To celebrate my 75th birthday, I offered to lead a walk from Hendon Central to Hampstead on May Day Bank Holiday Monday. However, I did not expect to see twenty-nine Poly Ramblers when I arrived at the start point! After a ‘brief’ briefing, the group crossed into Hendon Park with its Holocaust memorial Garden and then walked along some residential roads before joining a strip of woodland running beside the River Brent. Despite the presence of the adjacent North Circular Road, it was a pleasant spot with a number of ponds popular with wildlife. Further on, we joined the Dollis Hill Greenwalk which took us to a local nature reserve consisting of Little Wood followed by Big Wood. A disused amphitheatre was seen in the former and numerous bluebells in the latter. We were now in Hampstead Garden Suburb and, in the Central Square, we admired the two fine churches designed by Edwin Lutyens and the imposing Edwardian buildings of the Henrietta Barnet School. We then crossed the wide-open spaces of the Hampstead Heath Extension, passed the remains of the planned North End Northern line station and reached our lunch stop in Golders Hill Park. After refreshments in the cafe or picnics on the grass, we adjourned to the nearby Bull & Bush pub for a drink on the patio and a rendition of Happy Birthday! We returned to the park for the last leg of the walk up to Whitestone Pond via the hidden gardens of Inverforth House and then through the back streets of Hampstead to the endpoint of the Northern line station. All in all, a very enjoyable way of celebrating my birthday.
Photos courtesy of Maggie Carman, Meng Lim, Nita Patel, Susan James & Gillian Swan