23 – Brookmans Park: North Mymms to South Mimms 6.8 miles – 4th July

In short: lovely country walk from quiet commuter land – final path quite overgrown with brambles and nettles. Clean smart pub toilets at start and end; delightful coffee in lovely welcoming pub – unfortunate timing with this being the annual afternoon closure for staff social so no lunch available. 2 hrs 40 mins walking + 20 mins pitstop.

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I am indebted once again this week for this walk to the lovely walks listed on the website www.brookmans.com/walks as per walk number 13 on this blog back in April. Today’s walk is broadly speaking their walk number 16 – albeit we do vary it a little in the middle (not entirely deliberately!)

As we did back in April, we head to the Brookmans pub in the centre of Brookmans Park, postcode AL9 7QW, and park here for free with the clear intention of returning for lunch. We are told on signing up for the free parking in the bar that there is no lunch available today – however we can park here, use the toilets, and intend to return for a post walk drink in the sunshine at one of their outdoor tables.

On leaving the pub car park we turn right towards the station and cross the bridge over the railway line following the road as it bends right and runs parallel to the track. We stay on the pavement of Station Road until we pass the Potterells Medical centre on our left and are approaching the modern-looking Catholic church on our right. Just before the church we cross a stream and, crossing the road here, take a footpath left into a field ahead.

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We follow the path along the left hand edge of this field, today green with unripe wheat, it will surely look spectacular when golden later in the summer.

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We follow this path, with the hedgerow to our left, for quite some time – probably about 20 minutes – until we eventually emerge onto Swanland Road, a fairly busy road running parallel to the A1M. Here we turn left and walk along until we pass a large car repair garage and the Water End cafe on our left. We cross the road here heading to a footpath sign on the far side which takes us immediately right, and climbs steadily to a bridge over the A1M.

Here we deviate slightly – and not exactly deliberately – from the walk instructions. On coming down from the footbridge we take the footpath to our left into a field . A sign here warns us to beware of the bull but as far as we can see there are only sheep in there.

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We follow the path along the edge of the field turning left at it’s corner until we come to a footpath sign out of the field onto a lane. Here we turn left and continue on the lane until it bends to the right signed for the North Mymms Park and here we take a track straight ahead – indicated to be a bridleway.

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We follow this path for quite some time (about half an hour in total), between fields and in and out of woodland. We ignore paths off left and right and head more or less straight on until we finally enter some thicker woodland with a pretty rose covered cottage on our right. Staying on this path through the woods we come out onto the bend of a lane, where we head straight on until we finally emerge beside an impressive property just before Woodhill Farm.

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We take a sharp left here onto a footpath which skirts the edge of the woodland we have just walked through. The path takes us through thicker woods but is easy to follow and fairly quickly we find ourselves crossing a field to another footbridge over the A1M. On descending the bridge on the far side of the road we have to cross the busy Swanland Road again and find that the best way to do this is to double back on ourselves under the footbridge which allows us to cross the road onto a pavement on the far side.

Here we turn immediately right onto a road crossing a stream which, according to a road sign, is apparently prone to flooding. We then turn left before the bridge over Mimmshall brook onto Warrengate Road.

We pass in front of some houses on our left and waterworks on our right, taking a footpath off to the right marked Station Road. Straight away we cross a wooden footbridge over the brook and follow the path ahead between fields and then past Brick Kiln Wood on our left.

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Finally we come out to another footbridge on our right which we cross and then turn left, following the path along the edge of a field. On reaching a gate we turn left, cross another footbridge, turn first left and then right to the track which leads us back towards the railway line and Brookmans Park. This last section is variously difficult and well-nigh impossible to walk along as it is so very overgrown with both nettles and brambles. But with patience and persistence we get through with only a handful of surface scratches and a couple of stings each!

This track eventually brings us out onto Station Road where we turn right back to Brookmans Park station, cross the railway line and finally arrive at the Brookmans pub.

After a brief pitstop for an outdoor coffee at the Brookmans we wend our way back to Muswell Hill via Cockfosters and the delightful Trent Park cafe for an al fresco club sandwich!

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