Today we walked from Elstree to Cockfosters (10 miles / 16km). Although there was a fair amount of road walking there was only one stretch where the noise of traffic really impinged, limiting conversation. We passed first through Scratch Wood, ancient woodland nestled between two very major roads – the M1 and the A1. The sound of traffic is ever present, but muted by the trees and birdsong.
After enduring 1km of walking along the A1 we entered Moat Mount Open Space. This is the site of the Battle of Barnet of 1471 during the Wars of the Roses. It is now woods, meadows and farmland.
The source of Dollis Brook is also within this area, and we followed a stretch of the Brook, and the Dollis Valley Greenwalk, before heading off on the Loop walk at Barnet Lane. Dollis Brook continues through Totteridge, Whetstone and Finchley to finally join with the river Brent at Hendon. The Brook (which we always called ‘the stream’) played a large part in my childhood as we used to live close by. It was the scene of a dramatic near drowning of my youngest sister (at least that’s how it felt at the time!), after some heavy rain. She fell in and was rescued by me and my other sister, losing her wellies in the process. (Those were the days when small children went running around unsupervised!)
The next section took us through Monken Hadley, and Hadley Woods. It is really pretty in this area, and there are some huge houses.
The whole of this area was once part of a great hunting forest with 3000 deer, where Queen Elizabeth I and others hunted. It is now a very pleasant place to walk, and get away from the traffic nearby. There were lots of families enjoying the spring sunshine in the woods and open spaces.
Finally we arrived in Cockfosters, and found a cafe for cake and coffee. The journey back was straightforward – Piccadilly line all the way to Ealing, and then a short bus ride back home.
And then: some delicious wild garlic pesto with pasta for dinner!
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