Photos of a walk along the Grand Union canal including Boston Manor House

Boston Manor, Syon House and Osterley House are all in walking distance of each other in West London. They're grouped around the Main Line of the Grand Union Canal, the Main Line of the Great Western railway to Paddington, the M4 motorway and the flight paths to the runways at Heathrow. But the old houses and their magnificent trees were built long before these modern transport arterial routes. Boston Manor Jacobean house was completed in 1623; the exterior of Syon House dates from 1547 and is still the Duke of Northumberland’s London home; the current Osterley House was constructed from 1761 in the Georgian style by the architect Robert Adam.

GOC London's route for today's hike followed the Grand Union canal as much as possible but mixed technology and industry with the peace of the old canal; from this perspective the planes taking off from nearby Heathrow seemed from another world. The route weaved us around the M4 flyover and the railways, bringing us past GSK's international corporate headquarters, through docks at Brentford lock to the river Thames and then to upstream to end at Richmond. A fine participation of 35 or so, plus one pedigree dog.

It was particularly interesting to visit Boston Manor House as it has been restored and reopened recently. We enjoyed our lunchtime picnic on its fine lawn amongst old cedar and oak trees, some of which are thought to have grown from seeds planted at the time of the construction of the house.