diamond geezer

 Monday, May 18, 2009

compass pointsCompass points
(an occasional feature where I visit London's geographical extremities)
WEST London - M25 Junction 14


Two of London's geographical extremities are delightful rural backwaters, and two are on the M25. Sorry, this is one of the latter. Just to the west of Heathrow terminal 5, where the A3113 meets London's orbital, is the westernmost spot in the capital. You might even have been there. Don't worry, it wouldn't surprise me if you didn't remember. [map] [aerial shot]

West LondonThe M25 to the west of London is one scary motorway. Upgraded due to excess traffic flow, no fewer than twelve carriageways thunder their way through the middle of Junction 14's roundabout [photo]. Four each way for the motorway proper, then two each side for the Terminal 5 slipway, which coils and swerves to the north on its way to London's least favourite airport. Heathrow's southern runway is aligned nearly perfectly with this particular roundabout, so the roar of traffic is supplemented every 90 seconds or so by the whining drone of jet engines thundering almost overhead. You wouldn't live here, but unbelievably there's a Travelodge right beside the roundabout where people pay good money to do just that.

An act of Parliament in 1993 tweaked the Greater London boundary to encircle the roundabout, marking this point as the farthest outpost of the borough of Hillingdon. This used to be part of Surrey, and most of the outside of the roundabout still is. Meanwhile the Travelodge is a few yards into Berkshire, or rather it's in the less exciting unitary Borough of Slough (which in this case sounds rather more appropriate). And the whole area was once a liminal swathe of Middlesex, before any of this boundary swapping took place. It's very borderline, this place, and that's why we're here.

It's not the done thing to go jaywalking on motorways, so it's fortunate for boundary-searching pedestrians that the Colne Valley Way weaves its way through the middle of this very roundabout. I made my approach from the village of Stanwell Moor, an isolated Surrey outpost hemmed in by giant reservoirs and persistently blighted by low-flying 747s [photo]. A well hidden footpath tracked across the wooded River Colne (lovely) before emerging beside a travellers' caravan site (less so), then continued round a leafy bridleway to a concrete underpass (ditto). Under the roadway I expected to see the M25 burrowing through, but instead discovered that two sides of the roundabout were packed with trees. A crescent to the east, a crescent to the west, and a footbridge curving across the motorway to link the two.

West LondonThe second slice of woodland is the westernmost green space in the capital. It's supposed to be unreachable, but the gate off from the bridleway was unlocked so I stepped through for a look. Here was deep bushy thicket, where the dog-rose bloomed and weeds flourished, with a litter-strewn grassy path through the centre. One spot had partly subsided, and a yellow gas signlet warned against deeper excavation. At the bottom of the slope there was a thin gap between the trees, wide open to the screaming traffic, above which oncoming jets approached perfectly framed. Best back away now, I thought.

West LondonStepping up from the bridleway onto the roundabouts's inner bank, between the teasels, I looked out past the nearest set of traffic lights towards the reservoir beyond. A few yards ahead of me was the westernmost spot in London [photo], over there on the verge along the outer rim of the roundabout. It was unmarked by stone or obelisk, but there was a large green roadsign in almost exactly the right position. Get in lane now, it advised, and keep left for Poyle and Datchet. Alternatively lanes 2, 3 and 4 steered vehicles safely into the capital, which for many was likely to be a wiser choice.

Unbelievably this precise spot used to be the site of a railway station, or rather an insignificant halt, on the Staines and West Drayton Railway. This single-platform station opened as Stanwell Moor & Poyle in 1927, but was later given the more appropriate name Poyle Halt. Local demand was never great, so passenger services ceased post-Beeching in 1965. The line was then used solely for freight, until in 1981 the M25-builders came along and severed the tracks. Now rail has been consumed by road, and Poyle Halt lies buried beneath the western side of the roundabout.

West LondonJunction 14 was more characterful than I was expecting, though admittedly that wasn't much. But it's a plane-spotter and lorry-spotter's heaven, because the bridleway provides an excellent vantage point for close-up views of both. Next time you're passing through, or above, you can bore any travelling companions by telling them you're at London's westernmost point. But really, I only stopped off here so that you don't have to.

See also
NORTH London: On the clockwise hard shoulder of the M25 between junctions 24 and 25, just north of Crews Hill station [map] (I visited in 2004)
SOUTH London: On a bend in Ditches Lane, just north of St Peter and St Paul Church in the village of Chaldon [map] (I visited in 2007)
EAST London: Just off Fen Lane between North Ockendon and Bulphan, east of Mar Dyke but west of the Dunnings Lane crossroads [map]
» see all four geographical extremities on a Google map


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv