|Lady Gilbert's Orchard|
Lady Gilbert's orchard lies within the woods of Grimsdyke Open Space, just to the north and west of the gardens of Grimsdyke House, now a Best Western hotel. The orchard was created while Grimsdyke House was owned and occupied by Sir William Gilbert, librettist of the Savoy Operas, and his wife Lady Lucy Gilbert, from 1890. Sir William died in 1911, but Lady Gilbert continued to occupy the property until her death in 1936. She took a special interest in the Orchard and gardens. Many of the original trees survive; these venerable trees are now covered with lichen and provide an excellent habitat for invertebrates. Gaps in the orchard were filled in 2013 by new planting. A great variety of wildflowers grow between the trees.
|The orchard lies just north of post 6 on the Harrow Weald Common nature trail. The map to the right is taken from the trail leaflet, which is available from Harrow Council, or download a PDF here.||Map above reproduced by permission of Harrow Council and Ordnance Survey (c) Crown Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017302.|
|The sketch map to the right shows the orchard in relation to Grimsdyke hotel and its gardens. From post 6, cross the bridge over the narrow water feature to reach the orchard.|
|Map above reproduced by permission of Geographers' A-Z Map Co. Ltd. (c)Crown Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017302.||
How to find the site
The car park for Harrow Weald Common / Grimsdyke Open Space lies on the south side of Old Redding.
Brookshill is served by the 258 bus from central Harrow (and from Watford). The quickest approach is to alight at the Clamp Hill bus stop and walk along Old Redding. Post 1 on the nature trail is opposite the western entrance to the car park - that is, the second of the car park entrances that you reach.
To avoid walking along the road you can instead alight from the bus at the Priory Close stop, enter the woods to the west of the road and join the nature trail as it runs between posts 14 and 15.
Harrow Weald Common is a start point of the Bentley Priory Circular Walk, which runs through some of the most attractive parts of the Harrow green belt. From Old Redding you can walk the whole 4.3 mile (7 km) circuit, or use a short cut to reduce the distance to 3.2 miles. Leaflets describing the walk are available from Harrow Council, or download a PDF here.
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