22nd July 2020

The Colne Valley Park making a difference

The Colne Valley Park enriches people’s lives with a big impact, it provides a special place to relax, to be active outdoors, it feeds creative outlets, educates and creates some wonderful times for many local people. It has long been protected as an important space for people’s recreation and wellbeing and that has never been more important to people than in recent times. Meet some of our Colne Valley locals who told us a bit more about what their local countryside has given them in recent times….

Suzanne Munro, is a local music composer and piano teacher…

and together with her students, has created some wonderful music, lyrics and poems, which were inspired by walks in the local Colne Valley Park countryside and the joys of nature. After reading our Colne Valley Park newsletter, Suzanne emailed us to share their inspired and creative work, which all started from a walk in Ruislip Heathland and woods.

Suzanne told us, “I am a local composer, and piano teacher, who finds nature particularly inspiring….  nature is one of the things that inspires many compositions….I read the latest Colne Valley Newsletter sent out early this year with great interest. My husband and I are carers, so rarely ever get the chance to get out into the beautiful surroundings, but when we do (three times last year) and I managed two walks with friends, it is extra special….. AND inspirational.

Last June, I went on a walk with a friend, on the beautiful heathland an in the woodland in Ruislip. It was such a beautiful June morning, and the countryside so glorious, that it inspired a poem, which I wrote when arriving home, and a piece for children’s / youth choir, “On Heath, in Wood.” I later arranged this for piano, and both the piano and the poem and piano piece inspired by this walk have now been made into a short video (please see below).

Suzanne Munro

On the same walk with the friend, he suggested I take my piano pupils on a walk, to inspire music writing (something I encourage.)  A few of us were able to go, last October… but it began an inspirational musical journey. Whilst on the walk, I picked up an acorn, asked the group how a piece of music would start for an acorn, and “a single note” came back as a reply. Once home, I decided that ALL pupils (and myself) should take ideas from this to create a piece for orchestra. Over the next few weeks, ideas poured out each lesson – for themes, orchestration and story. I orchestrated all their ideas, adding just a few here and there myself. The finished piece is a narrated children’s’ story of an acorn becoming a mighty oak. We were all looking forward to returning to the place that inspired it this spring. Coronavirus thought otherwise… but, we have the legacy of COLNE VALLEY INSPIRATION!!

Hopefully the poems and music show just how much joy the Colne Valley has given me.” Please video and link to the poems below, written by Suzanne Munro.

Oak Tree – photo by Suzanne Munro


On Heath, in Wood

Meet Harry and his family from Ickenham…

they have lived locally for 15 years, but have never had a chance to really explore the Colne Valley.  “We really can’t believe we have so many beautiful countryside places and walks so close by. We have really enjoyed the walks from the Colne Valley Park website and have created some lovely family memories. During the recent stressful times, it really has been such a pleasure to enjoy the views and nature and spend more quality time together. We feel very lucky to live so close by to all these beautiful, countryside places to explore and we are looking forward to more adventures together from now on”.

This is Ellie, aged 11 from Hillingdon…

.. who has been inspired by wildlife from walks in the Colne Valley Park to draw and paint wildlife art. Her Dad Colin tells us, “Ellie has found recent times quite stressful and needed an output.  Taking walks in the countryside, has helped to channel her energy and artistic talents and she has created some great paintings.  We always take lots of pictures now, so that we always have something to draw or paint and some wonderful memories too”. The Colne Valley Park, has many nature reserves and beautiful landscapes, to help inspire creativity. Have a look on our website Visit page for more ideas.

Julie Dungey, is a local Doctor at Hillingdon Hospital…

and tells us how the Colne Valley Park plays an important role in her life, “The Colne Valley Park has always been an important place for my family and I, to escape the hassles of daily life. With the last three months being particularly stressful time for us all, the Colne Valley has provided us with much needed rest and relaxation. The walks are amazing as they cover such varied habitats from woodlands and wild meadows to farmland with crops and animals and of course the very beautiful lakes, rivers and canals. We recently discovered a new area, thanks to the Facebook posts – Northmoor Hill Woods.  This walk includes a geology trail in the wood and Denham aerodrome, which is a great place for a family to experience. I’ve liked them so much, that I have shared the map and details with friends and colleagues in the NHS, who have also found these walks to be an equally enjoyable experience to unwind and switch off. I would recommend to everyone needing a breath of fresh air and a special treat from one of the cafes or pubs on the routes – Enjoy!