Bentley Priory Nature Reserve
- Posted June 17, 2008 by Riaz Viewed 6758 times
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The Circular Walk takes you through some of the most attractive parts of Harrow Green Belt. It gives both Sunday strollers and experienced ramblers the chance to enjoy countryside. The route is clearly marked by yellow arrows and follows public footpaths and other rights of way. The Walk will take you through woods and parks, past streams, ponds and historic steelemnets, and on a fine day, give spectecular views over London.
History of the Nature Reserve
The name Bentely is thought to derive from the union of two words, beonet, a kind of courss grass and leah a piece of cleared ground on the uplands. These words imply open space and traditional grassland, which remains a feature of Bentley Priory today.
On eof the earliest claims to fame of Bentley Priory is that Queen Boudicca is supposed to have taken posion and died following her defeat by the Roman Commander Suetonius Paulinus in AD 61. Thi sstory probably owes more to legend than fact and excavavtions to search for her tomb have proved unsuccessful.
Bentley Priory was an Augustine Priory and was founded on this site by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th Century, but the actual location of the Priory is a Mystery today. The present house , now occupied by the Ministry of defense was built in 1775 and was the home of the Dowager Queen Adelaide from 1847 until her death in 1849. During this period th ecentral stream was dammed to create the summerhouse Lake and she had a summerhouse located beside it.
In 1926 th eMinsiry of defence purchase the house and 40 acres surrounding it and Middlesex County Council purchased the Land to the south. The Greater London Council, took over the freehold on its formation in 1965. When it was abolished, the freehold transferred to the London Borough of Harrow.
Th ePriory is still owned by the Ministry of defence and is open to group tours by prior arrangement. The ecological interest of summerhouse Lake was formally recogised in 1974 when Harrow Council establised a nature reserve comprising the lake and its surrounds.
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