Sheila is not wrong in saying that rain, sleet and mud may reduce participation…. Jonathan and I wriggled through these deterrents to walk on muddy paths through the wooded parts of Trent Park where walkers and runners suggested commitment to churning up more footpaths. With proper responsibility we did a half-mile off piste, where the going was better, nothing to do with my map-reading of course. We rejoined the London Loop near the lake behind the great house. This had been the seat of the Sassoon family until 1940 – Philip Sassoon had a role in the 1930s coalition government.
Now on rising ground, wide views across to Epping Forest appeared through the murk. Then more woods, past the invisible Camlet Moat and across Hadley Road into arable farmland, following a well puddled track along Salmon’s Brook in full spate. After two miles of brookside slip-and-slide, through cold rain (snow came later that evening) we climbed up to reach the ancient Enfield Ridgeway, and made for the gloomy workhouse and infirmary buildings now known as Chase Farm Hospital.
The London Loop leaves the hospital here northwards for the glasshouses of Crews Hill before crossing a park and some woods to Forty Hall. However, we cut short and walked along to nearby Gordon Hill rail station; Forty Hall’s parkland must be saved for another time. I’d say this five mile walk was quite invigorating – full marks to Jonathan for turning up.