Brent River Park
Where is it?
The Brent River Park (BRP) is a curving strip of open space along 7km of the Brent Valley. The river meanders west and then south through Perivale, Greenford and Hanwell. The park covers 400ha of open space, and contains semi-natural areas, including designated Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), formal parks, golf courses, sports grounds and allotments.
Large areas of the park are open to free public access, and there are about 50 roadside entrances for pedestrians throughout the park. There are many footpaths (some statutory, others permissive) throughout the park. Cycle paths run through parts of the park.
A large part of the capital ring route within Ealing is located within the BRP. The capital ring route is 125km (78miles) long, mainly through parks and open spaces, and mostly following pleasant residential roads in between. The route is an initiative of the London Walking Forum, which co-ordinates work among the boroughs to provide uniform signage and leaflets.
The Brent River and Canal Society was formed in 1973 to “work for the betterment of the open valley of the Brent from Hanger Lane to Brentford, and in particular urge its adoption as a continuous linear park.” The society’s proposals were accepted by the council in 1976 to form a new park and since its inception, the park has managed with a view to maximising its nature conservation and public enjoyment value.
About the park
The green corridor of the BRP is an oasis for people and wildlife. The riverside links the large open spaces of Pitshanger, Brent Lodge and Elthorne parks to give a wide range of passive and active recreation opportunities.
Nature conservation is a key driver for management of the river, with the BRP designated by the Greater London Authority as a Grade 1 Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation for its flora and fauna. The BRP also has a flood management function, with Osterley Weir a key structure (managed by Environment Agency) and flood storage remaining possible in open spaces along its length.
- 80% of the park is owned by Ealing Council, some of which is leased to and managed by private clubs and tenants
- 15% is owned by other public bodies, including British Waterways Board and Network Rail
- 5% is privately owned
Nearly the entire park is classified as Metropolitan Open Land under the council's plan for the environment. Key parks and open spaces that make up the Brent River Park include Pitshanger Park, Perivale Park, Brent Lodge Park, Hanwell Meadows and Elthorne Park, and Elthorne Waterside.
The BRP consists of a mosaic of different wildlife habitats and amenity open spaces, providing a home to a wide range of bird, insect, mammal and amphibious species. There are numerous wildflower and hay meadows throughout the park. Much of the bankside of the river has mixed native and non-native woodland and individual tree species growing on it.