Why hello there! It’s my pleasure to welcome you on my next walking adventure of the capital. Today’s walk is a picturesque stroll through some of the park’s in the North London Borough of Enfield as I explore areas including Southgate and Cockfosters. I’ll start in Arnos Park, then head to Grovelands Park, before concluding in Trent Country Park. If you enjoy walks through parks and woodlands, you’re in for a treat!
My journey begins in Arnos Park, which is located in Southgate, North London. The park’s history dates back to the late-19th century when large estates in the area began to be broken up for suburban housing development. Arnos Park was subsequently created in 1928 when Southgate Council purchased 44 acres (17.8 hectares) of woodland and meadowland that was formerly part of the Arnos Grove Estate.
The estate was originally called Arnolds and was owned by Sir John Weld’s family in the 17th century. Between 1777 and 1918 it was owned by the Walker family of the Taylor Walker Brewing Company. After the Walker family purchased more land, the size of the estate had grown to 44 acres (17.8 hectares) when Lord Iverforth eventually purchased it in 1918. Issac Walker would improve the grounds throughout the early-19th century, including creating 3 miles of pleasure walks. Southgate Council purchased the land in 1928 and opened it up to the public.
The park is located along the Pymmes Brook Trail, which stretches 13 miles (21km) through Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. Named after local landowner William Pymme, the trail goes from Hadley Green to Tottenham Hale, where it connects with the Lea Valley Walk. The Pymmes Brook river is a minor tributary of the River Lea, which flows along Arnos Park as well as the Pymmes Brook Trail.
Arnos Park is a really charming spot to stroll through and the river makes it even more delightful. It’s another lovely reminder of how lucky Londoners are to have such vast open green spaces for them to enjoy. One of my favourite sights to see when exploring nature is the sun glistening on the river and my walk provided this perfectly. Also a park is never complete without either a pond or a river, it just adds more character and beauty to it. Nothing beats the sound of a cascading waterfall and the sight of trees and woodland amongst the river’s edge. Also the bridges over the river give it that extra special hidden gem feel.
I’ll now leave Arnos Park and head to the next destination on my walk, Grovelands Park! Located in Southgate and Winchmore Hill, Grovelands Park’s history dates back to 1797 when a mansion initially called Southgate Grove was built and designed by John Nash for Walker Gray, a Quaker brewer. After Gray’s death the property was acquired by John Donnithorne Taylor whose family continued to live at Grovelands up until the First World War. Part of the estate was purchased by the Municipal Borough of Southgate in 1913 to become a public park. The entrance to the park has the grand Inverforth Gates, which were given to the area by Lord Inverforth of Southgate who created and headed the firm of Andrew Weir and Co. shipowners of Glasgow.
Walking around the park provides a pleasant tranquility and its glorious open green spaces with wonderful trees really are outstanding natural beauty.
A prominent feature of Grovelands Park is its picturesque lake, which was part of the Southgate Grove Estate. It’s a really photogenic sight in the park with the reflection of the trees in the water adding to the pretty nature of the lake area. When the skies are blue and the sun is out, lakes come into their own and look ever so lovely. It’s a real hub and hive of activity with lots of birds, especially ducks, flying and swimming in the lake.
As you walk around the lake there’s also an enchanting woodland area, with many trees as far as the eye can see.
There’s a step waterfall that passes from the lake down to the woodland, which is quite mesmerising and a quirky feature I’ve never really seen on my walks! You could watch the water from the lake trickling down the steps for hours as it meanders its way down the woodland.
A walk past the waterfall and woodland around the lake provides yet more stunning tree and greenery views.
It’s time to move onto my final stop on today’s walk around North London, Trent Country Park. With over 400 acres (161 hectares) of wonderful woodland, rolling meadows, enchanting views and sublime scenery, Trent Country Park is an unbelievable place to visit.
Trent Park dates back to the 14th century when it was part of Enfield Chase, one of Henry IV’s hunting grounds. In 1777, George III leased the site to Sir Richard Jebb, who was a doctor that had saved the life of the King’s younger brother, the then Duke of Gloucester. Jebb derived the name ‘Trent’ because it was in Trent, Italy, that the King’s brother had been saved. Subsequently, Jebb acquired the freehold in the house and on this death it was sold to Lord Cholmondeley.
In 1836, David Bevan, a banker, bought the house for his son Robert Cooper Lee Bevan. In 1909, the estate was sold to Sir Edward Sassoon, father of Phillip Sassoon (cousin of the poet Siegfried Sassoon). Sir Philip Sassoon inherited the estate in 1912 upon his father’s death and went on to entertain many notable guests at Trent Park, including Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. Sir Philip Sassoon died in 1939 and the house was requisitioned by the government for use during the Second World War.
In 1947, the estate became a Ministry of Education emergency training college, until the area was purchased by Middlesex County Council as greenbelt land. In 1965, the Greater London Council took over the administration of the park until the London Borough of Enfield opened it to the public in 1973.
When you walk up the road to the park, you pass by a vast amount of sublime looking trees.
On one side of the road there’s Trent Park Golf Club, but on the other is the stunning sight of some of the most amazing trees I’ve ever seen in London. The towering trees look absolutely breathtaking and they do remind me of the giant redwoods I saw in Muir Woods in San Francisco. It does have a National Park feel about it, rather than a countryside one, or even that it’s in London!
When you walk past the trees there’s a delightful and picturesque countryside area, which has rolling hills, pretty trees and splendid sights everywhere you look – a really amazing 360 degree view. It does always amaze me just how much countryside greenery London has and Trent Country Park is a true hidden gem that you’d never know about unless you stumbled upon it.
Entering one of the main areas of the country park sees me past this cute little cottage, further reinforcing that country feel!
Right next to this quaint little tea room stands The Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, which is a charity formed in 1985 run by June and Barry Smitherman. The charity rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured, orphaned or trapped wild animals and birds, then releases them back to the wild once they have recovered. Such a marvellous organisation!
The park also has an enchanting woodland area that pleasantly surprises you when you stroll through it.
When you walk out the woodland you get to enjoy more awe-inspiring views, which highlight the incredible vastness of the country park and the feeling you’re in the middle of somewhere outside of London. Seeing all this beautiful countryside always brings a real smile to my face and makes me so glad that I love walking and running this blog, as I wouldn’t find these places if I didn’t, given that I’d not normally be in areas such as Trent Country Park!
That’s all from me on this edition of the London Wlogger, which has seen me explore some of North London’s best treasures in Southgate, Enfield and Cockfosters. Hope you’ve enjoyed joining me and please do share your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading and in the meantime you can follow all my walks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to sign up to my blog too so you don’t miss a post! Also why not have a read of my other walks which explore all over London, from north to south, to west to east via central, there’s something there for you! 🙂 And don’t forget to read my very special walk of San Francisco! Here are the links to them all below for you!
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