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Walk 65: Mimmshall Brook Loop

8.4 miles (13.5 km)

Photograph of the path from North Mymms to South Mimms as it passes Cangsley Grove Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The path from North Mymms to South Mimms passing Cangsley Grove
This walks retraces parts of the route of a Victorian ramble through North Mymms written in 1893. We've adapted it considerably, and have chosen public footpaths to avoid main roads. Along the route your will come across a bridge over Mimmshall Brook which is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Dick Turpin, a local witch, and a swarm of 'repulsive' black flies. But don't worry, we didn't see a thing when we visited.

The walk starts and finishes at Potters Bar station (location - https://w3w.co/fine.client.spray). It passes close to The Woodman Inn at Water End (needs a slight detour), goes past The Black Horse and The White Hart in South Mimms, before ending close to The Old Manor on your return to Potters Bar.

The route includes a hill climb from North Mymms to Cangsley Grove. Paths can become overgrown with weeds and nettles at times and, as with most walks, this route can be muddy in parts after heavy rain.


Map for Walk 65: Mimmshall Brook Loop Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors There is an interactive map below these directions
Map for Walk 65: Mimmshall Brook Loop
Created on Map Hub by Hertfordshire Walker
Elements © Thunderforest © OpenStreetMap contributors

There is an interactive map below these directions
Those with GPS devices can download GPX or KML files for this walk. We've added What3Words location references for those who use that system. If you print these walks you might want to use the green PrintFriendly icon at the bottom of these directions to delete elements such as photographs.

1: Leave Potters Bar station via the westerly exit leading out to the car park. Turn right and walk 100m through the car park to a footpath on your right (location - https://w3w.co/sunset.tins.rooms) that heads NNW alongside the track. This is Potters Bar footpath 9. Follow it for 1km until you reach the Cranbourne Industrial Estate on your left (location - https://w3w.co/joined.roofs.video).

2: Here you leave the path and drop down to your left to Cranbourne Road and take the footpath diagonally to your right (location - https://w3w.co/frame.dark.dining). This is Potters Bar footpath 15. Follow it for 160m as it heads SW with Potters Bar Brook on your left before emerging on Cranbourne Road (location - https://w3w.co/shakes.discouraged.posts).

Cross the road but do not take the path that goes through a green metal gate to Furzefield Wood but take the footpath to the right of the gate. This is Potters Bar footpath 15 slightly to your right (location - https://w3w.co/debate.rips.glee). Continue along the footpath heading W for 600m with Potters Bar Brook on your left until you reach Warrengate Farm (location - https://w3w.co/debate.rips.glee).

3: Turn right at Warrengate Farm on Potters Bar footpath 14 then head NNW for 400m until you reach a junction in the path (location - https://w3w.co/dull.gear.poster). Take the left fork, Potters Bar footpath 12, and head NW and then N for 710m following the path as it crosses fields and then continues to the right of Mimmshall Brook, emerging on Hawkshead Lane close to Mimmshall Bridge (location - https://w3w.co/army.ticket.deflection).

4: Turn left on Hawkshead Lane, cross the bridge, head straight ahead, WSW, along a lane with a bungalow on the right and a field with horses on the left (location - https://w3w.co/crazy.upset.city).

After 80m you reach Swanland Road. Cross with care then take the footbridge (location - https://w3w.co/armed.dock.boot), North Mymms restricted byway 83 over the A1(M).

On the other side you reach a junction in the track. Turn right then follow Love Lane, North Mymms restricted byway 3 for 160m NNW. Here your track becomes North Mymms BOAT 4 (byway open to all traffic) and bends to the left and then right then heads NW for 430m passing an old wind pump on the left (location - https://w3w.co/doing.visual.phones) to a junction in the track (location - https://w3w.co/atomic.lime.pots) where there is a bench if you need a rest.

Here you take the left fork, now North Mymms bridleway 4, then head NW for another 270m to a crossing in the tracks (location - https://w3w.co/oddly.tips.noon).

5: Turn right, now on North Mymms bridleway 1 then head NE for 770m until you reach the A1 (M). Here you turn left then follow North Mymms BOAT 5 NNW for 170m until you reach a footbridge (location - https://w3w.co/hedge.tour.forced).

6: At this point you can cross the motorway and visit The Woodman Inn at Water End (location - https://w3w.co/task.wonderfully.cares). If not, turn left then climb the steps up to the footbridge looking out for a footpath on your left set back in the hedgerow (location - https://w3w.co/reward.line.king).

This is North Mymms footpath 6. Go through the wooden gate. Straight ahead you will see North Mymms Cricket Club. Veer right then walk WNW for 490m heading for St Mary's Church in the distance and continue until you reach St Mary's Church Road (location - https://w3w.co/depend.easy.sulk).

7: Turn left on St Mary's Church Road, which is also North Mymms bridleway 2, then head SSW for 440m until the metalled road turns to the right (location - https://w3w.co/pump.prompting.nails).

At this point you will see a gate and a track straight ahead. This is still North Mymms bridleway 2. Follow this track SW and uphill for 770m as it goes through Cangsley Grove (look out for Purple Emperor butterflies in July and August) and emerges at Potwells, a quiet valley with open views (see picture at the top of this walk). Continue heading S for 1.3km, first across the valley and then through Redwell Wood and Hawkshead Wood and then downhill until you reach Blackhorse Lane (location - https://w3w.co/basket.issued.sung).

8: Head SSE on Blackhorse Lane for 880m, passing The Black Horse pub on the left and continuing until you reach the B554, St Albans Road (location - https://w3w.co/towns.people.liked). Turn left then head SE for 210m passing The White Hart pub on your right and continue to the roundabout (location - https://w3w.co/hedge.fight.bonds). Turn right at the roundabout then head S on St Albans Road for 30m looking out for a footpath sign on your left (location - https://w3w.co/necks.wacky.drank).

9: Take this path, South Mimms footpath 33, which can be muddy, and follow it SE across fields for 550m. After the first field you will come to a wooden marker pointing straight ahead. At certain times of the year the path is sown with crop, so it might be best to walk round the edge of the field - first slightly S then E - until you meet a footbridge (location - https://w3w.co/necks.wacky.drank) where the path continues then heads SSE along the W side of the A1 (M) for 330m to St Albans Road (location - https://w3w.co/fats.pizza.dared).

10: When you reach St Albans Road turn left then head SE for 130m crossing the bridge over the A1(M) to Swanland Road. Turn left on Swanland Road, then cross and walk along the E side of the road heading NNE.

After you pass Wash Lane on the right continue for another 150m until you reach a footpath on your right (location - https://w3w.co/error.loudly.cards). Take this path, Potters Bar footpath 41, which become Potters Bar footpath 40, and follow it ENE for 400m to a picturesque triple-arched bridge crossing Mimmshall Brook (location - https://w3w.co/feared.roofs.solved).

Photograph of Bridgefoot Bridge over Mimmshall Brook, South Mimms Image by Hertfordshire Walker released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Bridgefoot Bridge over Mimmshall Brook, South Mimms

11: This is the Bridgefoot bridge, which is supposed to be haunted by three ghosts including that of Dick Turpin. Apparently he used to like hanging out around here after his exploits. There is also a story of the ghost of a witch and a swarms of flies. I have copied a story about them below for those interested in such tales. If you want to take pictures of the bridge, walk down to the ford to the right. It's shallow so you should be able to paddle across and take a few snaps. After you are done, continue heading E and SE along Potters Bar bridleway 73 (which becomes Bridgefoot Lane) for 780m until you emerge on a lane (location - https://w3w.co/clown.body.jams).

12: Turn left then head NE for 150m passing the school, and looking out for a footpath on your right, Potters Bar footpath 38, heading through woods (location - https://w3w.co/twig.hatch.client).

You emerge on a housing estate. Turn right then head SE for 90m looking out for another path on your left between the houses, follow the paths as it winds between roads until you reach Heather Way where you turn right then walk E to Baker Street (location - https://w3w.co/third.donor.elaborate).

Turn left on Baker Street then head NE for 350m back to Potters Bar station. If you fancy refreshments you pass The Old Manor pub and restaurant just before you reach the station. There are many cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and bars in the area to choose from.

The Haunted Bridge

Taken from the “Brief Historical Notes” section of the 1952 edition of the Official Guide published by Potters Bar Urban District Council and shared with this site by local historian and archivist, Peter Miller, one of the team responsible for the North Mymms History Project. We've reproduced the text about ghostly sightings at the bridge as it was written.

The Ghost of South Mimms

“The neighbourhood around Barnet is said to have been the hunting ground of the notorious Dick Turpin, and it is therefore not surprising, that his ghost is believed to make its appearance at intervals at the South Mimms Wash. Another supernatural phenomenon said to be seen in this vicinity is a Shadow and a swarm of black flies. The story is told that once an old woman lived in the South Mimms neighbourhood who was regarded as a witch. One morning she was discovered at the Wash, and some people thought she had been murdered. She was not buried in the churchyard, being a witch, and was interred at the crossroads, a stake being driven through her to prevent her ghost from wandering. Despite this, people declared that they saw a Shadow at night time on the road leading to the Wash which they believed to be the spirit of the old witch and it always came to a standstill at the place where she lay buried. People also said that at this place were a swarm of repulsive black flies which appeared to wait for the Shadow, and then both disappeared in mysterious fashion. Naturally one cannot vouch for the authenticity of the stories that have been handed down for many years, but they always seem to have a fascination for people.”

Interactive map

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