17 – Shenley Park Two Walks 4.9 miles – 25th May

In short: simple but surprisingly picturesque walks – numbers 1 & 3 – with delightful cafe for lunch, clean & accessible public toilets & plentiful free parking. 1 hr 50 mins walking + 40 min pitstop.

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This week we needed to find a walk which could be split into two parts as one of our number is recuperating from a recent op so not up to our usual hike. Hence we decided it was time to return to Shenley Park where there are waymarked (sort of!!) walks of varying lengths from 1.5 to 4 miles.

We started with walk number 1 – which was supposed to be 1.5 miles but with a wrong turn or two was more like 2! We also managed to pick the day with the worst weather of the week – but nothing more than a dreary ‘mizzle’, mostly just thick grey cloud.

After about a half hour drive from Muswell Hill we arrive at Shenley Park, postcode WD7 9DW where there is plenty of space to park. We make use of the free, clean and well appointed public toilets in the wooden cafe building at the edge of the car park. We then head back past the car and pick up the first of the signs for footpath 1 off to the right away from the car park.

We head through the park past the tennis courts a short distance to our right and a pond on our left, and skirting some houses on our right we arrive at a service road through the park which we cross heading towards a road, Grace Avenue. We cross here and take the footpath straight ahead. This path effectively skirts the edge of the housing estate now built upon the old Porters Park site. It doesn’t sound particularly enticing but the houses are tucked away behind bushes and trees and there are gorgeous views across wide open farmland to our left.

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The waymarking isn’t brilliant here to be honest so we ignore paths off to our right back into the housing estate and keep walking ahead. In fact we are so intent on this plan of action that we miss the path right which we should take and end up at a gate onto the end of a road, North Avenue.

We walk along this road almost to the end where we turn right onto a path that cuts across onto Porters Park Drive. Here we cross the road and mistakenly take the second turning on the left, Tagalie Place, before retracing our steps and taking the path that runs parallel to it, just beyond it. This next path finishes at Armstrong Gardens which we cross and pick up another footpath behind some more gardens to Nell Gwynn Close, which we cross once again taking the path ahead turning right and out onto King Charles Road. Here we turn left – there are in fact some very faded waymark signs on lampposts but it’s pretty difficult to make them out!

We walk along this road branching left onto Poultney Close and then across an open green space ahead towards the little shopping parade and clinic. Here we walk through the car park to the path emerging from the far side and turn immediately right before the roundabout. We cross Porters Park Drive here and turn right to walk alongside it, crossing Radlett Lane ahead, turning left and entering Shenley Park a bit further along on our right. We bear left through the park here in the direction of the orchard and the cafe, leaving our recuperating companion to a restorative coffee in the lovely cafe.

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Alison and I continue on our merry way, this time taking walk number 3 – which was covered in detail when I walked it with my son in February (walk number 3).

In brief, we walk through the car park heading towards the walled garden but turning left to go between the wall and the perimeter fence of the park. At the end of this path we turn left onto a lane and exit the park turning right onto Radlett Lane. Here we walk along the pavement, passing a cricket ground and then a golf course on our right for about 5-10 minutes until, just before the road bends to the right, there is a footpath sign (Footpath 55) on the far side of the road heading away and up through the woods.

We follow this path up to the brow of the hill – passing through lovely woodland and coming out onto a track between fields. Following this track we eventually come to a turning right towards Wood Hall Farm estate – an impressive looking property – where we bear left onto a lane.

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Views to the left here are across a shallow valley back to Shenley Park and the Porters Park estate with it’s distinctive tower. This is actually very pretty – despite the gloomy weather – and we continue on this lane until we reach a wooded copse on our left and footpath 3 heads off to the left here.

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This lovely path heads off downhill through trees, bordered by fields and we continue straight on to the bottom – emerging onto Radlett Lane more or less opposite the entrance to Shenley Park which we took before, where we bear left through the park with the orchard on our right and back to the wonderful cafe.

Unadventurous soul that I am, I plumped for the club sandwich again whilst my companions tried the amazing wraps – absolutely delicious and 100% recommended – we only wish we’d discovered this park when our kids were much younger as the playground looks really appealing!

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