On to numbers 8 and 9, which are both marked on maps, so should be easy to find. Number 10 is a bit special, and will feature in a future post.
8. Church Lane to Moss Lane
I’ve found this one to be the most used snicket of the selection I’ve shown you. It can get a bit muddy in the winter as a result of the through-traffic.
As you walk past the lovely Pinner House (built in the 17-18th centuries, now a nursing home) on Church Lane, which leads off the top of the High Street, you’ll see to your left a small road called Ingle Close. The footpath is signposted clearly and is made even more obvious by the pavement vanishing after this point. There are often conkers to collect around the entrance in the Autumn.
The Mule has travelling up the line to Aylesbury, county town of Buckinghamshire. Although not so many miles away neither of us had visited what is the most sizable stop on the line outside of London. At one time served by the Metropolitan and Great Central railways, Aylesbury is now the end of the line and a pleasant hour’s journey out of London Marylebone on the Chiltern Turbo. The countryside is very much interwar Metro-land suburbia until past Northwood when the urban sprawl turns into countryside and stops become distinct towns in the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside. Passing through the modest Chiltern hills we pass the Boer War memorial atop Coombe Hill upon leaving Wendover. Before we realised it we were pulling into Aylesbury.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a snicket is defined as a “partially vegetated alleyway or cut-through in the north of England, usually with bollards at both ends and is poorly lit”. I suppose, in the leafy suburb of Pinner, we just call them alleys – and our mothers usually forbid us to go down them alone at night.
With that warning vaguely in mind, I consider the snickets of Pinner are by far the best way to walk around quickly and they’re absolutely all over the place. Quite a few are on the map, or at least identified by a footbridge over Woodridings Brooks or the Pinn, but there are several that aren’t marked at all. My plan is to take you on a tour of the top ten or so, so that no longer will you stare down a fence-lined path and wonder where it leads. All paths are paved and lit unless stated otherwise.
1. The Dell to Elm Park Road
If I’d known about this earlier, this would have been a very useful little cut-through. The Dell itself proclaims loudly that it’s a private road and do be aware that there are three deliberately tucked-away little cottages at the beginning of the snicket. As you proceed, you’ll find the dainty path becoming more genuinely snickety as you go along. You reach a t-junction a few minutes in where a fenced and formerly gated path takes you left into Little Common, which is a smallish park with a children’s playground. If you wanted, you could continue through the park on to Elm Park Road, which connects Bridge Street with the Uxbridge Road.
More interestingly, however, if you continue along the snicket proper, you eventually come out right by Haywood Close (off Elm Park Road), which would have, for us, made getting to Tesco and the vet’s a whole lot easier. You live and learn.
I recently rediscovered Transport for London’s live departure boards for tube stations. I find this a useful feature as it allows me to plan my departure from home allowing me to arrive just in time to catch the train to work rather than just watch it leave as I do normally. It then struck me that there might be an iPhone app that incorporates it. Clearly the developers are way ahead of me on this and there indeed several that make available the departure boards in a handy interface.
To date I’ve been using London Tube Status which simply provides the status of the various London Underground lines. It does the job, looks nice and it’s free, however it seems I’ve been missing a trick. From the same author is TubeDeluxe, an app for just 59p which integrates the departure boards, journey planner, tube map and nearest station finder with the line status report. I browsed a number of London travel apps before going with TubeDeluxe and I have to say it’s proven a sound choice.
Let’s start with the departure boards. The Mule resides on the Met line; many miles outside of central London and with trains sufficiently far apart that you don’t really want to extend the commute even longer through having just missed one train and having to wait 10 mins or so for the next. Choose your line, your station and see when the train is due and plan your departure from home accordingly. Excellent. It’s effectively designed and on a line such as the Met where many station don’t show much if any live train information you can be keep a step ahead. Handily, for stations where the line is shared with Chiltern Railways, the departure boards show their departures too.