The weather forecast was for heavy rain until midday and when 10 Polyramblers set off at Hadley Wood station it was absolutely tipping it down. I was impressed that everyone had turned up and no one had cried off because of the weather. It goes to show just how tough we Polyramblers are. It takes more than a drop of rain to deter us. The footpath from the station took us into the village of Hadley Wood where we came out on to a road lined with neat and individual homes built to look like miniature palaces which I had heard were popular with some north London footballers. Someone pointed out that they did not have enough privacy for footballers. I said that may be these footballers were championship rather premier league players.
The first part of the walk took us across fields and over busy roads and, until we got beyond the M25, we were conscious of the constant drone of heavy traffic in the background, even in the midst of an otherwise tranquil wood.
By now the rain had eased off and we were able to put our umbrellas down. We stopped for lunch in the peaceful Northaw wood and although the ground was sodden it was a lovely place to have our picnic. The path out of the wood led into the charming quiet village of Northaw. It was a good thing we had not relied on the pub for lunch as it was not open though an Indian gastropub further up the road seemed to be doing a roaring trade.
After a short stretch of road walking we turned off on to a footpath. This was the footpath that was so muddy and slippery when I did the walk-over in January. After heavy rain it was muddy still. Probably the most unusual feature we encountered on the walk was a folly arch. Built in the eighteenth century to look like a medieval castle, it was in fact a gated arch. This is all that remains of the buildings of the Gobions estate which once contained a large manor house and a pleasure garden. The Gobions estate is now a nature reserve with a very pleasant lake and wood. Emerging the other side, it was a short walk into the town of Brookman’s Park and the end of our walk. A number of us decided to treat ourselves to liquid refreshments in a nearby pub garden before going to get train back to London.