14th July 2016:London Loop 12, Cockfosters to Enfield Lock

Four of us did this nearly-ten-miles semi-rural walk through northern Enfield, on a day more and more like mid-summer as the hours passed. With a few navigational debates, but no disasters, we traversed the western side of Trent Park, once the home of Philip Sassoon – a more sensitive Conservative politician than those we heard about that afternoon – then up a grassy slope and through to the site of the moated medieval Camlet House. After a little more woodland we crossed the busy Hadley Road into open farmland with hundreds of hectares of broad beans. By following Salmon’s Brook for a mile we gained the Ridgeway, another busy road to cross with care. Then along a farm track down and up past the imposing Red House to an eerily abandoned farmyard. Continuing up the slope we gained the delightful woods of Clay Hill which gave access into the rugged park of Hilly Fields. Here Red Rope tradition dictated that we have a picnic lunch on a log. Gaining another woodland track, we found the Old Course (abandoned a century ago) of the New River, then the Turkey Brook, taking us along the northern fringe of the 17th C Forty Hall estate. We next walked N (on a diversion) on Forty Hill to Myddleton House. This was the home of the remarkable horticulturist EA Bowles who spent a lifetime (1870 to 1964) tending a wonderful garden around his mansion. After taking tea here (courtesy of the Lea Valley regional park, whose HQ this is) we were ready for our final footslog E, tracking the Turkey Brook, getting over the Great Cambridge Road and through the northern fringe of Ponders End to Enfield Lock rail station. This walk through the unspoiled countryside of the historic Enfield Chase gave great exercise and a lot of topographical and historical interest. Next, on Thurs 28th July at 11.00, we will find our way back to Enfield Lock Station, and the nearby Royal Small Arms Factory surrounded by “Enfield Island Village”, for the start of the next stage from the Lea Navigation through Sewardstone and Epping Forest to Chigwell (9 miles). Join us!

Steve Butters

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