Walk 5 - From Terminal 5 Heathrow at the Western End of the Piccadilly Line to Staines




9.5 km (6 miles)


A mixture of roads and footpaths. May be muddy after wet weather.

Outward Journey

By Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Terminal 5 - about 50 minutes from Central London


By train from Staines

Points of Interest

Terminal 5. Colne Valley Park, Staines Moor


Cafés in Terminal 5, The Anchor pub in Horton Road, pubs and cafés in Staines

Public Toilets

At Terminal 5 and Staines Railway Station

Shortening the Walk

No opportunities





What To Expect From This Walk

When I started to plan these routes, I did not think  I would find a walk from the end of the Piccadilly Line at Heathrow.  However, with the help of a friend, I discovered this interesting route from Terminal 5. The first part of the walk follows a section of airport perimeter road and then leaves the airport to access the Colne River Valley. You follow a mixture of riverside paths and roads through the village of Horton before reaching Staines Moor, an attractive open area of heath. From here it is only a short walk to Staines and the River Thames. On the early part of the walk you will be accompanied by the sight of large aircraft flying a few hundred metres above your head. 





Route Directions

1.  The walk starts at Heathrow Airport in the  Arrivals Hall of Terminal 5. Stand with your back to the International Arrivals Gate, facing the coffee shop in the centre of the Arrivals Hall (operated at the time of writing by Costa Coffee). Turn right and walk towards the far end of the hall. After 100m you pass the glass covered lifts on your left. Turn left here under a suspended yellow sign saying Exit, Buses, Car Rental, Taxis and leave the terminal building to enter a covered area used by buses and cars. Walk ahead using the clearly marked pedestrian crossings  to cross a series of vehicle lanes. Continue in the same direction to leave the covered area between parked cars. 

2. Do not cross the road ahead of you (Widgeon Road). Instead, turn right and walk along the side of the road, making your way past flowerbeds and motorcycle parking bays. The Arora Building is on the opposite side of the road on your left. Ahead you can see a concrete overpass which carries vehicles to the first-floor Departures level of Terminal 5. Go under this and continue ahead to reach the airport perimeter road. Take great care along this section, which is a one-way traffic system with a number of intersecting roads without footways. Once you reach the perimeter road (where Wallis Road comes in from the right) you regain a footway.

3. Turn left onto the perimeter road, with its fence on your right, and walk away from Terminal 5, using the wide right-hand pavement. After 400m turn left at a set of traffic lights to cross to the other side of the perimeter road. Leave the airport by crossing a bridge which provides vehicle access to the perimeter road, to arrive at a round-about. Go to the left  to cross the A3044 (Stanwell Moor Road).  Your aim is to reach the Bath Road on the opposite side of the roundabout (signposted Colnbrook and Pyle).

4. Walk down Bath Road, crossing over the River Colne. Shortly after a bus stop on your left, turn left through a gate into the Colne River Valley. Follow a track which goes ahead for 300m, then turns left and later right near the river. Pass beneath a major road and go left through a gate to continue alongside the river on a track through a field. After 400m the track turns right, parallel to the busy road which you can see and hear ahead. When you reach the next corner of the field, turn left on a bridleway. Go through a tunnel under the road and turn left on an area of tarmac to reach Horton Road, where you turn left again. Follow Horton Road for 800m until you see The Anchor pub ahead of you at a T-junction.

5. Turn right at the T-junction into Hithermore Road, which soon turns left. After 250m ignore a metal gate and track to the right, which has a sign for a private fishing area. Instead, continue along Hithermore Road to its end and follow the tarmac footpath which goes towards a reservoir embankment. The path turns right along the metal boundary fence. Follow the path along the fence, keeping a lookout for a metal kissing gate on your right. Go through the gate and walk through a lightly wooded area. A boardwalk leads to a footbridge and onto an extensive area of open land with an information board. This is Staines Moor and the River Colne is on your right.

6. Continue for 250m and then cross the river on a stone footbridge with metal handrails. Go ahead over two wooden boardwalks and then turn left to follow a clear path along the right-hand bank of the river. Follow the river for 800m until you see another bridge. Do not cross over this bridge. Instead, go half-right towards an underpass in the embankment of the A30. Go through the underpass, then through a metal gate and follow a path straight ahead over a field to cross a small watercourse. After another 100m, the path  swings left. You, however, should go through a kissing gate to continue ahead. 

7. Cross the railway line and turn left along the bank of the River Colne, which you follow all the way to the end of the path in Staines. Turn left and then swing right to reach Staines Bridge over the Thames. To get to Staines Railway Station do not cross the bridge. Instead, descend to the riverbank using a set of steps to the left of the bridge parapet. You then walk along the river bank until a Thames Path sign directs you to turn up to the main road, where you continue in the same direction along the footway, passing under a railway bridge. Take the third road on the left (Gresham Road) to reach the station.

Information on Things You Will See

Terminal 5 is Heathrow’s most recent terminal and was officially opened by the Queen in March 2008. The first flight to arrive was BA026 from Hong Kong flown by Captain Lynn Barton, British Airways’ first woman pilot. Designed by British architect Richard Rogers, the main terminal building is almost 400m long and has a floor area of over 350,000 square metres. The period from conception to completion lasted almost 20 years due in part to the longest ever public enquiry in the UK. At the time of writing, a proposal  for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow has been backed by Parliament. If fully implemented, the expansion will affect the Colne Valley Trail and there is a danger that this walk may disappear.

The River Colne rises near North Mymms in Hertfordshire and flows generally south to join the Thames at Staines.  It is only 18Km in length but its effect on the landscape has been amplified by digging for gravel and clay along its lower course. This has created an extensive belt of pits which have flooded to become lakes which are important habitats for wildlife and protected as nature reserves. The river, meadows and many once gravel-producing lakes form the Colne Valley Regional Park.

Colne Valley Park covers over 100 square kilometres and consists of a mosaic of farmland, woodland and water, offering a real taste of countryside to the west of London. The park is managed by a Community Interest Company which is determinedly opposed to Heathrow’s expansion proposals, as these would have a far-reaching impact on the valley’s biodiversity, through loss of habitat and habitat connectivity.

Staines Moor is an area of common land lying within the Colne Valley that has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its diverse range of flora and fauna. 130 species of bird have been recorded on the moor, which was described by Bill Bryson as “an astonishing sight – a sweep of green and golden countryside … an unexpectedly lovely walk”.