29 – Trent Park perimeter 4.8 miles – 1st September

In short: a shorter Trent Park walk than number 14 but a lovely discovery walk with beautiful views and plenty of shady woodland on a warm day. Clean, well-maintained public toilets at the start & end; great cafe for a delicious sandwich and coffee. 1 hr 50 mins walking + 30 mins pitstop.

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Another gorgeous sunny day and we head out to Trent Park in Cockfosters to attempt to walk the full perimeter of the park this time – I have walked in this park numerous times but there are whole sections that remain undiscovered and I’m hoping to explore a couple of these today.

We park in the large free car park at the Cockfosters entrance to the park, postcode EN4 0DZ. There are plentiful and generally well-maintained public toilets here. After making use of the facilities we head out of the car park on the path through the woods behind the ice cream kiosk parked beside the cafe. The path here is waymarked for the London Loop and has the distinctive green sign on a post.

The path descends slightly through the woods – very popular with dog walkers – and curves to the right after a short while following the edge of the woods so that we now have a field on our left beyond the trees. We cross a bridge over a stream and emerge from the woods to the foot of a meadow sloping up and away on our right.

This path meets another running right to left downhill and we turn left in front of a gate into more woods. This path curves around right with a large fishing pond on our right. So far we have been following our usual route – as in walk 14. But now, just as we reach the pond we take a path on our left uphill through some bushes and with the same field seen from the woods still on our left.

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At the top of the slope we turn left onto another path and enter more woodland. This path immediately bends right but we want to head further into the woods so we take a less distinct path left and then right into the heart of the woods. There are a number of paths to choose from here but we want to get to the far side – only a couple of hundred metres – where the park perimeter is.

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Just before the edge of the woods there is a fairly clear path and we turn right onto it – the edge of the woods with a field beyond and Ferny Hill road beyond that are on our left.  After a few more metres we emerge briefly from the woods to stand in front of the obelisk which is a feature of the park.

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We cross a wide grassy path coming uphill from our right – with gorgeous views away downhill through the park to the manor house at it’s centre:

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We carry straight on into the woodland beyond and very soon come to the fence surrounding Camlet Moat on our left. This is a really picturesque spot so we enter through the gate and walk around the ‘moat’ – a very still woodland pond with a mix of legend and history set out for us on the information boards.

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When we return to another gate (a short distance from the one we entered through) we go out of it and turn left to resume the path we were on before. We very soon cross a tarmacced path beside a small car park and continue on the path now marked ‘Bridal (sic) path’. We are still more or less tracking the edge of the woods – and in fact can hear the cars passing on nearby Ferny Hill which marks the edge of the park. After a short while we reach the far edge of the woods and turn right on the bridle path to start our descent through the woods with farmland now on our left.

At the foot of the hill we cross a stream on a wooden bridge and take the path ahead up through more trees. At the top there is a junction of paths and we turn right here. This section of the walk – the bridle path down and then uphill and this current path are all very familiar to us from our usual walks in Trent Park. This path very soon becomes a lane with the fenced off area of the old University buildings on our right and a number of cottages on our left.

When we reach the junction at the end of this lane, instead of turning right to head back into the centre of the park we turn left and head down an access road, past the hockey club on our right and with a golf course on our left.

We pass some open scrubland on our right and then more woods but there is no apparent path back into the park until just as the road bends left we decide to enter the woods on our right and almost immediately find ourselves on a path. This heads through the trees for a few metres and then turns right just in front of the railway line.

We follow this path for a while – we are very close to the train line as it is just the other side of a wire fence. Then it gradually departs from the line to go through more trees before bending right and emerging into open meadow land with beautiful views across to our right. This whole area is a real discovery and we don’t see anyone else for a good ten minutes while we continue across a couple of meadows and through more trees until we come out onto a large grassy area in front of the access road into the park.

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We keep to the right of the grass with hedgerow to our right until we cross a stream on our right and emerge next to the Go Ape outdoor adventure area where we turn left back into the car park with the cafe on the far side.

It is such a lovely day that we take a bench outside and indulge in a slightly early lunch – they do serve the most delicious club sandwiches here. Another beautiful local walk – just strenuous enough to feel like exercise!

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