26 – Muswell Hill local walk 5.5 miles – 13th August

In short: a straightforward, familiar local walk with lovely views and pretty parks on a sunny day. Highgate Woods, the Parkland Walk & Alexandra Park. Plenty of public toilets & potential cafe stops. 2 hrs 5 mins walking + 20 mins pitstop.

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After a couple of weeks away on holiday I needed to get my walking boots back on to regain some momentum – so I once again roped in my youngest as a walking companion (Pokemon Go claims some of the credit here!) and set off on a lovely Saturday morning for a tour of some of our lovely local spots.

We set off from home – there is plenty of free parking in Muswell Hill if you don’t mind a short walk to the shops – in particular on Pages Lane, postcode N10 1PU.

We start from the junction of Pages Lane and Creighton Avenue, walking along Pages Lane and passing Our Lady of Muswell School on our left. Reaching the mini roundabout at the end of Pages Lane we turn left onto Tetherdown and walk along here passing the Muswell Hill synagogue and Fortismere School on our right.

At the traffic lights we turn right onto Fortis Green and turn left after a short walk onto Collingwood Avenue. We walk along this road all the way to the end and take the alley way on the right at the bottom just in front of Tetherdown school. This leads through to some pretty allotments with the archery club on the high ground behind. We turn left in front of the allotments and follow the path past the two schools; Tetherdown and Tree House, to the road.

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We turn right at the end onto Woodside Avenue and then left at the mini roundabout onto Lanchester Road. After just a few houses there is an alley on the left hand side which leads up into Highgate Woods. We take this path up to the gate into the woods.

This spot is so familiar to those of us who live in Muswell Hill but is astonishingly pretty with delightful ancient woodland surrounding a large green open space with a super children’s playground and cafe.

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Once through the gate we turn right immediately and follow the path down through the woods. Where the path forks we keep right and end up at the corner of the open area, beside a cricket net and some outdoor gym equipment.

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We follow the path around the right hand edge of the field with trees and bushes on our right. The path curves left, runs behind the little cricket pavilion and then right in front of the playground and public toilets. We aren’t visiting the cafe today – on the far side of the green – but it’s well worth a visit ordinarily – especially for it’s lovely ice cream.

Just after the toilet building we turn left on the path that runs right to left in front of us. We follow this straight ahead ignoring paths off right and left, slowly approaching the main road on our right.

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This is a well used path – and on a sunny Saturday morning there are plenty of families and dog walkers about – but even so there is a real tranquillity here among the trees.

We take the final gate out of the woods on the right onto Muswell Hill Road and turn left; we immediately take the path ahead beside the pavement onto this section of the Parkland Walk – signposted at the start.

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The path veers right under the main road and continues straight with super views to the right across to the central London skyline after 5-10 minutes walking.

The path ends as it goes under Muswell Hill via a tunnel and on emerging we continue straight up a slope onto a canopied walkway and into Alexandra Park. We take the path right at the junction, past the play centre and downhill past an open green space to a car park and the road through the park. We cross here, turning right onto the pavement and follow the road downhill to the entrance to the events car park – today closed to vehicles by a gate. We fork left here and take the path off to our left.

There are multiple paths here through the park – and as it’s hilly you can choose your level. We are on a mid path, halfway up the hill and following the contour of the hill with Alexandra Palace on the brow of the hill to our left.  We take a right and then left to stay on a paved path which we follow until we reach another path approaching from the left at an acute angle. We cross onto this path which follows the fence surrounding the pitch & putt golf course.

This path climbs the hill fairly steeply past the entrance to the golf and we cross the road at the top, taking the path opposite beside the bus stop. This path leads fairly quickly to the boating lake and we pass through the gate here to take the path around the lake with toilets and a cafe on our right.

This area is busy with families and has a lovely buzz about it. The lake has sections marked off where there are plenty of ducks, geese and apparently fish judging by the anglers.

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We follow the path all the way round, passing the playground and emerging beside the skate park. Here we head up through the car park towards the main palace building. We pass the entrance to the ice rink and turn right to walk around the outside (a prime spot for Pokemon collecting apparently!) – absolutely spectacular views again here:

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We pass the superbly appointed Phoenix pub at the corner of the terrace but it seems my companion wants to stop for something to eat in town, closer to home. We take the path ahead, parallel to the road, past the entrance to the Laboratory gym and right under an old railway arch and out of the park onto Dukes Avenue. Here we turn left and walk to the end, which is the centre of Muswell Hill.

We turn right at the roundabout onto Muswell Hill Broadway – where we stop for a quick lunch at Costa coffee (not the most imaginative venue but well loved by my companion for its bacon rolls and air conditioning!)

After a brief, unsurprising but relatively satisfying lunch we head straight on past all the shops to the traffic lights where we turn left onto Pages Lane and back to our start point.

A good local weekend walk – linking three lovely local public spaces – Highgate Woods, the Parkland Walk and Alexandra Park and reminding me of how lucky I am to live in such a special part of North London.

 

 

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