Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under a CC-BY licence

The military and aviation history of Hounslow Heath - walk

Sunday 9th June 2024

Hounslow Heath once stretched from London to Windsor and this approximately two-hour circular walk explores the fascinating history of the small remaining segment in the midst of urban west London development.

The heath hosted Roman, Saxon and Viking encampments, the baronial army during Magna Carta and treaty negotiations that saw the withdrawal of the French army from England after the battle of Lincoln in 1217. It was a rallying point for the militia during the Armada and training centre for both king and parliament during the Civil War. The heath became the centre for the annual Grand Army Encampments under James II and from William and Mary on into the Georgian and Victorian age, becoming a national military training centre with some of the first purpose-built cavalry and infantry barracks. During the First World War the heath was both an army recruitment centre and an aerodrome training centre for the Royal Flying Corps with fourteen squadrons being based there while in 1919 the heath became Britain's first international airport with regular flights to Europe and the first flights to Australia and America. During the Second World War the heath was the command centre for London's aerial defences. Regiments serving in Afghanistan and Iraq were based there up until 2014.

Meet at 2.30 p.m. at Hounslow Heath free car park at the junction of Frampton Road and the Staines Road, postcode TW4 5AD. The site can be accessed by bus, routes 116, 117, 235, 237 and 423. The ground can be uneven and challenging and depending on the weather wet and muddy, so stout shoes are advised. For more information please contact Howard Simmons using the contact details below.  


For further information.


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