82 – High Barnet to Trent Park 7.8 miles – 27th September

In short: return visit to an old favourite. Delightful as ever. A couple of muddy spots so worth the walking boots. Free on street parking; reasonable public toilets at Trent Park and lovely cafe. 2 hrs 50 mins walking + 30 mins pitstop.

We last did this walk almost exactly a year ago – and very lovely it was then too, as always. This time we park a little further up from our usual spot – still on Potters Lane but after the point where the road narrows – where there are houses on both sides. Postcode EN5 5BZ is close enough though to find it.

From where we are parked we retrace our steps to the footpath (part of the London Loop) off on the right of Potters Lane. We immediately head down a few steps and cross the field ahead keeping to the right. We emerge onto the foot of a cul-de-sac where we turn right to follow it up onto the main road, continuing straight ahead until we turn left onto Burnside Close.

This road veers round to the right and we follow it to the end, continuing on the path and turning off left just before the start of another road. We now enter one of those magical London spaces that just seem to open up tardis-like at the backs of houses – now no longer in sight.

We follow the path round and pass under a tree arch to the sight of a wide green hill ascending in front of us. Views on both sides – particularly right – are green, tinged with autumn browns and yellows, far reaching over to the right. A proper lungful of fresh air in the heart of North London.

At the top of the hill we exit this lovely space out onto Hadley Green Road via a gate and here we turn right and cross to walk along a path on the common but parallel with the road.

Houses on the right hand side are stunning and as the path comes to an end we cross the road.

Turning right at the junction at the end we are now heading towards Hadley parish church which we pass on our left, continuing on past the big houses on our right to Monkey Hadley Common on our left.

We cross the road to enter the common and pick a path off right through the trees. The common is pretty narrow here and is bounded ahead by the fenced off railway line, so we just follow our noses picking the least muddy paths through the trees.

After a while, with the metal railway fencing just discernible ahead, we spot a small car park on our right with a clearing just in front of it and we take a path off right. Here we pass some expertly carved tree stumps – which really make us smile!

Turning left onto the path ahead we cross the railway line and bear right at the fork to head slightly downhill through the trees.

From here we follow the path straight ahead – past an area where it opens out to our left with a beautifully planted glade of trees.

We cross a bridge over a stream and take a brief detour off and up left to admire the ever lovely Jack’s Lake.

Continuing on our path we draw alongside a road on our right, Games Road, where we stick to a path on the common until it comes to an end beside an information board.

We continue along the road, turning left onto Chalk Lane and approaching the main road ahead, Cockfosters Road. Here we cross at the traffic island and turn right to the main entrance into Trent Park. We turn left through the gate and walk along the access road to the public toilets in the car park. Clean today if not exactly fabulous.

We then walk across the car park to the delightful cafe where we enjoy a lovely scone/hot cross bun (according to choice!) and super coffee sitting outside at one of their plentiful tables.

After a reviving pitstop we retrace our steps back to Monkey Hadley Common – taking a slightly different route back after the railway line and ending up on the north edge of the common and cutting through the churchyard onto Hadley Green Road.

Turning left to descend the hill back to our parking spot in High Barnet we pass again through the lovely tree arch.

We do see people on this route – especially on the outward leg there are a few dog walkers – but really not many. So this walk has a lovely element of peace to it, despite being just a couple of miles from home.

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