In short: really lovely, very local walk with a hidden local beauty spot. Free on-street parking and fabulous cafe for a delicious lunch after. There are apparently public toilets at Totteridge & Whetstone station (we haven’t tested that out); toilets at the cafe at the end. 2 hrs 40 mins walking + 45 mins pitstop.
Yet another beautiful Wednesday dawns and we decide to make a return visit to a hidden beauty spot tucked away in deepest Totteridge which we discovered almost a year ago. To get there we start by taking the Dollis Valley Greenwalk southwards from near Totteridge and Whetstone tube station. We park on a side street at the junction of Great Bushey Drive and Oak Tree Drive, postcode N20 8QL.
We walk back from where the car is parked to the main road, Totteridge Lane, where we turn left, cross at the zebra crossing, continuing left to the signpost just after the last house indicating the Dollis Valley Greenwalk, where we turn right. This is a surprisingly rural walk given that much of it, and this stretch in particular, runs close to the backs of houses.
We ignore a path off right and continue to follow the brook on our right until the path curves right over a bridge and then left with the brook on our left and out through a gate onto a road, Laurel Way.
We turn right here and at a crossroads we cross straight over, continuing along Laurel Way until we turn right onto Lynton Mead and then almost immediately left onto Coppice Walk. At the end of the houses on this road we pass through a gap in the hedge and take the footpath that runs parallel to the road.
Very shortly this brings us out across a patch of long grass onto Totteridge Green with its duck pond in front of us on the far side of the road. We cross the green on the paths and take the path that runs behind the pond turning right just before a big house (one of many in this area).
This path starts off like a suburban alleyway between high wooden fences but then opens out to be a path with hedgerow to the right and lovely rolling green vistas on both sides.
The path is downhill; we pass a gate beside an oak tree halfway down and then at the bottom we go through a gap in a fence and cross a stream, Folly Brook. Here we encounter a friend and after stopping for a chat we carry straight on along a beautiful path with a gorgeous arch of trees all along. Unfortunately this is the wrong path and we’ve missed our turning off so we retrace our steps back to the brook.
We now take a path off right just a few yards after the stream, through a clearing which must be exceptionally muddy in winter but is fortunately dry today. After, we emerge into a more open space with the appearance of a meadow which has been left to go wild.
The path enters another wood and we keep to the path beside Folly Brook, clambering over a large fallen tree trunk – with a beautiful view over farmland to our left.
We cross the brook on a footbridge, veer right uphill on the main path, crossing on another plank bridge shortly after and emerging at a T-junction where we turn left on the gravel path.
At a staggered junction of paths we initially go straight on and then take a path left across a footbridge where we get our first glimpse of our hidden treasure: Darland’s Lake. Apparently this used to be the boating lake belonging to a great house up on the hill but now is a tranquil haven for wildlife and the odd walker.
We take the path left around the lake – with the water on our right. We pass under a horse chestnut tree which is arched and re-rooted right across the path and then past an inlet into the lake. We now pass an area of the lake which has silted up and is now marshy and then a second, square inlet which was apparently once the boathouse; after curving left we turn right across a footbridge.
The path again curves right and shortly after brings us out onto a T-junction. Here we initially turn right but soon realise our error and retrace our steps to take what should have been a left onto a path with open fields on both sides.
At a second T-junction we turn right and head uphill with a lovely rolling landscape all around. This path brings us out eventually onto a short private road which leads onto the main road, Totteridge Lane, where we turn left.
We cross the road at the triangle of green and ignoring Barnet Lane ahead of us continue on past some lovely houses (again) till we turn onto Lime Grove on our right.
At the end of this cul-de-sac we take the footpath ahead with cottages on our left, pass across the end of a road and then continuing along the path, pass beside the playing field of a school.
We continue along this path between bushes and trees on both until we cross over a little brook and head slightly uphill to a footpath junction where we turn right back once again on the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. We walk along a ridge on this clear and well-marked path past a housing estate over on our left and coming out onto a road, Barnet Lane. Crossing this road we continue straight on into a small car park serving a local football club and table tennis hall. We go straight ahead out of the car park onto the path in front of us, picking up the Dollis Brook again on our right. The path continues, clearly marked, past some playing fields on our left, curving right past the end of a local road.
The path soon develops a curious parallel look as there is a cycle path as well as a footpath – albeit both seem to be used by cyclists and pedestrians alike.
We continue on this path for about 20 minutes – past more playing fields and a golf course away to our right behind the bushes. This is a well-used section of the path and really lovely for a piece of land that effectively runs alongside the Northern line here!
We come out onto the main road, Totteridge Lane again; we turn left and head up past the tube station to our lovely cafe, the Waiting Room. After a delicious (and very healthy!) halloumi salad and a yummy coffee we head back to the car, right along Totteridge Lane and right again onto Great Bushey Drive.
Wow! A fabulous walk – with real ‘must-see’ views and so so easy to get to from Muswell Hill – everyone should do it!