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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

London Loop: Day 12: Cockfosters to Enfield Lock

Trent Country Park
The lovely woodland of Trent Country Park is only minutes from Cockfosters

Although this isn't one of the most stunning walks on the Loop, it is pleasantly rural, and it does have a couple of highlights that make it worthwhile. When I walked from Cockfosters to Enfield Lock the long, hot summer of 2003 had taken its toll and the normally green spaces the walk passes through were dry, dusty and brown, but with a little imagination it wasn't hard to see how pleasant this part of the world must be in kinder climates.

Into the Greenery

Enfield Chase
The sweeping vista over Enfield Chase

Right from the word go this walk is a rural one; if you're looking for a pleasant stroll for you and your dog, you could do a lot worse than this section. From Cockfosters tube station the Loop takes about two minutes to slip into the countryside, starting off with a woodland wander through Trent Country Park, which has a pleasant café that would be a perfect resting place if it wasn't so early on in the walk (if you're stringing days 11 and 12 together into one long day, then this would make a great lunch stop). Assuming you'd rather build up a thirst before taking a break – and there's a great pub later on that's spot on if you do – the Loop dives into Enfield Chase, a pretty country estate that's halfway between being manicured and wild. As you walk up the hill after the lakes, don't miss the corridor that links the house of Trent Park on your right and the obelisk on your left. It might be pointless but it's pretty, and just up the hill are some pleasant wooden benches that provide a good view of the estate, and make a good spot for a bit of contemplation; if you've already had a long journey to get to Cockfosters then this is a good place for lunch.

The bandstand in Hilly Fields Park
The bandstand in Hilly Fields Park

Forty Winks

Forty Hall
Forty Hall was designed by Inigo Jones

From the pub the path follows the Turkey Brook once more, and although it's easy to take the wrong turning (as I did), if you make sure you keep the brook to your left you can't go far wrong. You have to navigate your way over the New River, a manmade river that was dug in the early 17th Century to carry water into London, but it's worth the effort because after walking through some dank fishing pools you come out of the woods and there, to your right, is Forty Hall. The Loop goes straight on, but I highly recommend the short detour to explore Forty Hall; it's arguably the highlight of this section, even though technically it's not on the Loop.