Sunday 11th September 2011
Toilets: Platform 5 at Finsbury Park (change here from the Victoria Line to get to Alexandra Palace); cafe at Alexandra Palace; Highgate Wood.
The Parkland Walk is a public walkway following the route of a former railway line, the Northern Heights, from Alexandra Palace to Finsbury Park.
The railway was demolished some time after 1970, and the route was reopened as the Parkland Walk in 1984. In 1990 it was designated as a Local Nature Reserve, and it’s the longest one in London. I originally did the walk in 2005 with a large group of people, and again within the last couple of years or so. You can walk it in three hours if you take a very leisurely pace, and we weren’t in a hurry; it can easily be done in two hours if you keep up a brisk pace.
There’s a Farmers’ Market every Sunday, which is a good place to go for lunch before starting the walk.
Alexandra Palace, referred to locally as Ally Pally, is an impressive building, and provides some of the best views in London, as great as the view from Primrose Hill.
Our walk started from the Palm Court Entrance.
The route then headed downhill. I’m not 100% sure if we took exactly the correct route, but it didn’t really matter as the surrounding park is lovely whichever way you go. We soon found ourselves going through a wooded area, before heading along a viaduct from which we had more great views.
We then continued down towards Highgate Wood, where we stopped for a rest. There’s a cafe and toilets, and a big clearing in the middle that looks perfect for picnics.
Upon arrival at Highgate, if you take a slight detour to the car park behind The Woodman pub, you can see the remains of the high level platforms at Highgate Station.
The entrance to the second half of the walk is at Holmesdale Road, with some highly decorated walls. I’m not sure how long ago this artwork was done, but I don’t think it was there a couple of years ago.
The second half of the walk is a much more obvious route, and it’s impossible to get lost. It also forms part of the Capital Ring. Further down, we passed the site of the former Crouch End Station. The platforms are still there. I love the way that when you leave a man-made structure alone, nature eventually takes over.
The next point of interest was the spriggan, created by the artist and sculptor Marilyn Collins.
There was also some rather interesting graffiti about the place.