GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Bentley Priory Walk

3 miles (5 km)

This circular walk explores the popular Bentley Priory nature reserve in Harrow. The reserve has good footpaths to follow to 55 hectares of ancient woodland, grassland, scrub, wetland, streams, a lake and a deer enclosure. In the reserve you will find a variety of wildflowers such as spotted orchid. Look out for birds includingbuzzard,spotted flycatcher, andbullfinch.
You can park at the Stanmore Common car park and pick up the London Loop to the reserve. Other public footpaths will take you past the deer park and the lake.
There's lots of good options for extending your walk in this area. If you head west along the London Loop you can visit Harrow Weald Common and Oxhey Woods with its splendid, easy access sculpture trail. On the common there's also the noteworthy Grim's Dyke Hotel, the formere home of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, the writing half of the Gilbert & Sullivan musical partnership.
The Stanmore Common walk also starts from the same start point as this walk.

Postcode

HA7 3FB - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Bentley Priory OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Bentley Priory Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking

Pubs/Cafes

The Grim's Dyke Hotel at the western end of the walk is a nice place to stop for refreshments. You could enjoy a delicious Afternoon Cream Tea before a stroll around the beautiful Lady Gilbert's Gardens. There's 40 acres to explore with a vegetable garden and peaceful woodland.
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert bought the property in 1890. During his 21 years there, he made a number of changes to the house and grounds. He planted trees and rhododendrons, developed the farm which was part of the estate, and built a number of greenhouses beyond the moat and over the dyke. There was a kitchen garden, orchard and vinery and, for Lady Gilbert who was a keen gardener, a sunken rose garden was constructed on the terrace above the moat.

Dog Walking

The woodland and parkland trails are ideal for dog walking so you'll probably see other owners on your visit.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

The Borehamwood Walk starts from the train station in the town. It visits the priory, Aldenham Country Park, Stanmore Common and Harrow Weald Common. It's a nice way of seeing some of the walking highlights of the area using public transport.

To the south is the historic Harrow On The Hill. The village is an interesting place for a walk with a noteworthy 11th century church and the famous 17th century public school to explore. There are also great views over London from the elevated position of the ancient church on the hill.
For more walking ideas in the area see the London Walks page.

Photos

Bentley Priory Summerhouse Lake 1

Bentley Priory Summerhouse Lake

Bentley Priory Deer Park

Priory Deer Park

GOC Harrow Weald–Bushey 027 Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, Stanmore (34113845826)

Bentley Priory Nature Reserve

Bentley Priory - geograph.org.uk - 1095794

Bentley Priory was occupied by the RAF from 1926 until the spring of 2008, perhaps the most important time in its history was during World War Two when it was the headquarters of Fighter Command. The site has been sold to a developer and plans to convert some of the building to luxury apartments and build new houses have been approved. The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust has secured part of the building to be used as a museum and memorial dedicated to those who served in the RAF. In September 2008 the site was open to the public for the first time part of the Civic Trust Heritage Open Days, this photograph shows the south face of the main buildings on one of those days.

Grim's Dyke Hotel, from the garden. - geograph.org.uk - 311183

Grim's Dyke Hotel, from the garden. This area is on Harrow and Weald Comon at the western end of the route. Grim's Dyke is most famous for its association with the librettist, Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, the writing half of the Gilbert & Sullivan partnership, who lived in the house from 1890 to his death in 1911. The name Grim's Dyke comes from an ancient defensive earthwork which runs from Pinner Hill to Bentley Priory. The House was built there in 1870 for the Victorian Painter Frederick Goodall, who had bought 100 acres of land at Harrow Weald in 1856 but was unable to build for 12 years until the expiry of a lease. During that time he landscaped the area and planted trees, setting aside 30 acres parallel to the ancient earthwork for the house and gardens. Work started on the house in 1870 and was completed in 1872.

A Woodland Pond - geograph.org.uk - 2422935

Gilbert's Lake. Gilbert's greatest joy was the large lake he had excavated to the south of the house. It had an island in the middle and a changing hut and boathouse on the shore. Every day in the summer he would bathe there - a habit which eventually cost him his life. On 29th May 1911 Gilbert invited two local girls to swim in the lake. He died attempting to help one of them when she got into difficulties.

Flowering Bushes, Harrow Wield Common - geograph.org.uk - 2412977

Flowering Bushes, Harrow Wield Common

Entrance to Grim's Dyke Hotel, Old Redding - geograph.org.uk - 2388026

Entrance to Grim's Dyke Hotel, Old Redding. In 1970, when it was converted into a hotel, Grim's Dyke was designated a building of special architectural and historical interest. The present owners took over the property in 1996 when the Grade II listed building was extensively restored and refurbished in the country house style.

Video

GPS Files

GPX File

Bentley Priory.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Share>Save to Files')

Memory Map Route

Bentley Priory.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Share>Save to Files)