Brookmans Park to Potters Bar via Water End, North Mymms, and Ridge; 8 November 2014

On Saturday we went for a walk. The weather was mostly grey and overcast, and rather windy. Although heavy rain had been forecast only from around 5:00 pm onwards (and it duly arrived, in style), there was quite a bit of drizzle earlier in the day as well.

We caught a train from Harringay station, north, to Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, and walked to Potters Bar, the next station to the south. Our circuitous route took in the hamlets of Water End and North Mymms, and the village of Ridge.

Exiting from Brookmans Park station, we headed south-west on a footpath through fields, turning due west alongside an unnamed stream that joined the larger Mimmshall Brook. At Water End – so-called because the Mimmshall Brook disappears just north of here into several ‘swallow holes’ – we crossed the A1 (M) motorway and soon reached the church at North Mymms, where we stopped for lunch.

It began to rain as we sat in the churchyard and I cursed the weather forecasters who had predicted it would stay dry until after sunset. But, mercifully, the rain stopped temporarily and we continued south through North Mymms Park. The scenery was pleasantly rolling and wooded, but there was no glimpse to be had of the park’s large Jacobean house, North Mymms Place, which since 1992 has been owned by Glaxo and operated by the pharmaceutical and healthcare giant as a corporate training centre.

Emerging from North Mymms Park onto Blackhorse Lane, we headed west to St. Albans Road and a crossing under the M25. Just beyond the motorway, we took a footpath south and quickly reached a gate where a badly written and punctuated sign warned of elderly and infirm animals on the loose.

Here, at the RSPCA’s Southridge Centre, a variety of animals rescued by the charity are kept and cared for, pending being rehomed. As we crossed a succession of muddy paddocks, we saw several women putting dogs through their paces, with horses looking on.

Catherine Bourne, nr. South Mimms, Herts.
Above: Ford crossing Catherine Bourne

Further south, we got slightly lost, and also had to contend with a brook – the Catherine Bourne – which our footpath crossed by means of a ford. Luckily, we were able to find a detour leading to a footbridge across the water, and we continued past Deeves Hall to the churchyard at Ridge. As we sat down on a bench for a short break and an Eat Natural bar, the rain began again, but this time in earnest.

Ridge, Herts.
Above: St. Margaret’s Church, Ridge

From Ridge, we trudged east towards Potters Bar, passing the Old Guinea pub and a preserved WWII pillbox. As we were walking along Crossoaks Lane, we spotted a rather poorly looking rabbit huddled at the kerbside. It seemed reluctant to move, but we eventually succeeded in encouraging it to relocate itself across the lane into the relative safety of a hedge and the woods beyond.

Having crossed the M25 and A1 (M) again, in the process passing through parts of South Mimms, we had trouble finding our way in the near-dark to the Mimmshall Brook and Bridgefoot Lane. We had walked this part of the route before, but have got lost on both occasions for some reason.

With the rain now bucketing down relentlessly, we finally hit the outskirts of Potters Bar, continuing to the railway station and a train home to Harringay.

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