A walk along the River Pinn following the Celandine Route

I’d passed over the River Pinn on a number of previous walks – usually on treks heading West out of London. It always struck me as a particularly beguiling watercourse trundling down through the western suburbs. I vowed to return and walk its length and one Easter a few years ago set off to Paddington to catch the train to West Drayton and follow the Pinn from its confluence with the Colne back to its source high up in the hills of Harrow. But the rain lashed down so hard, bouncing off the pavement and forming a new river that ran down from Praed Street into the Station, that I had to abandon my venture. It was only in October of this year that I decided to return to walk the Celandine Route, a 12-mile trail created by Hillingdon Council that follows the Pinn

The River Pinn rises on Harrow Weald Common and flows through Pinner, Ruislip, and Uxbridge to make its confluence with Frays River and combined they run into the River Colne on the edge of West Drayton. It is one of the three main rivers of the old county of Middlesex. This time I decided to start my walk at Pinner where The Celandine Route starts at Bridge Street near the junction with Pinner High Street, at the point the Pinn was dammed during WW2 to provide water to put out fires.

The River Pinn at Pinner
River Pinn at Pinner

The green wrought iron railings in a lane behind some shops and offices could only be guarding something precious and sacred. Below trundles the gentle River Pinn, which I greet before the walk deviates from the course of the river through Pinner Memorial Gardens. The watercourse is picked up as it flows through Cuckoo Hill Allotments and I could follow it closely for most of the way ahead.

The Pinn leads us to the beautiful walled garden at Eastcote House which dates from the 17th Century and then to the ancient Ruislip Manor House with its majestic great barn which was built around the year 1300. There is also the remains of a Motte and Bailey Castle on the site, and a branch of Ruislip Library in the Little Barn which was built some point before 1600.

Eastcote House Gardens on the River Pinn walk
Eastcote House Gardens
Ruislip Manor House - River Pinn walk
Ruislip Manor House

It was a walk rich in history, revealing a lost world of Old Middlesex. Where the river curves around Ruislip Golf Course, the Hillingdon Hoard was discovered consisting of Iron Age coins believed to date from the 1st Century BC. They were turned up during HS2 works close to the river, leading to the supposition that they may have been a votive offering. The next site of interest we pass along the river is Pynchester Moat created sometime in the 13th or 14th Century and now slumbering in suburbia.

The rain did come down intermittently throughout the walk but at no point did it detract from the pleasure of this riverine stroll, not even when it became clear that I’d be unable to complete the route in daylight. After crossing the A40 I bade farewell to the spirit of the Pinn and headed off towards a crimson sunset breaking over Uxbridge to mull over the day sipping a mug of tea in Starbucks.

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