Yesterday a walk through the richly historical Hounslow Heath – bleak and barren even with the sun shining brightly and a sharp blue sky – squashed now between four main roads, nudged by horrible industrial buildings and graceless housing – but still a place of Nature and a lung for that part of densely motorised West London. It’s now just 200 acres but it used to be 4000 and one must keep a beady eye on it for future generations.
Once this place was cut through by a Roman Road for marching legions, later it became a royal hunting ground for the Norman Kings onwards – until the seventeenth century when Oliver Cromwell turned it into a militarised zone. A century later it was notorious as one of the most dangerous places for travellers to the West. The Highwaymen of Hounslow Heath were legendary, sometimes robbing the rich to give back to the poor (or so go the stories) – and being polite and gallant to the silk-clad Ladies as they took away their jewels. Despite these Gentlemen Thieves it was known to be one of the most unlawful places in England.
Now, as we walked through its mud and scrub, the law was being broken in a different and much more disgusting way – by dog owners – loads of them – fondly watching their pooches poop where they pleased without so much as a plastic bag to clear it up between them. Clearly they view this protected acreage as one vast dog toilet. One can only stare at these vile dog owners for, with their low-brained mentality to do anything more might encourage them to set the dog upon you (though presumably it would have to wait until Nature took its course – even a Rottweiler is unlikely to attack mid-shit). We mused on the possibility of becoming HighwayWomen – and patrolling those pathways with not guns or daggers but with our cameras – would that stop these fouling fools, we wondered?
Cowardice kicked in. We might be done in, our bodies never to be found as they disappeared into the scrub and undergrowth – perfectly hidden by a pile of dog-poo.