lane is a country lane winding between the formal Hanger Hill Park and the wild mysterious Fox Wood Nature Reserve. On one side you are in an enchanted woodland surrounded by nature, in the other you have playgrounds, Foot-Golf, lovely views and lots of space to enjoy yourself.
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Hanger Hill Park together with Fox Wood is one of the highest points in Ealing with some stunning views. The unusual name comes from 'Hangra', meaning a wooded slope in Old English. In 1905 Ealing Town Council acquired the land which was part of a former private estate and by 1907 the new park was fenced with iron railings and had entrance gates, paths formed, seats provided and shrubbery borders completed. The Council's review of 1907 reported that 'many people have taken advantage of the glorious view to be obtained from this, one of the highest points in Ealing.
Today Hanger Hill Park is a well maintained Park - still with excellent views. It has an intereresting spread of trees due to soil conditions that include Golden Large, Brewer Spruce and Giant Redwood as well as native Oak trees. It also has a very good children’s playground suitable for all ages; a small outdoor gym; a Golf-Football pitch with a pavilion selling cold drinks and ices: a GetActive Trail - and lots of room to picnic, play and enjoy!
To the west of the Park across Fox Lane is the Fox Wood Nature Reserve, a remnant of ancient woodland that was later part of the site of Fox or Foxes Reservoir. When the reservoir opened in 1888 the site was closed to the public and the woodland allowed to grow undisturbed. Built for Grand Junction Waterworks with a capacity of 50m gallons of water, Fox Reservoir was created on the site of Mount Castle, said to have been an Elizabethan watch tower.
Most people think Fox Wood is named after our furry friends who are often seen there, in fact it was named after Edwin G Fox, Chairman of the Grand Junction Waterworks Company who officiated at the opening ceremony. It was later taken over by the Metropolitan Water Board. The reservoir was drained in 1943 to prevent it being used as a navigational aid by nocturnal bombers in WWII, and in 1949 the reservoir land was purchased for public open space by Ealing Council.In 1983 the London Wildlife Trust was given permission to manage Fox Wood and the meadow as a site for conservation, and it was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1991. There are wood anemones here as well as other woodland flowers such as wood avens, garlic mustard and lesser celandine
The adjacent playing fields were created when the remaining basin was filled in between in the early 70s and has been home to the Acton Ealing Whistlers Youth Football Club since 2000 and also the Wildcats Girls Football Club.
How to find Hanger Hill Park and Fox Wood - Hillcrest Road, Ealing W5 1HW
Directions (by Public Transport)
The nearest tube stations are Hanger Lane (Central Line) and Park Royal (Piccadilly Line), both a 15 minute (uphill!) walk to the ground. You can also take a bus from Ealing Broadway (Central Line / District Line / Elizabeth Line).
Buses 112 and 483 run between Hanger Lane station and Ealing Broadway via the A406 North Circular, stopping at Hillcrest Road. Fox Wood Nature Reserve is at the other end of Hillcrest Road.
Bus 226 also goes between Hanger Lane and Ealing Broadway, stopping on Birkdale Road. The short cycle path at the top of the hill leads straight up to Fox Wood Nature Reserve.
Directions (by car)
Hillcrest Road is about half a mile south from the Hanger Lane gyratory (A40 / North Circular). Head south up the hill towards Ealing. Hillcrest Road is on the right at the top of the hill. Hanger Hill Park and Fox Lane and Fox Wood Nature Reserve are on the right. From Ealing head up Hanger Lane and turn left at the traffic lights at Hillcrest Road. There is on-street parking at certain times with one hour restrictions in weekday mornings and afternoons (please check) and free at weekends,