In short: an interesting extension to our usual Trent Park circular, taken from the Ramblers website and adapted slightly. Mostly firm underfoot with a couple of exceptions but good waterproof walking boots well worthwhile when caught in a downpour in the last stretch! Public toilets available at start and finish and also at Crews Hill pitstop (both decent and well-maintained) – though it was admittedly a long stretch from there to the end! Lovely garden centre pitstop for mid-morning snack and ever delightful Trent Park café at the end. 5 hrs 45 mins walking + two 30 min pitstops.
We park in the large free car park at Trent Park, postcode EN4 0DZ and make use of the facilities located beside the car park.
From here we initially start as per our usual route (see walks 14, 61 & 85) by taking the path signposted for the London Loop on the far side of the car park behind the ice cream van. We follow this path slightly downhill through woodland bearing right, across a small footbridge and out onto a path at the edge of a meadow – on our right – with a hedgerow to our left.
We turn left at the end of the meadow, in front of more woodland and soon walk past a large pond on our right. At a junction of paths we turn left, in line with the London Loop signpost, head uphill bearing left at the top and eventually right at the London Loop sign out towards the road. At this point we look left and have a view of the obelisk.
We cross this road here, Ferny Hill, turning left and then right just after the lay-by at the footpath sign. We head downhill here with the hedgerow on our left and fields on both sides.
We turn right at the bottom of the hill to walk beside a brook on our left. This is a lovely stretch of footpath as ever and we walk past several fields before coming out on a wider farm track type path.
We cross at a stile and continue past one last field – turning left at the corner and uphill towards a wood at the top. Just before the top of the hill we turn right into the woods, wind our way through and out at the far side, walking on the left hand side of a field, veering towards the road, The Ridgeway.
We leave the field at a stile and cross the road here to pick up the London Loop signed path on the far side – in fact this is more of a country lane. We continue straight on towards some farm buildings ahead where the path bends right and then slightly left, past some more farm buildings and then under a railway line.
Soon after, the main path we are following bears sharp right but we take a slightly overgrown footpath off to our left which brings us to an unmanned pedestrian level crossing across the railway line. We cross here and continue up through some trees to emerge on a path through Crews Hill golf course.
We stick closely to the path across the course and come out into the car park and here we turn right onto the road, Cattlegate Road. Shortly after passing under the railway line we turn right into the Woldens Garden centre where we make use of their very decent facilities and enjoy a delicious toasted teacake and cup of tea.
After a lovely pitstop we continue on our way by retracing our steps along Cattlegate Road, back along the path through the golf course and woods but turning sharp right at the edge of the woods beside a pond and at a field edge to follow a footpath here.
We follow this field edge turning right at the corner and left at the next – still with the golf course on the far side of the hedgerow – we pick our way through some trees at the end of this field to turn right and emerge on the edge of another field. We follow this path past one field and halfway along the second we should pass through the hedgerow at a footpath sign – which we initially miss to walk as far as an impressive looking house. We retrace our steps for a good few yards and pass through the hedgerow as instructed to pass beside a lovely old pond.
The path bears left and then right through trees and comes out onto East Lodge Lane. Here we turn right for a short distance beside the road and left at a footpath sign just before some farm buildings. This path continues dead straight past a couple of fields and then left to run parallel to the M25 which we are broadly approaching on a dusty farm track.We turn right at a footpath sign in the hedge, left at the end of the field and then right again on a lane which takes us across a bridge over the M25.
We follow a footpath straight on and slightly uphill to a road at the top, Coopers Lane Road. We take a sharp left at the top to follow a footpath parallel to the road through some relatively new woodland.
We follow this path for quite some time – probably about a mile – before passing a couple of ponds and turning left into Fir and Pond Woods nature reserve. According to the walk instructions we follow the yellow way-marked trail through the woods. This is a rather lovely winding walk through woods and with swampy areas of wetland – pretty well covered with boardwalk and other paths.
Just after walking round a large pond – apparently dating back to medieval times – we come to the first 3-coloured post where we continue straight ahead to leave the woods and it’s trails to cross at a footbridge and head west through a strip of trees beside a brook.
We come out at a wide track where we turn left over a bridge and continue straight on, heading back towards the M25. We go under the motorway at an underpass and keep straight on to come out at The Ridgeway beside some houses. Here we cross the road and continue straight on between fields, turning left at the field edge. We pass a couple more fields on our left and bear right across the next field heading gradually towards the road ahead, Stagg Hill. Just before the road we follow the path as it turns left to run beside the road.
After a plank bridge we turn left to walk on the far side of the hedgerow – this is in fact the path that we were on initially after dropping down from Ferny Hill. We eventually (after a dramatic downpour that completely drenches us…) come to the path we descended on and turn right uphill to Ferny Hill. Here we cross and decide to take the path bearing right towards the obelisk and then left downhill on the wide grassy path with a terrific view of the Trent Park manor house ahead.
We turn right at the foot of the hill onto the path we started out on and then retrace our steps past the pond, right at the meadow and uphill through the woods to the car park, café and very welcome sight of the public toilets!
We enjoy a really yummy sandwich and cuppa while we dry off – well-deserved – it’s been hard work today, albeit lovely!