Ten intrepid Polys met at Totteridge and Whetstone station on a bleak, wet morning. They were rewarded by an unexpectedly lovely walk, all within the London Borough of Barnet, and some good
weather including quite a bit of sunshine. After walking for a short while along by the Dollis Brook, we briefly passed through some typical suburban streets before reaching Totteridge green and from there on to Darlands Lake Nature Reserve, where we followed the Folly Brook. The terrain was extremely waterlogged but fortunately a raised walkway has been installed. In the spring wild anemones, rare snakeshead fritillary and wild garlic flowers can be found here. Darlands Lake used to be the boating lake for the grand Copped Hall, which dominated the hillside. We emerged from the woodland into what used to be the the parkland of Copped Hall and made our way steadily uphill towards Totteridge Lane with its grand houses. By this time the sun had come out and we were able to enjoy views all the way to Canary Wharf. The area is extremely rural, with farms and stables, as it is protected as part of the greenbelt. We stopped to picnic in the grounds of the church in Mill Hill, just before it started to rain, and enjoyed a drink at The Three Hammers Pub. We passed the Sheepwash Pond where animals were washed before being driven to London for slaughter. We struggled to drag ourselves out of the warmth of the pub, but after waiting for a heavy downpour to stop, we set off and again the sun came out! The afternoon took us through several soggy meadows before we went uphill to Totteridge Common and from there back to the tube station. We agreed that we had been lucky with the weather and that this walk should be repeated in future in the spring to appreciate the flora.

Susan (photos by Hilary, Susan and Gillian)