The Spinney lies in a hollow made by quarrying for sand and gravel when the roads were being improved during the early to mid 19th century. This infrastructure was to give access to people travelling to Harlington Railway Station after it was opened in 1868.
The origin of the name is not really known. Probably the area was called Hornes End and certainly a house named Hornes End stood nearby until it was burnt down circa 1913. Information held by Harlington Heritage Trust on old maps of the area show The Spinney as a gravel pit in 1814, then as a plantation on a later map dated 1874. The first positive record of it as a woodland is on the 1881 Ordnance Survey map. Therefore, it seems likely it was planted with trees after quarrying had finished. This explains the existence of the non-native Sweet Chestnuts and the regular positions of the large Oaks and Beeches. Some of the trees show signs of coppicing , evidence that it was a working woodland in the past.
In spring, the early flowering plants are Celandine, Dog Violet, Bluebell, Ground Ivy and Wild Arum. All the common woodland birds can be seen in The Spinney and in summer they are joined by spring migrants such as Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroats. The Rookery is a permanent feature in The Spinney and normally has about 24 nests. Also, a Sparrowhawk can often be seen patrolling the wood margins.
The Spinney was purchase by Harlington Parish Council when it came up for auction in 2008. Since then the Council has created a Management Plan ensuring that the trees are regularly inspected, and has also created a Development Plan for The Spinney. The first stage of the project was to create a Nature Trail which was opened in July 2015. Both the Lower and Upper Schools particpated in the development of the nature trail. Mrs Pickering (Harlington Lower School) created an exciting Activity Book for children to complete when visiting The Spinney and Mr Taylor and Mr Cottrell (Harlington Upper School) created sign-posts, tags and the plaque.
Please click here to download a copy of "My Spinney Activity Book".
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