The summer holidays are upon us and here in Barnet we have so many great local parks and public facilities. However, as we all know, use them or lose them.
Rather conveniently, our town park, the Old Courthouse Gardens (with great café), boasts some discretely located tennis courts. There are half a dozen courts as you walk downhill to Mays Lane that don’t need advance booking and, big bonus, there’s no cost to use them. What’s more, they never seem very busy, so you can turn up and have a knock around without it being a big deal. If you need new balls these can be picked up from Coopers of Barnet (who sell almost anything) and if you’re driving, you might find a parking space on Mays Lane or around the corner in Leeside.
There are few other things to see on this hillside stretch of the park. There is a ‘nature reserve’ in what was previously another tennis court and there are several wonderful old oak trees in gardens in neighbouring Manor Road. These enormous ‘veterans’ date back hundreds of years to when this was part of Barnet Common and only developed comparatively recently in the early 20th century. And, as a wine lover, I spotted some immaculately trained and tended grape vines in a garden in Fitzjohn Avenue.
Obviously there are more tennis courts in the neighbourhood such as in Tudor Park and Oak Hill Park, and Barnet has several tennis clubs. However, I love the intimate leafy setting of these courts – I’d much rather get some exercise here than in a sweaty gym. (Mind you, I am writing this on the hottest day of the year.) Right, whose turn to serve?