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.
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