I was expecting the four mile Parkland Walk to be little known and tranquil. This wasn’t the case on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, unfortunately, though I’ll pretend to be magnanimous about it and say that it’s great to see it being well used by the citizens of North London. By cyclists especially…
The walk runs along an old railway line – the Great Northern Railway Branch line – from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Park, with entrances and exits along the way. The line was closed in 1971 with the extension of the Northern Line past Highgate.
We entered the walk at Finsbury Park – walk north from the underground/rail station through the park itself, keeping left, and you’ll see signs to the Capital Ring – follow these out the of park. Part of the Capital Ring follows this walk. Although the line runs through the hilly parts of London, this really isn’t a strenous walk, although it’s not entirely suitable for people with mobility problems. The friends of the Parkland Walk, however, do their best to keep it well maintained and clear of litter (by both trying to convince the local authorities to do this, and by getting stuck in and doing it themselves.)
We carried on through the green corridor, past where Crouch End station would have been with old train platforms that can still be walked along. Unfortunately we didn’t see any muntjacs (small deer) which apparently have been seen on the walk. The multitudes of butterflies and bees weren’t in evidence either, but this was the beginning of January in an effort to walk off 10 calories worth of Christmas dinner.
One of the great things about this walk is the graffiti. Although not always welcome, the bridges and walks along here are dressed particularly well in multi-coloured street art and is welcome on a January day when there is a distinct lack of any colour other than green. (We’ll be visiting again in the summer.)
When Muswell Hill is reached, near the end of the walk, lovely views are to be had of the City of London while walking across a viaduct. We exited near Alexandra Park and that was us, nearly home and wondering why they hadn’t introduced trams along the line (one of the plans mooted for it in the 80s). Of course it’s always a better plan to have green space in the city, and the walk is a lovely one for a day out with the kids or the dog.
More details on the Parkland Walk
Friends of The Parkland Walk for a map with access points, and information on its history and wildlife.