I went exploring in a slightly rundown west London gem tucked next to the M4
Gunnersbury park is a walking distance from our house, and despite the occasional jog around the outskirts I have never really ventured into the park itself. One afternoon, in need of adventure but some what lacking in funds, I decided to go down and see what was occurring.
First thing to know – this park is BIG – 80 hectares (or around 200 football pitches by the standard conversion-to-something-understandable measure). And unfortunately it has been allowed to become quite rundown, even by the standards of shoddy public spaces in the UK. A restoration programme is underway, but it’s definitely only just getting started.
Entering from the North Circular at the top corner of the park, you are at the back of the old mansion houses, known as the large mansion and the small mansion. No honestly. That is their actual names. OK the large mansion is actually the Gunnersbury Park Museum, but honestly it is referred to as the large mansion all over the park. Kudos for originality guys. The small mansion is in a shocking state; I couldn’t honestly work out if it was used or not – if it is then I really feel for anyone who has to work in it. Interestingly there was a random flat just tucked in the lower ground floor, and it was numbered 13 but I never saw any other flats… #creepy.
The large mansion is entirely under scaffold, so I didn’t both taking to many pictures of that. From the large mansion the ground slopes down quite rapidly to a cute as button orangery, which was also under wraps (and also looked like it was having some kind of lake/pond built in front of it – very confusing). From there I headed down and towards a wooded patch on the left-hand side behind the orangery, and then I found arguably the best thing in the whole park – a CREEPY AF abandoned tennis court, where TREES had been used to encircle the court!! I didn’t hand around in it too long because CLEARLY that is how a straight-to-DVD horror movies starts.
After that there was some more freaky forest stuff, which was probably just normal land management but since I have no idea what that would entail I’m going with Blair Witch-style weirdness instead, and more abandoned, tree covered buildings. Heading through the centre of the park, more work has been done to actually keep the park open and active, including a fairly nice playground and wide, open spaces. I got totally distracted at this point and forgot to take any more pictures of the boat pond, and the other actual useful facilities, so apologies that there aren’t more pictures.
In summary, don’t expect perfection at Gunnersbury Park. But it is a lot more interesting, and a whole load creepier, than your average park. Did I mention it also adjoins a cemetery… #justsayin’