Beating the Bounds
Beating the Bounds is a circular walk of approximately eight miles around the boundary of the old Parish of Hanwell on the first bank holiday in May.
We are looking forward to this year’s walk on Monday 1st May 2017 at 12 noon. Starting and ending at the Fox pub in Green Lane.
Nearly 100 people took part in 2016, most taking about three hours to complete the route. Toddlers to octogenarians donned their walking boots for the event, 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 – sometimes boundary markers such as stones would be moved or lines obscured – and a memory of the true extent of the parish was necessary. It became very formal – the priest of the parish, the churchwardens and officials took young boys who would beat the parish boundary markers with green boughs, usually willow or birch. Sometimes the boys were themselves bumped on the boundary stones to make them remember their position. Taking the younger generation ensured a continuous line of witnesses to the boundaries.
The modern walk is organised by Elaine Hill and any sponsorship raised is donated to Hanwell Carnival. Steve Davies is responsible for the current map of the walking route and the incredibly useful information pack is based on an original guide by Lyn Powell. Mike Gahan is forever foraging in the nooks and crannies of Hanwell trying to unearth lost stones. He is also the man behind the song “The Stones of Hanwell” which walkers are encouraged to sing on their way around. The walking guides are kindly printed by Rheian Davies of DH Law.
You can make a donation to carnival on the day too.
Protect Hanwell’s historic boundaries in Beating the Bounds. No weapons required, just comfy shoes.