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Life Line

Walking the London LOOP - part 16

Two months, getting married and a honeymoon later, it was finally time to continue walking the loop. Section 16 is the longest at 11 miles so we didn't double it up as we have done before.

The section starts at Elstree, which would have been two stops on the Overground to West Hampstead and a Thames Link train to get to. But it being Sunday that didn't quite work. Instead we had to catch a Rail Replacement Bus to West Hampstead, which luckily turned up quickly.

After getting to Elstree, and turning on the GPS we set off. The first stretch was along a residential road that became steeper and steeper the further we got along it.

At the top we turned left and proceeded besides busy Barnet Lane, passing two odd looking structures, which later turned out to be airvents for the Midland Main Line that we just got to Elstree by.

After the hill, we continued and followed a path into a forest, Scratch Wood. Together with Moat Mount Open Space they are a local nature reserve. However, to get to Moat Mount Open Space, we had to make a nasty detour past the A1/Barnet Way.

Moat Mount Open Space is also the start of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk, which you can follow all the way to Hampstead Heath. Wikepedia tells me that this is meant to be a link between the LOOP and the Capital Ring, one of our likely future walking projects.

In any case, the Greenway passes by some open spaces before crossing Hendon Wood Lane. Just after the lane we came upon a non-public path, that is open all year round, except for February 28th... not quite sure what the reason for that is!. We met a friendly horse, and soon we started following Dollis Brook. First through farm land, but then soon through parks. At the end, just before hitting the Northern Line we went North and stopped at the Old Red Lion for a refreshing pint.

After the pint we continued past the High Barnet tube depot before climbing up the hill through King George's Fields up to Hadley Common. This climb was a bit longer than we liked, but the weather was good, a pint had been drunk and the view was great. At the top we crossed the street on to Hadley Green. Here the houses are looking a lot larger and priciers than the houses down in Barnet.

The east side of the green feature several mansions, and is also the home to the Wilbraham Almshouses. After passing St. Mary the Virgin we crossed into Monken Hadley Common, also called Hadley Woods for the remainder of the walk. After a quick detour to have a look at Jack's Lake we made it to Cockfosters, the end of the section.

The weather was mostly sunny with a few clouds at the start, and a few more at the finish. It was warm at 26Β°C and not nearly as humid as we feared. We took four hours and a bit for this section's 19.0km.

The photos that I took on this section, as well as the photos of the other sections of the LOOP, are available as a Flickr set.


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