Elstree to Cockfosters

Some photos taken on stage 11 of the London Loop.
Air shaft, Elstree tunnel
Scratchwood Nature reserve
Scratchwood London Loop Board
Approaching the A1

I walked this section on the 31st July 2005, a month and a day since I had done the previous stage. This stage starts with a section of road walking, passing some air shafts over the Elstree rail tunnel on the way, (photo 1), before turning between houses and entering the Scratchwood nature reserve, (photo 2).
While walking through the Scratchwood nature reserve I came across a police witness board next to the London Loop display post, (photo 3). This got me thinking about a number of things. Firstly the message on the board was quite strange as it said the following "SERIOUS ASSAULT Any victim or witness of an assault or robbery on Sat 16th or Sun 17th July 05 please come forward". I can understand appealing for witnesses but the appeal for victims too seems odd and led me to ponder for some time over what the circumstances where that led to the sign being placed there. It also got me thinking about issues of personal safety when walking. This is not something I usually worry about or consider when out. As I was wondering these thoughts the loop path made its way to the edge of the reserve and the A1, (photo 4).

Underpass under the A1
Loop path nr Hendon Wood Lane
Dollis Brook

There then followed what is probably one of the worse bits of the loop path because although the loop path continued more or less straight ahead the only way to cross the road involves a long detour down the A1 to an underpass, (photo 5) and then an equally long walk up the other side of the road before the entrance into Moat Mount open space, where the Dollis Valley greenwalk also starts. The route of the path was a bit unclear here and not paying attention I missed the turn off to the left near the start of the woods which is not that clearly marked however it meant I got to visit the pond in Nut wood before retracing my steps and taking the correct path.
Photo 6 was taken a bit further on as the loop path heads towards Hendon Wood Lane and the source of the Dollis Brook. It was only when I got home I realised how similar the photo is to that which appears on pages 122-123 on the London Loop path guide book. The path turns off Hendon Wood Lane, which at least had pavement to walk on, through some playing fields where I spotted the roller in photo 7 lying in a ditch, deliberate or accidental?
The path then makes its way for some distance through a number of fields beside the Dollis Brook, (photo 8), towards the outskirts of Barnet.

Barnet FC ground
Barnet tube station
Path towards Hadley Green
Loop sign board at Hadley Green

The path then splits from the Dollis Hill Greenwalk and passes through Underhill, past the home of Barnet Football club, (photo 9).This brought back many memories as it was a ground I went to many times to see Maidstone United play in the 80's and early 90's. The path then crosses the main road before climbing up round the back of Barnet tube station, (photo 10), and heading towards Hadley Green, (photos 11 and 12).
Hadley Green itself was quite an interesting place with a number of fine houses and interesting buildings such as the Almshouses, (photo 13) and the Hadley Green church, (photo 14). The loop path follows the Hadley common road for a while, passing the lovely fir tree in photo 15 before heading into the wooded remains of Hadley common for the final section of this stage of the path into Cockfosters and the Cockfosters tube station, (photo 16). Some of this section of the loop path is shared with the Pymmes Brook Trail which follows the course of the Pymmes Brook from here to the River Lea near Edmonton. From Cockfosters it should have been a quick trip home however the tube line was still shut from Arnos Grove due to the London bombings earlier in the month which meant almost an hour on the bus. As we approached the Walthamstow the bus had to halt as the road was closed due to a fire brigade incident so I ended up walking the final mile home!

Sir Roger Wilbrahams Almhouses
Hadley Green Church
Tree, Hadley Green
Cockfosters Tube Station

The GPS made this stage, 10.4 miles long, both stations are more or less on the loop path itself.

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