Uxbridge Station to Harefield West
Thursday December 4th 2013
This was to be our last day in Uxbridge (and the day Jo discovered that the station building was listed and had some beautiful stained glass) and quite a cold one it was too, necessitating a couple of dives into the Pavilions to look for the facilities and some old-fashioned Christmas Garlands of the kind Woolworths used to sell.
These last 3 Buses in the U series routes count as infrequent (3 x hour, 2 x hour 1 x hour) so it was better to kill time indoors. Not surprisingly for an infrequent route, when our bus came it was a small single door single decker bus but for its size did score over a dozen passengers. Fortunately it seemed to have some heating as this was a country route.
We left Uxbridge by the Atrium Roundabout, some of the offices are ‘TO LET’ but the ground floor has been taken by a new gym called ‘RUSH’ which sports very bright green lettering. Several of the town’s roundabouts are sponsored and always well planted and maintained.
I guess few stops were needed as both sides of the road seemed to be fields /farms, and this ridge-like road offered fine views over the distant or perhaps not so distant hills – given that the railway we crossed was the Chiltern line perhaps these were the Chilterns we saw?
The key landmark along here is The Dogs Trust whose byline is that they never destroy a healthy dog; certainly there is plenty of space around here to let their rescued pets frolic. What also caught our eye was a large poster for ‘Jovial Jerseys and Harmony Holsteins’, while I query the use of harmony as an adjective I presume the farmers concerned have their two breeds of cow living happily alongside each other, not that sectarian violence is a feature of bovine life?
there was a sign for ANZAC WAR GRAVES – these date from the First World War when Australian and New Zealand soldiers were treated at Harefield Hospital, and those who did not make it were buried in St. Mary's Churchyard. The crossroads mark the heart of the village complete with Green, several pubs and the later addition of the Library (more protest posters visible here) and there is much made of the village motif – a hearty hare.
Somewhat to our surprise the bus turns down quite a narrow road (we had to negotiate slowly past a parked gravel/tar spreading lorry) towards an area called Mount Pleasant – the views were spectacular down over the Grand Union Canal and a series of lakes, as Jo correctly surmised, former gravel pits. They of course lie over the ‘border’ which separates Greater London from the rest of the country…
Having picked up a few younger passengers the bus returned to the village centre to press on to its final destination – Harefield Hospital. It does feel very remote, with no nearby stations and merely this route and a non-TFL services as public transport, so it was not surprising that there were several cars and hospital transport vehicles dotted round the site. About a third of the beds are dedicated to heart surgery and treatment and it has long been famous for its transplant and associated procedures, which goes to show that pioneering work can take place in less than shiny new surroundings. These buildings date from the late Thirties.
The route took the 24 minutes advised and had been one of most rural trips of the Project.