Just across the Staines Road from Donkey Wood lies Hounslow Heath which formed another part of my youthful domain. Hounslow Heath is quite a vast area of, well, Heathland, yet it is only a remnant of its former self.
Heathrow airport is built on the site of the village of Heathrow which once was in the middle of Hounslow Heath! Now of course the monster that is London's number 1 airport is threatening to consume three more former Heath villages of Sipson, Harlington and Harmondsworth in its drive to make London a satellite of its own airport! How the Government have the nerve to bang on about Heathrows expansion being vital for this country when it is foreign owned (as it much of the rest of this country), is beyond me, as is the fact that the Government is so hypocritical in its supposed support for reducing carbon emissions and general Greenery. Whoops I hope Jack Straw isn't surveilling this or I may end up in Belmarsh! The airport expansion was rejected and for now at least will be remaining its current size.
Anyway.....Hounslow Heath still occupies a substantial and varied area. Apart from your actual bona fide Heathland which takes up the central part there are also woodland and wetland areas within the heath. Hounslow Heath is now a nature reserve and as such has its own wardens and marked walks. The topography of the Heath is in itself quite interesting due in part to its many varied uses over the years and the impact of these. The Heath has amongst other things, been used by the Army who once had barracks on its Eastern Edge, a police (anti) riot training centre, as an airfield, a dump, part of it is now a golf course and another was a garden centre the remains of which stand derelict on the Staines Road. In the dim and distant past the Heath was also the hangout of Highway men who would bushwack travellers en-route to Bristol and the West Country. The Heath was once upon a time littered with Gibbetts housing the remains of executed Highway men and Footpads as a warning to others considering making such an un PC living.