Yeading Valley in West London follows the course of the Yeading Brook, which rises in Pinner and meanders south for 25km to join the River Crane. The valley is so shallow that you are unlikely to notice it as you cross it on the A40, A312 or A4020. There are open spaces along its length, but the main sites of birding interest — all in the London Borough of Hillingdon — are Ickenham Marsh, Gutteridge Wood, Ten Acre Wood, Yeading Brook Meadows and Minet Country Park.
List of sites[edit | edit source]
Ickenham Marsh (Map:; OS grid reference TQ087852), Gutteridge Wood (Map:; OS grid reference TQ091842), Ten Acre Wood (Map:; OS grid reference TQ099838) and Yeading Brook Meadows (Map:; OS grid reference TQ103823) are all local nature reserves managed by the London Wildlife Trust. Gutteridge Wood, Ten Acre Wood and Yeading Brook Meadows have been designated as Sites of Metropolitan Importance and Ickenham Marsh is a site of borough importance. Minet CP (Map:; OS grid reference TQ111801) is owned by Hillingdon Borough Council and managed in partnership with A Rocha Living Waterways.
History[edit | edit source]
Ickenham Marsh was formerly a common meadow on which Ickenham householders were entitled to graze one horse or two cows. It remained open when other common fields were inclosed in 1780 and was eventually taken into ownership by a forerunner of Hillingdon council. It was still used for grazing cattle into the 1960s.
Gutteridge Wood (formerly Grutedge and before that Great Hedge) is hundreds of years old and is dominated by oak, with relict hazel beneath. Managed by London Wildlife Trust, it is being restored by coppicing, which results in beautiful displays of bluebells in Spring.
Ten Acre Wood is a 19th century plantation of oak over hazel coppice.
Yeading Brook Meadows was an area of flood meadow before the brook was canalised to reduce the risk of flooding.
Minet Country Park, which opened in 2003, is a 36-hectare (89-acre) park created on abandoned farmland that was originally part of the Coldharbour Estate, owned by the Minet family from 1766 to the mid-20th century.
Habitat[edit | edit source]
Ickenham Marsh is a low-lying site with a tall herb community, dominated by tussocks of soft rush and tufted hair grass close to the river. Water chickweed is also found here, together with other interesting plants such as large birdsfoot-trefoil, lesser skullcap, lady's smock and persicaria. An oak and ash woodland is developing on the higher ground. It contains hawthorn, blackthorn and elder, as well as young elm, with broad buckler and male ferns in the more shady places on the woodland floor.
Gutteridge Wood is an ancient oak-hazel coppice woodland.
Like Gutteridge Wood, Ten Acre Wood is dominated by oak, with relict hazel beneath. Coppicing has been reintroduced to rejuvenate the hazel and the ground flora. Hawthorn and blackthorn provide an abundance of berries for birds in autumn and winter.
Yeading Brook Meadows is a “green lung” open space dominated by wild flowers and grasses. After the 1939–45 war, two hollows were dug out to provide a children's paddling pool and a boating lake. But neither was developed and they have been colonised by some unusual plants, including grass vetchling, common spotted orchid, lady's smock, marsh woundwort and several sedges; yellow flag iris occurs in the southern hollow and narrow-leaved water-dropwort may be seen in the north hollow.
Minet Country Park offers a mosaic of habitats, connected by a network of hedges, waterways and grassland corridors.
Species[edit | edit source]
Information needed, please
Information needed, please
Yeading Brook Meadows hosts an array of insect life, including Roesel’s bush-cricket, shield bugs, skipper butterflies and five-spotted burnet moths.
Practicalities[edit | edit source]
Ickenham Marsh is accessed from the junction of Glebe Avenue and Austin's Lane, Ickenham, UB10. The nearest tube stations are Ickenham, Hillingdon and Ruislip Gardens. Bus U2 will take you to the junction of Swakeleys Road and Austin’s Lane.
To reach Gutteridge Wood, take the footpath from Lynhurst Crescent, opposite Berkley Road, North Hillingdon. It can also be approached via Ten Acre Wood. The nearets tube station is Hillingdon (Metropolitan line). Bus U2 passes along nearby Ryefield Avenue.
Ten Acre Wood is reached by the Golden Bridge at the east end of Charville Lane, North Hayes, UB4, or by the path leading from the west end of Sharvel Lane. Bus routes U7 or 195 will take you to the Charville Lane Estate. Other options are route 90 to Kingshill Close or route E7 to Harvey Road/West End Road.
Yeading Brook Meadows is approached from The Greenway, North Hayes (UB4). Bus route 90 will take you to nearby to Kingshill Close.
Minet CP’s address is Springfield Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0LL. It is a 20-minute walk from Hayes & Harlington Railway Station and a 30-minute walk from Southall Railway Station. Bus routes 207, 140, 607, 90, E6 and 427 pass nearby.
Access by wheelchair is possible at Minet CP, although the entrances on Uxbridge Road have steep ascents. There is no wheelchair access at the other Yeading Valley sites. The London Wildlife Trust sites are open at all times. Minet CP is open at all times to pedestrian access, whilst the Springfield Road Car Park is generally unlocked between 07:00 (or dawn if later) and 18:00 (or dusk if earlier).
There are no facilities within any of the LWT sites. Minet CP has a visitor centre with limited opening times, toilets and a car park. A Sainsburys supermarket is across the road from the park’s north-west access point.
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