November Park of the Month
The name Pitshanger was first recorded in 1493 and is believed to refer to a wooded slope frequented by hawks or kites. The Manor of Pitshanger originally covered an area stretching from Hanger Hill to Mattock Lane in Ealing. The old manor house, usually referred to as Pitshanger Farmhouse (for a while called Pitch Hanger Farm), had stood near the centre of the modern Meadvale Road, but was demolished in 1908.
Ealing Town Council acquired land for the public park in January and April 1905, adding further land in 1913. By 1914 this was laid out with a bowling green, tennis courts, cricket pitches, a perimeter path planted with horse chestnuts, and other paths leading to the entrance off Pitshanger Lane. In 1976 Pitshanger Park became part of the Brent River Park following proposals by the Brent River and Canal Society, (established 1973) to set up a linear park and improve the Brent Valley river corridor.
Country Lanes & Ancient Church
If you wander through some of Pitshanger Park’s narrow tree fringed lanes, you get the feeling of being in the countryside. This feeling is enhanced when you come to St Mary's a 12th- or 13th-century perfect little country church set in a lovely churchyard, looking across green open spaces. The church is built of ragstone and flint, and its tower is unusual, being clad in white weatherboarding. It contains a chime of three bells, all cast in 1949 as a World War II memorial for the war dead of the community and small parish as a whole.
Grade 1 listed St Mary’s is now a re-used church building, during its religious lifetime dedicated to St Mary, in the London suburb of Perivale. It was the smallest of Anglican churches in the dissolved county of Middlesex, excluding the City of London. Now run by the Friends of St Mary’s, it is an arts centre, holding local exhibitions and regular performances of classical music which are also available on You Tube/ Vimeo.
Something for Everyone
Pitshanger Park is truly a park with something for everyone. From the large areas for playing and picnicking, to walking along the banks of the River Brent which flows around the Park. It is well used and cared for – including LAGER Can volunteers who regularly litter pick to supplement the Council’s waste bin collections.
The Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. There are many old trees along the river’s course plus some high-quality grasslands and important woodlands. Most of the open space in the park is mown grass, but the trees, hedgerows, ditches, wildflower areas and golf course roughs all retain wildlife interest.
Some of the key notable species within the whole of the Brent River Park are bats, kingfishers, native black poplar, orchids and adder’s tongue fern.
Ealing Wildlife Group, in association with ZSL London Zoo, have recently launched a Hedgehog Highways project – stage one has been to install cameras to monitor activity for 2 weeks in October 22, at various Ealing locations. Happily, at least one hedgehog was spotted in Pitshanger Park during the survey period.
The paths are wide and accessible and can be accessed from a small public car park as well as entrances via other gates.
There are very good sports facilities in the Park including a sports centre which provides the local community with high quality floodlit ‘pay & play’ tennis/netball courts, a fabulous 3G 5-a-side football pitch.
Plus lots of space throughout the Park for impromptu ball games, kick arounds, jogging, cycling and a basketball practice area.
As you walk through the Park you will also see the private Ealing Golf Club which is also a wedding and event venue: https://www.ealinggolfclub.com
Last but not least there is free outdoor gym equipment throughout the Park. It is also home to Saturday Park Runners: https://www.facebook.com/pitshangerparksaturdayrunners/ weekend sports training/ matches, outdoor exercise groups and a Junior Park Run on Sundays.
Playgrounds & Playcentre
Pitshanger has excellent playgrounds for both younger and older children with a wide variety of fun and stimulating equipment.
There is also the Pitshanger Playcentre run by a local charity. It has a large well equipped outdoor area and an indoor space full of exciting activities aimed at Children aged 8 years and under: https://pitshangerplaycentre.co.uk
Pitshanger Park is also home to well-established allotments. You can peek through the wire fencing and admire the beautiful rows of vegetables, fruit and flowers. For more information:
No park with all these activities is complete without a cafe. The recently established (and personally checked out) Cafe Berry answers that need. For opening times see: https://www.facebook.com/cafeberrypitshanger/
Pitshanger Triangle Nature Area – a new park within a park
There are regular clean-ups of the Brent River so it is currently rubbish free and a lot of dead growth has been cut back. The Park Rangers are working on a number of projects including The Pitshanger Triangle Nature Area, (officially it's part of Pitshanger Park but has become a site in its own right), It is at the end of Pitshanger allotments between the golf course and the river and has an established community orchard, meadow and newly dug out wildlife pond. Do go and find it! It is being managed by two of Ealing’s ranger team and a large group of volunteer Notting Hill Girl School pupils.
Diary Dates - Tuesday November 8 2022, 10am -1pm
If you would like to get further involved in improving Pitshanger Triangle Nature Area there is a Ranger and CURB (Clean Up the River Brent) community task force on Tuesday November 8; we will be cutting back access on the bank to help invasive species control next year. It will also cover Perivale East Meadow and site a called Bee Keepers near by, so do feel free to turn up, make new friends and help!
Where is it?
Pitshanger Park is located in the Brent River Park and is designated as Metropolitan Open Land.
Bus: 95 on A40 (Western Avenue), 297, E2, E7 and E9 on Argyle Road
Tube: Perivale (Central Line) is a five-minute walk south down Horsenden Lane South and across the footbridge over the A40.
Parking: There is a car park at the end of Perivale Gardens. Car park locking applies - please refer to information at car park gates or to the park opening and closing times.
Bike/on foot: Access is from Bellevue Road, Scotch Common, Argyle Road, Perivale Lane and Meadvale Road. Footpaths and cycle paths connect to St Mary’s, Perivale and Gurnell.