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Wormwood Scrubs Park
Wormwood Scrubs (referred to locally as The Scrubs) is 200-acres (80 hectares) of common land in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in West London and was established as an open public space in 1879.
Its name derives from the 15th century word Wormholtwode meaning ‘a snake infested wood.’
It is bounded by a prison (HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs) and two hospitals (Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea).
It boasts an abundance of sporting facilities – football, cricket and rugby pitches (Queen’s Park Rangers played its matches here from 1888 to 1889), a pony centre and The Lindford Christie Stadium (est. 1967 as The West London Stadium) home to the Thames Valley Harriers A.C., PHC Chiswick Hockey Club and The London Nigerian R.F.C.
There is also an area set aside for model aircraft flying.
In 2002 it was designated a Local Nature Reserve. There are organised walks to study the richness of its wildlife. It has a population of Common Lizards, many varieties of butterfly and attracts hundreds of birdwatchers, as over 100 species have been spotted here. (It even inspired the track ‘Bird Watching’ by Ashley Hutchings and his Albion Band.)
The Urban Birder David Lindo (right) birdwatching with 'Friends of Wormwood Scrubs' committee members
In 1812 the War Office rented an area known as Wormholt Scrubs for the exercising of horses. It is still used by The Royal Artillary for practising their ceremonial duties including the firing of cannons but on such occasions red flags are displayed as a warning to the public. Next year the Royal Artillary are moving to Woolwich.
In former times it was the unofficial London duelling ground.
In 1910 it entered aeronautical history as the site of the launching of a pioneer airship.
In 1918 athletes completing the final stage of the Olympic Marathon crossed Wormwood Scrubs on their way to the White City Stadium.
Until 1940, when it was demolished by bombs, it was served by St.Quintin Park and Wormwood Scrubs on the West London line.
The walk is popular with dog owners because of its relative safety. It is set away from the main roads and there is a vast expanse of grassland on which dogs can run off the lead, thus it is much favoured by lurcher owners.
Dog owners are respectfully asked to keep their dogs under close control and to walk on the mown paths only in the area of rough grassland at the western end of the Scrubs, as it is a designated site for ground nesting birds, such as the Meadow Pipit.
There are two pay and display car parks. One is off Scubs Lane and the other off Du Cane Road.
Nearest underground stations – East Acton. North Acton.
Buses – 7-70-72-272-283.
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