Beating the Bounds is a circular walk of approximately eight miles around the boundary of the old parish of Hanwell. This traditionally takes place on the first bank holiday in May.
This year’s walk will take place on Saturday 26 June at 12 noon, starting and finishing at the Viaduct pub on Uxbridge Road. It takes about three hours to complete the walk, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.
These days Beating the Bounds is all about remembering Hanwell’s traditions and getting some exercise, but it used to have an important practical purpose. Checking the boundaries was a way of preventing encroachment by neighbours, as boundary markers such as stones might be moved or lines obscured, and a memory of the true extent of the parish was necessary. This became very formal – the priest of the parish, with churchwardens and officials took young boys to beat the boundary markers with green boughs, usually of willow or birch. Sometimes the boys would themselves be bumped on the boundary stones to make them remember the positions. Taking the younger generation on the walk ensured a continuing line of witnesses to the boundaries.
The modern walk was organised originally by Elaine Hill, and any sponsorship raised is donated to the Hanwell Carnival. Steve Davies is responsible for the current map of the route, and the useful information pack is based on an original guide by Lyn Powell. Mike Gahan does the digging to unearth any lost stones. He is also the man behind the song “The Stones of Hanwell” which walkers are encouraged to sing on their way around.
Please register to attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org providing your name, and the number of adults, children and dogs in your group. You can make a donation on the day.