In short: back to an old favourite for a very miserable day. Great yomp though. Plentiful parking in free public car park, functional clean public toilets and lovely as ever cafe to finish. 2 hrs 20 mins walking + 40 mins pitstop.
This old favourite of a walk is as detailed in walk number 14 (and then again walk 61) – but given the evil weather today there aren’t as many photos as on previous occasions.
A brief run through of today’s walk goes as follows: after parking in the free car park, postcode EN4 0DZ and making use of the public toilets we zip up our waterproofs and head along the path marked for the London Loop just after the cafe on the left.
Through the woods and following the path round to the right we come out on the left hand side of a meadow and follow this to a T-junction. Here we turn left and pass the pond on our right and the wide grassy path up to the obelisk on our left to the the next path on the left at a junction.
Near the top of the hill we branch off left and here we become slightly disorientated… Despite having walked this route a number of times we convince ourselves that we have gone wrong – I think it’s something to do with autumn, the semi-leafless trees and the paths becoming less clear with the sheer volume of leaves on the ground. We retrace our steps back to the branched off path and continue straight on until we are sure that this is definitely wrong – we are almost in another car park and much too far east. We retrace our steps once more back to where we were originally and continue straight on – almost immediately coming on a familiar path off right up to the road with a view of the obelisk over our left shoulders.
We turn left at the road, Ferny Hill, and cross to a lay-by on the far side taking the path off right downhill between two fields. We follow this to the very bottom where we turn right and continue along the bottom of the valley for quite some distance until we come out on a farm track – passing a duck pond (even the ducks have taken shelter on this filthy day) and over a stile to a final field.
We pass beside an electric fence and follow the path as it bends left uphill along the field edge to a wood where the path heads off right through a kissing gate into the woodland.
Coming out of the woods we are once again on a field edge and we hug the left hand side till we come to a stile over the fence and here we turn right along the road, The Ridgeway. We turn right onto Oak Avenue and right again at the end onto Hadley Road which we follow for quite some distance till we come to the corner of Trent Park again over on our right.
Here we cross the road and re-enter the woods via a gap beside a broken stile. We follow what appears to be a bridle path along the edge of the woods with a view across fields to our left. At the foot of the slope we join a path over on our right, cross a footbridge and head uphill along a wide path through woodland.
At a junction of paths we head straight on along a path which soon becomes a lane, past some houses on our right and the demolition/building works which are still ongoing on our right. We turn right at the signs for the animal rescue centre and on reaching a road we cross it, the triangle of green ahead and then another road to pass through a gate and head steadily down through more woods.
Yet again we are slight disorientated by the sparse woodland and rather than heading to the lake at the bottom we seem to end up veering left and exiting the woods opposite the path we originally came out on. We therefore go straight on along the bottom edge of the meadow to the woods ahead and shortly thereafter arrive back at the car park and the welcome warmth of the cafe.
After making a disgusting mess of our seats (we are genuinely soaked through!) and enjoying a couple of fabulous sandwiches and well-deserved coffees – we slink off back to our car and the return journey home to dry off!