Dave Sergeant

The London Loop is a walking route of 150 miles length around the outer boundaries of London split into 24 sections. I am currently walking the loop and this is a blog of a few sections. See tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/loop-walk for more details.

London Loop Section 15a - Hatch End to Stanmore - 3rd July 2019

Section 14   Section 15b

Report of my London Loop walk yesterday, from Hatch End to Stanmore, the first part of leg 15.

Getting to the start was the first hurdle. Although the trains seemed to be running on time the underground was a bit different. Dashed onto a tube train sitting on the platform at Waterloo only to find it sat and sat there. It seemed somebody on the train in front had pulled the emergency lever. 10 minutes later we were off, but the train only went as far as Queens Park, so another change to get me to the end of the Bakerloo line and then on Overground for another two stops to Hatch End. Hatch End underground station is one of the most ornate on the whole network. So almost 11.30 by the time I reached the start of the Loop a short distance through its suburbia.

Shirt sleeves (with hat) trip today, it was even warmer than forecast so bottled water in my pack.

I had seen reports in some of the reviews that this was a very poorly maintained leg of the loop and indeed just yards from the start I encountered this. For the next half mile I battled through brambles and nettles and emerged with my clothes covered with all sorts of vegetation. Fortunately I didn't encounter the large tree blocking the path one walker had found. It seems from the chatting I heard the other side of the hedge that the official path is abandoned in favour of the far easier way in the field adjacent.

But it had compensations. At a couple of places there were huge swarms of pretty butterflies feeding off the blossom.

Having cleared all these obstructions and crossed the main Euston railway line I was getting a bit peckish so stopped off at the garden centre along the road - an absolutely huge chilli-con-carni jacket potato with salad. I notice that all these garden centres seem designed for car visitors only with no dedicated pedestrian entry.

On with the loop, after a short stretch of woodland I crossed Grim's Dyke Golf Club with Hartsbourne Country Club course the other side of the hedge. Here I had to follow a line of white posts which I achieved without needing one their buggies this time. Plenty of golfers taking shots so a sharp lookout needed.

Then into woods again and Grim's Dyke (or Grim's Ditch) was reached. Followed the earthwork for a while but it was not really photographable and most of it not really visible through the trees. Path signs a bit ambiguous around here but got some help from a passer by who knew where the Loop went. Passed a couple of small lakes (as the chap said, they were pretty empty due to lack of rain) and reached here:

Old Redding picnic area and viewpoint. This is one of the two best sights of London on the loop (the other is at Addington Hill which I passed on leg 4). Some view. The guidebook suggested giving this a miss as it involves crossing a road a couple of times but it was well worth the diversion.

Next door is The Case is Altered that I had originally thought would be a suitable lunch stop. An ancient history and recently refurbished but looked almost deserted when I passed. The garden centre was the better choice, that was a hive of activity.

Then we pass through more woodland and into Bentley Priory open space. Just visible through the trees is Bentley Priory, once the home of RAF Fighter command but now the Battle of Britain museum - possibly somewhere to go on a later trip. After this the idea was to continue on to Stanmore Common then take the suggested walk through there to Stanmore underground. But I got lost in the first part of the common so decided it best to retrace my steps and catch the bus down. Relatively easy trip home but still around 2.5 hours, getting back here at 5.30. Nice day and a reasonable section of the loop despite what some of the reviews said.

Section 14   Section 15b