Oh for a last hoorah, a walk amidst green fields before the light is lost. I have passed the last Middlesex farmland, if not the last green lungs on the route.
At the beginning of the afternoon I headed out to Bury Farm at Edgwarebury, and a smart farm it is, with grazing grooming busily continuing and I am intruder amongst it all. I was aware of the threat on the horizon, and the looming towers are ever-present, as it the roar of the M25, but at least that passes by without spreading from its track.
Later, after beating through the various forms of Edgware through which the Middlesex Greenway runs, the townscape merged without break into Mill Hill, about which I wrote in my last post.
I followed the streets of Mill Hill according to the careful trace on my map, until I reached the village end of the place.
From this village, the route runs out of the edge of the conurbation, which gave way to open fields between Burtonhole Farm and the Old Camdenians sports ground; a careful choice of track here: it is the bridleway running beneath the trees.
(About 400 yards to the north of here, the Folly Brook marks the border of Hertfordshire: a finger of the latter county which jabs deep into the conurbation, which is why I go no further north.) There is a sudden south turn in the route shortly afterwards to avoid trespassing into Totteridge across the border.
Burtonhole Farm is not the last though: the lane emerges in a farm where horses are grazing and in the yard, several pupils were having riding lessons, and beyond the well-kept stables and the buildings there was the open land, full of life.
What it must do to the soul of those developers who seeing a single blade of grass treat it with such searing resentment or jealousy. The smiles on the farms tell of a better way.
Still, people need places away from farms to live, and that is where we return when the last farm is passed. Even in the suburban places though, the route will follow a string of parks, and remember that these broad acres of greensward are what is left of what was once farmland. At present I am writing from the Arnos Arms by Arnos Grove station. That though is another story.
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