I will admit that Stanmore Station is not my favourite place, sitting in no obvious location, just where the rail line stopped. A late start today, as I was doing my duties as a councillor all this morning. I will take a minute to locate where I should have emerged from the Park last Sunday, had I used the compass more keenly, then I will head straight out.
Last weekend I could say that I was familiar in some way with most off the villages and suburbs on the route, if not the paths threaded between them. This was the surprise of the route: passing through suburbia with barely a view of suburbia. This weekend though, which should complete the route, I enter the unknown. Also I will enter the more intense townscape of the route, which will be more typical of Middlesex as a whole. Even here though I see parks on the route and open spaces, which are needed for a town to have life.
One set of green spaces I will not enter are those along Pymme’s Brook, as the shallow valley of the brook is in Hertfordshire. While urbanisation has overspread all the sides of the brook and absorbed this long Hertfordshire salient indistinguishably with the rest, the ancient stream reminds us of the ancient bounds.
There is all this to be seen – farms still, and parks, streets with plush villa homes or rows of battered shopfronts, and roads filled with drivers passing heedless of the life of the town around them, new districts, old towns, commons, rivers and canals. I might even find a café that is not part of an anonymous chain, and that elusive fruit bun. All this is yet to be explored.
Right: boots on, and let’s go.
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