Mill Hill East – Totteridge and Whetstone Walk 09.03.2014

Finally it seemed Spring had finally sprung, so we felt that would would take the opportunity to take a Sunday afternoon walk. We thought we start our journey at Mill Hill East, somewhere we had visited previously. This time we thought we would head in a different direction :-), turning away from Mill Hill East and down “Frith Lane”, to see where it may take us. As we started to stroll along, I noticed “Frith Grange Scout Camp” beside the road. I did think that this was an odd place to have a scout camp, but, from the little I can find out, this site was probably built in the early C20th. This was when the area would have been more of a Garden Suburb than the urban sprawl of today. This is the second scout camp I have come across, the other was “Lord Hyde Memorial Campsite” near Whippendell Woods. We carried on past the camp and decided to cross the road when I spotted the sign for a “Public Footpath” on the other side. After we had crossed, we glanced back and noticed a huge new development of houses, and did ponder if these had been built on an old hospital or perhaps it was something else? Particularly as there were tell tales signs of large old walls around….

These houses have been built on what is known as “Millbrook Park”. In the C18th this was agricultural land which was part of the Bittacy Farm, but by the early C19th it was absconded by Army and the Middlesex Regiment made its home here in the “Inglis Barracks”. The Barracks were named after Lieutenant General Sir William Inglis, hero of the Napoleonic Wars who was famous for rallying his troops with the refrain “Die hard!”. The Royal Engineers remained on site until the late 80’s, the site was decommissioned and when it was planned too be redeveloped into housing, school and public parks. The Officers’ Mess gardens have now been redeveloped as a public park and extended, with a new main entrance which opens out into a woodland garden and picnic area. The original metal gates have been retained.

From 2014 – 09.03.2014 – Mill Hill East – Totteridge and Whetstone walk

We headed down the lane, contrastingly lined with houses on one side and trees on the other. At the end of the road it met with a very muddy path and on our right was a large car park and a huge looking house and golf course! This was the “Finchley Golf Club House”. It was very ominous indeed and extremely large for a club house, I would not like to approach it place on a dark night that’s for sure! Nether Court as it was known, was constructed by the Victorian Businessman, Henry Thomas Tubbs between 1880 and 1883. It was once described as “the largest Victorian house built in Hendon Parish”. The house still retains some of its original features, including its stained glass windows which portray portray cartoons known as “Morning”, “Noon” and “Night”. We joined up with the path, which was gently sloping downhill, making it easy to walk. The golf course runs all alongside the rest of the path so if you wanted to watch a spot of golf, through trees of course, probably a good place to do it!

The path is well maintained and nice to walk, although it is quite dark in places as quite a number of trees and vegetation overhang it. All of a sudden, the path seemed to be like Piccadilly station, as lots of people came from different directions! The path had joined up with the “Dollis Valley Greenwalk” which runs alongside the “Dollis Valley Brook”. Obviously the bright sunshine had brought everyone out for a Sunday Afternoon Stroll. After debating which direction which to go, we found ourselves politely making our way past quite a number of people. The walk took us past people dipping for pondlife in the brook, trying to light a barbeque, the allotments and others just taking a lovely stroll along the stream.

From 2014 – 09.03.2014 – Mill Hill East – Totteridge and Whetstone walk

The valley walk took us out of the wilderness and into a suburban Park. It was bustling with everyone enjoying the sunshine, we just carried on meandering our way forward following the Valley way. I spotted a beautiful old art deco bridge, sadly it had some graffiti on it, it was shame as the architecture was quite lovely. The route was to take us once again into another park and this time it gave us a choice, either continue through the park or via the road, but we choose to continue on. However, little did we realise that would be lead out on the road anyway! It lead us past the “Old Finchleans” Memorial Ground. A small football ground established in 1898, originally it was a Rubgy ground but switched to Football by the School.

We found ourselves a little lost for a while along the road as we could not locate any signs for the “Dollis Valley Walk” for some reason. Using our instincts, followed what we both thought would be the line of the brook. Eventually we both spotted what we felt might the the entrance to the way once more, we were both right, we had reached the “Whestone Stray” open space. The “Stray”, was once part of Joseph Baxendale Estate. The area was eventually taken over by the Pickford Brothers who used as grazing ground for the 1000 or so horses used in their carrying business. The lush grass, was due horses dung which enriched the grass It was very pleasant to walk and as the sun was shining so brightly through the trees it made our walk even more lovely. It would have been a very quiet area but we did notice that a underground train thundered past on the far side, it was a pity that the Northern line runs parallel to this really nice green! We finally reached Totteridge and Whetstone where we had encountered this very entrance to the “Dollis Valleywalk” in a previous walk, it was nice feeling that we were tieing up loose ends!

We decided before we ended our walk for the day to walk up to the high street, where I spotted the “Griffin Pub”. Although the actual building dates from the early C19th, there has been an public house on this site for centuries, as this would have been a coaching inn. Buildings either side of the “Griffin” are C15th. There is even a stone outside the pub known as the Whetstone, question is was it for sharpen tools or a mounting block for climbing onto horses?! We ended our walk here by running for a bus home! Please feel free to browse through all the photos –

2014 – 09.03.2014 – Mill Hill East – Totteridge and Whetstone walk



5 responses to “Mill Hill East – Totteridge and Whetstone Walk 09.03.2014

  1. Very entertaining 🙂 I remember Frith Grange Camp site, having had a number of scout camps there when I was with both the 12th Hendon cubs and the 16th Hendon scouts.

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