25 May 2017 | 14.2 °C

Nature-ist: The Pymmes Brook Trail

By Lindsey Last edited 71 months ago
Nature-ist: The Pymmes Brook Trail
Pymmes Brook at the entrance to Arnos Park from Arnos Grove
Pymmes Brook at the entrance to Arnos Park from Arnos Grove
Spot the tube train through the trees
Spot the tube train through the trees
That handsome viaduct carries the Piccadilly line between Arnos Grove and Southgate
That handsome viaduct carries the Piccadilly line between Arnos Grove and Southgate
Plane Tree leaves and fruit
Plane Tree leaves and fruit
The covered path that leads from the end of Arnos Park - good for blackberrying
The covered path that leads from the end of Arnos Park - good for blackberrying
We assume the 'incident' isn't anything to do with the traffic cone
We assume the 'incident' isn't anything to do with the traffic cone
The brook under a green canopy
The brook under a green canopy
A huge oak
A huge oak
From small acorns...
From small acorns...
Desire line up the other side of the brook to who knows where
Desire line up the other side of the brook to who knows where
The shopping trolley at the end of the trail
The shopping trolley at the end of the trail

What is it? Pymmes Brook is a tributary of the River Lea that flows through Picketts Lock to Cockfosters, passing through several beautiful north London parks along its way.

Where is it? The Pymmes Brook Trail is a signposted 10 mile walk with lots of possible joining points. We started at Arnos Park, right by Arnos Grove Station and walked to Osidge Lane, Southgate near Brunswick Park.

Why has it tickled our fancy? We chose a stretch that combines gorgeous open parkland with a more woody and discreet pathway along the brook. It's a level, hard surface route so accessible and easy going and the trail offers an array of wildlife habitats and views.

Local trivia: Arnos Grove derives from the 14th century 'Arnoldes Estate' which morphed into Arno's until the apostrophe was dropped around the 18th century.

Nature notes: Arnos Park was created in 1928 out of 44 acres of wood and meadow. It is largely grassy fields ripe for sunbathing and impromptu football matches but edged and dotted with mature trees. Pymmes Brook flows the length of the park and is pretty with weeping willows and undergrowth that's been allowed to run wilder than the rest of the park. The formal path is a hop, skip and jump from the brook but you can get up close and wander along the water's edge. We're pretty sure we saw a heron take flight and head off towards the North Circular.

At the end of Arnos Park the trail becomes a path sandwiched between residential roads and overhung by a canopy of trees. The brook runs along one side with its natural woodland and low bushes abut people's sheds and back gardens. Blackberry bushes and dog roses were abuzz with bees in the hedgerow and squirrels were rummaging in the undergrowth.

Further on the path opens up again through a field - part of the Brunswick Park Waterfall Walk - where young oak trees were growing rampantly and the long grasses were singing with crickets. It was a beautiful day, wildflowers studded the grass and the birds were out filling the air with song, darting out from under the trees and hopping along garage roofs.

View Londonist's Guide to Hidden Parks and Gardens in a larger map

Last Updated 30 June 2011

P

delighted to find something about Pymme's Brook. My mother used to walk me there from where we lived at Bounds Green, when I was v small, around 1943/4/5/6. I remember a trickling, gently cascading (shallow) waterway, not wide, with black decorative rocks at intervals which I could step on from one to another. The water seems now to have been channelled. Thank you. P

Mike Summers

I have just walked this path and it's quite impossible to follow without a map. The signage has either been weathered beyond recognition, vandalised or gone missing. The section from Cockfosters to Palmers Green is okay; but why anyone would choose to walk from Palmers Green to Picketts Lock I don't know, this section has no redeeming features at all, and quite frankly, is scary in places. I doubt many people have walked this in a long time