A mixed bag so far this afternoon. Stanmore (which I belied: there are some very nice houses past the station)nis the edge of the conurbation, and after less than a mile the route escapes the town and enters the countryside. The route leads first in a wild loop north far away from the direct route, to Edgware Bury, a farm (this is a greenway, after all). There is a problem with the first escape though: the corner by the roundabout, shown green on the map, is a scoured waste with a giant, black billboard at its entrance, and beneath the black I could read the deadly name “Barratt”. The path I had planned was all Eintritt verboten, and the mapped public footpath had disappeared (at both ends) but a farm track eventually led away from the waste to the farm.
It is rich pasture here. If you think that everything a bureaucrat labels “London” is London, this is what proves him wrong, as a wandered through farmland – Middlesex farmland.
After the farmstead and another meandering mile along a lovely autumnal footpath through tree, reaching suburban Edgware is however inevitable. From entering the northern edge of Edgware, it is a long stretch of road walking. There are odd breathing spaces: a hidden park with a little lake in Edgware, but even this is hemmed in between streets, and leads to the underpass beneath the railway and the M1. Across the M1 the streets resume.
Mill Hill is a bewildering contrast: pure London-suburb where it merges with Edgware and around the Broadway, with the motorway and the A1 dashing past getting people out of London as fast as they can (a note: take the underpass beneath the vast roundabout), but then after several attempts at becoming a village further east, it has finally succeeded.
I have stopped at The Summerhouse café in the Finchley Nurseries just off the route (good scones, but the way, and wifi).
More to be done now though. The night is young.
This section looks complicated on the map, but the path in the open fields is not too bad: the street sections need more care, and there has been a lot more of that so far than in the first part of the route.
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