Park of the Month - July 2023
Northolt Village & Belvue Park
For our July Park of the Month we have combined the ancient Northolt Village and adjacent Belvue Park. This quiet and magical area still has the look and feel of a rural area despite being surrounded by an urban landscape. It was the site of a medieval moated Manor House - Northolt Manor - which is situated beside St Mary's a 13C country church still set in its authentic surroundings.
Starting your visit at the Green featuring the Mandeville Clock Tower, erected 1937 in honour of the Coronation of King George Vl you can then take a short stroll down towards Northolt Village.
When you get to Northolt Village Green, you will find it crossed by a narrow brook and with a background of fine mature trees, providing an attractive setting for the few remaining old village buildings. There is also a village pub directly opposite the green.
Adjacent to the Northolt Village Greens and backing on to the medieval Northolt Manor site you will find Willow Cottages, two whitewashed cottages which date back to the early 1800set and are set in a pleasant garden, inhabited up until the 1930s they have been restored and are currently used for storing equipment.
If you continue up past the cottages and past a huge spreading tree with a circular seat surround, you come to the graveyard. Continuing slightly uphill you will find the beautiful St Mary’s which is one of the best surviving examples of a country church in Middlesex and unusually still in virtually its original surroundings. It is one of London's smallest churches, its nave measuring 15 yards (14 m) by 8 yards (7.3 m). The church was built around 1290 and was expanded over the centuries, with the chancel being added in 1521, the spired bell tower in the 16th century, and a gallery at the west end of the church in 1703. Ascending up the “mound” the church, churchyard and Belvue Park combine the illusion that this is still a rural settlement set in open countryside, despite being surrounded by suburban housing, industry, busy roads for miles around.
Of great historical interest there appears to have been a settlement at Northolt at least as early as the C8. Three burials and several dwellings of the early Saxon period have been found on and near the site later occupied by the medieval manor-house.
Follow a footpath to the right of the Church and you will come to the site of the moated Northolt Manor which is a listed Ancient Monument. Although no ruins remain there is a ground plan, laid out in timber, with interpretation boards showing the earthworks of the former moated house - sadly one of the interpretation boards has been destroyed.
The site and surroundings of Northolt Manor, including St Mary’s churchyard are classified as of Borough wide (Grade II) wildlife importance. It supports several valuable wildlife habitats including woodland, scrub, grassland and wetland around the ancient monument. The wetland area is particularly valuable with water at different levels in different parts of the site and a good range of aquatic and marginal plant species. Thread-leaved water-crowfoot and narrow- fruited water-cress are abundant in the water.
This charming and quiet area offers you a glimpse into the Northolt of old, with beautiful views, with the plan of the village broadly following the little stream that runs through it and with no formal street pattern, only the paved roads of what were once country tracks. Belvue Park is a wide open space, with St Mary's crowning the top of the hill, very much as one would have seen it hundreds of years ago. Pleasant walking, picnicking, with the added benefit of being close to busy bus routes and Northolt Station. For refreshments there is the village pub and a variety of cafes and food outlets by Mandeville Green.
Ealing Council has put together a health walk which also incorporates Islip Manor Park (see our Park of the Month - February 2022 for more information).
An easy walk linking Islip Manor Park, Northolt Village and Belvue Park.
Start and finish: Clock Tower, Mandeville Rd, Northolt Village
Distance: 1.9 miles/3.1 kilometres
Facilities: The Crown and The Plough public houses, café and restaurants on main road in Northolt Village
Accessibility: This walk is not suitable for wheelchairs
Turn left down Mandeville Road and cross at the crossing in front of the petrol station. Turn left up Eastcote Lane. Turn left into Islip Manor Park. Take the left fork of the path and continue straight ahead. At the crossroads turn right and follow the path, passing a multi-use games area and bowling green on your right. Follow the path around the edge of the park, passing an exit on your right. At the junction turn right and then turn left around the playground. Take the next right and continue straight on to leave the park by the gate onto Church Road. Turn right and cross over at the crossing in front of a parade of shops. Turn left, then right down Church Road. Cross Ealing Road at the pedestrian crossing. Ahead you will see Northolt Village and St Mary's Church, where cream teas are sometimes served in the summer. There are gardens opposite the Crown where you can enjoy a rest. Turn right along Ealing Road. The pavement goes through the edge of Belvue Park. At the cul-de-sac at the end, turn left up Rowdell Road in front of Belvue Park. In dry weather you can walk along on the grass inside the rails instead of on the pavement. You will pass Belvue School on your right then, opposite the entrance to the football club and the mosque, turn left uphill to cross the park on a new sandy path, heading towards the church and line of trees at the top. Follow the path round and across a wooden bridge to come out on Court Farm Road. Turn left to Ealing Road, then right to the start .
Bus 90, 120, 140, 282, 396, E10
Parking: Limited in surrounding streets