It was an odd clash of cultures I started through, from the busy town, Barnet, just after 9 am and its accompanying sports field to the stream trying its best to preserve its natural dignity amidst the trespassing hand of man. There is no path on the western bank, the Hertfordshire side as this is the land of the South Herts Golf Club, and so I gingerly trod the Middlesex bank, keeping a look-out for hostiles, though here they tend not to wield pitchforks but smartphones. (which is odd – you can’t drive off invaders with an iPhone, not pick up a bale of hay, so what use are they?)
As soon as the golf course finished I waded across the Dollis Brook (if it is wading when the stream is just an inch deep) only to find there is a bridge, and followed the brook all the way down to Totteridge Lane, where I had to resume on Middlesex soil. until again I could cross.
At the southern edge of Totteridge is a perfect village pond beside a farmhouse and a cottage. The path then runs down over a broad heathland and woodland lower down, through which I walked, down to a lake surrounded by woods. From here I walked paths through farmland, grazed by great black cattle. All this is marked on maps as ‘the London Borough of Barnet’, but can any bureaucrat see all this and seriously label it ‘London’? This is Hertfordshire land as sure as any.
I had some double-takes as I was using the same Ordnance Survey Explorer 173 ‘London North’ on which I marked the Middlesex Greenway and the two paths are so close here that I had to keep reminding myself which pencil line I was following.
At last, after a long perambulation across the heath and farmland I came to the meadows of Totteridge, which must be one of my favourite villages in Hertfordshire.
All along Totteridge Common – the houses, oh the houses! Eventually I passed a house named ‘Boundary House’ after which the road suddenly became louder, more uncouth: I had left Hertfordshire.
Somewhere in the woods I got lost. I took a footpath through the woods, another short incursion into Middlesex, to avoid the road, and it was pretty indeed, but somehow I ended up on the A1. (I will have to come back and explore it from the other end to get the right track.). Thereafter it was a long walk along the road runs along the border to Elstree Village.
See: Hertfordshire Border Walk
Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.