Excursions in Metroland : Stanmore

In the sea of suburban semi's around London, it is hard to find somewhere worth a potter.  One place is Stanmore and all within a short walk of the Tube Station. 

The road opposite the station, Kerry Avenue, takes you up to Stanmore Country Park, a large (30ha) nature reserve which occupies a slope up to the highest point in the old County of Middlesex. 

On the way up, you cross Valencia Road. Note the design of the houses. I think these are the best examples in London of housing in the 'Streamline Moderne' architectural style from the inter-War period, usually only seen on larger buildings, cinemas etc. 

Valencia Road

This style was very self consciously 'modern' in the period, echoing the aerodynamic, streamlined design of planes, passenger liners and steam trains. Some place this in the dying embers of the art deco movement. Now, I am no expert on art & design stuff, but see a bit more of the spirit of the Futurists in it. If that is a new one for you, look up Tommaso Marinetti, a full-paid up and dangerous fascist nutcase. Thankfully distance allows us to laugh at his ravings now. Whatever, I bet the current occupants worship at the design temple of John Lewis and live with shades of greige. This is Stanmore after all. 

If you are interested you can find more here: (Link) Metroland 

The Country Park is just up the road and comprises the Park itself and Wood Farm. A thorough exploration shouldn't take more than an hour. This was all farmland once but now the clay soils of lower slope are covered by a relatively young woodland, while the better drained upper slopes remain as open  grassland. 

Plenty of wildlife including muntjak deer. Notice boards in the Park provide information via QR codes.  There is a leaflet here:  (Link)   
Stanmore Country Park  

But, for  me, the main attraction, especially if you doesn't bother you to be reminded of the extent to which what was once rural Middlesex is now a carpet of concrete,  is the panoramic view right across London. Because this is its northern edge, you don't have to swivel like a wind vane to take it all in. Not a brilliant photo I am afraid, I had to shrink the size for the blog. The hills in the distance are the North Downs in Surrey. 

View from the Highest Spot in Middlesex! 

If this isn't enough, immediately to the North West and lying across Dennis Lane, are two more large open areas, Stanmore Common and Bentley Priory. The former is woodland, the latter mixed, with Bentley Priory itself in the middle. 

The early history of the Priory is, IMHO, less than riveting. But in World War Two this was the HQ for RAF Fighter Command, so it is now a museum dedicated to that.  If you want to visit , I suggest you check their website for opening times etc. Odd website, it has an FAQ page that mostly seems to tell you what DIDN'T happen here!!  The link is Bentley Priory Museum



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