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Park of the Month - June 2023
Horsenden Hill
 

Horsenden Hill is the largest single nature conservation hub in the London Borough of Ealing, covering 100 hectares. Located in Perivale the site comprises meadows, wetland and woodland habitat, and is teeming with wildlife. Horsenden Farm serves as a lively hub, much loved by the many volunteers and visitors to the Hill.

Photo: Ben Finch (www.photosbyfinch.co.uk)

Photo: EPF

About the park

 

Whether your passion is wildlife, walking, playing, eating, drinking, relaxing, volunteering – or a combination of the above – there really is something for everyone at Horsenden Hill.

What’s on in June

Saturday 3rd June – conservation volunteering session, and Perivale Brewery Tap Day

Saturday 17th June – Meadow Magic guided walk

See https://www.horsenden.co.uk/events/ for full details of these and all upcoming events.

 

Horsenden Hill is the finest and largest (around 100 hectares) single-site nature reserve in Ealing in terms of biodiversity. The hill is the highest point in Ealing at 85 metres and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (Iron Age Settlement).

 

The site is divided into three distinctive sections:

  • Horsenden Hill East contains large areas of woodland, with smaller patches of grassland which are managed by grazing the fields with cattle. There are amazing views from the summit which, at 85 metres above sea level, is the highest point in Ealing.

Photo: EPF

Photo: Ben Finch (www.photosbyfinch.co.uk)

Photo: EPF

  • Horsenden Hill West is separated from Horsenden Hill East by Horsenden Lane North. It is bordered by the Grand Union Canal to the south. It contains a mosaic of wildflower meadows, hedgerows and ponds. A team of volunteers is currently carrying out conservation work in Rohais Woods, including the excavation of a house and gardens, under the guidance of Ealing Park Ranger, Jon Staples.

Photo: EPF

Photo: LAGER Can

Photo: Lynda O'Hare

Photo: EPF

Photo: Sally Dalzell

  • Paradise Fields lies to the south of the Grand Union Canal. It comprises scrapes, reed beds and lagoons, offering a peaceful haven for wildlife. The planned reintroduction of beavers into the Paradise Fields wetlands is generating a great deal of interest and excitement, both locally and nationally. This Ealing Beaver Project is a collaboration between Ealing Wildlife Group, Ealing Council, Citizen Zoo, and Friends of Horsenden Hill, all supported by the experts at the Beaver Trust with rewilding funding from the Mayor of London.

Habitats include ancient woodland, London’s Coronation Meadows, secondary woodland, and numerous ponds, most of which contain the protected great crested newt. The Hill has wonderful wildflower meadows, 39 years in the making, from which seed has been taken to start new meadows elsewhere. The hill’s flora includes Dyer’s greenweed (rare in London), bluebells, wood anemones, the rare wild service tree, cowslips, vast quantities of knapweed, and around a dozen different grasses. The fauna includes breeding little owls, kestrels, sparrowhawks and probably tawny owls – these point to a healthy small mammal and bird population. Common buzzards and red kites are regularly seen. Foxes are common, and weasels, badgers and muntjac deer are seen occasionally. Roe deer slots (hoof prints) have been found. A wide range of insects abound on the site and the 26 species of butterflies found on the site are monitored weekly by volunteers.

Photo: EPF

Photo: Sally Dalzell

Photo: Martin Smith

Photo: Martin Smith

Photo: Ben Finch (www.photosbyfinch.co.uk)

Horsenden Hill is a Grade I Site for Nature Conservation and awaits Local Nature Reserve status.

 

Horsenden Farm

Horsenden Farm is the beating heart of Horsenden Hill, a busy hub with cows, goats, pigs and geese - all used in a conservation role. Numerous small businesses are to be found at Horsenden Farm including Solas Complementary Therapies; Bead Sew Crafty, providing therapeutic workshops for people with learning disabilities and additional needs; Mind Food, providing people with relief from stress and anxiety through horticulture. Horsenden Loaf produces delicious baked goods and great coffee, and Perivale Brewery produces an impressive range of craft beers, using local produce for flavouring. Also based at Horsenden Farm are an upholsterer, a beekeeper and a carpenter. The Gruffalo Trail which starts at Horsenden Farm is a big draw for families with children. The Sensory Garden is a place for quiet relaxation. There is a children’s play area, complete with a pirate ship, between the farm and the canal. Events with food, activities and live music are held at Horsenden Farm throughout the year.

Photo: EPF

Photo: Perivale Brewery

Photo: Ben Finch (www.photosbyfinch.co.uk)

Photo: EPF

Photo: EPF

Photo: Friends of Horsenden Hill

Of great interest to naturalists and families with children is the harvest mouse breeding programme being carried out at the farm in association with Ealing Wildlife Group, Calderglen Country Park Zoo, Battersea Children’s Zoo and New Forest Wildlife Park. The young mice are cared for by volunteer “Mousewives” (and a “Mousehusband!”) before being released into the wild within the meadows.

Photo: EPF

Photo: EPF

Photo: EPF

Photo: EPF

Photo: EPF

Photo: Justin Luria

Photo: EPF

Photo: Martin Smith

More details

 

Horsenden Hill and Horsenden Farm are managed by dedicated Ealing Council Park Rangers and the very active Friends of Horsenden Hill  (https://www.horsenden.co.uk). They organise events during the year, manage the growing areas producing fresh fruit and vegetables in season, run courses in hedge laying and other country crafts, carry out conservation tasks across the site, and organise regular nature walks on the site. Visit the Friends’ website for full details of activities and events taking place.

Photo: Phil Leiwy

Photo: Penny Ritchie

Photo: Martin Smith

How to get there

 

By tube: Perivale (Central line, 12-minute walk); Sudbury Town (Piccadilly Line, 25-30 minute walk).

 

By bus: 92, 204,487, 297,H17

 

By foot/cycle: Horsenden Farm and Hill can be reached via the Grand Union Canal towpath, and Section 9 of the Capital Ring.

 

By boat: There is normally public mooring space available by Ballot Box Bridge, for those by boat from the Grand Union Canal.

 

By car:

There are car parks at:

  • Horsenden Farm, Horsenden Lane North, Greenford UB6 7PQ;

  • Opposite the Ballot Box pub, Horsenden Lane North, Greenford UB6 7QL;

  • Berkeley Avenue, Greenford, UB6 0NZ;

  • Westway Cross Shopping Park (entrance across the road from Costa, Unit 14, UB6 0UW), with on-street parking on Greenford Road (check conditions which apply to both).

 

Toilets, including an accessible toilet and baby changing facilities, are located at Horsenden Farm.

 

Horsenden Farm is wheelchair accessible.

Ealing Parks Foundation would like to thank Martin Smith, Chair of the Friends of Horsenden Hill and former Senior Ealing Parks Ranger, for extensive input into this article.

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