30th January 2017: Hampstead Circular walk

Ten turned out for this despite the rain forecast. On the way to the heath we passed Burgh House and John Constable’s house in Well Walk before joining the cheerful family strollers brought out, rain or shine, by Sundays. Through rough grassland to the vantage point of Parliament Hill, St Paul’s barely visible but the Shard standing tall. On the east side of the heath we ascended past all the boating and bathing ponds and across the top meadow to Kenwood House, our lunch venue. We considered going in to view old master pictures but as rain was gathering force we pushed on through the estate and across Spaniards Road to explore first the Heath Extension (scrub, swamp, football pitches) and then the central part of Hampstead Garden Suburb. It had become rather damp for a nature walk but steady rain did not detract from appreciation of Unwin’s sedate arts-and-crafts family houses and Lutyen’s monumental churches. Turning back by the school named after the suburb’s foundress Henrietta Barnett, we made brisk progress on the homeward stage and at the last found a comfortable bookshop in the village, where hot teas revived us.

Steve Butters

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