36 – Parkland Walk with Crouch End Open Space 6.8 miles – 19th October

In short: the reliably lovely Parkland Walk from Muswell Hill to Finsbury Park and back with a different start and end. Usual well-maintained and clean public park toilets and delicious hot chocolate at the cafe. 2 hrs walking + 20 mins pitstop.

Unfortunately I failed to correctly save the tracker map this week – apologies for those who like to see it.

Today we vary our usual Parkland Walk by starting from Crouch End. To be precise I park on Park Avenue South where there is plenty of free on street parking – although be aware that most houses have drives and dropped kerbs so be careful not to block anyone in; approx postcode N8 8LU.

We walk towards Park Road and cross carefully to the track and footpath on the far side signposted towards Highgate Cricket & Tennis Club. We take the footpath and walk with a cricket ground behind the fence on our right and tennis courts to our left.

This area is a beautiful green oasis in the heart of North London – abounding in cricket pitches and tennis courts – with Alexandra Palace on the horizon; on a summer’s evening it is such an English scene it’s almost a caricature!

We take a path left between sets of tennis courts and then right – a cricket pavilion is in the field to our left and we then pass the idyllic site of Hanley tennis club tucked in amongst the trees on our left.

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Shortly after, at a fork in the paths, we take the left and head along a well made path through trees and bushes, taking a left at a T-junction and soon emerging on a large football field bounded on three sides by bushes and on the fourth by a picturesque array of allotments.

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Retracing our steps away from this field – the uninspiringly named Crouch End Open Space – we continue on a path through trees, with allotments beyond the trees over to our left. This path brings us out to a metal fence which marks the edge of Queens Woods which we enter and after a handful of yards turn left onto our usual path.

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We climb the steps ahead up to Priory Gardens where we turn right and then take a path left between houses marked by the Capital Ring sign on a lamppost opposite.

At the top of this short sharp hill we emerge beside Highgate library and cross Shepherds Hill, turning right and then immediately left onto Archway Road at the traffic lights. Taking the first turning left, Holmesdale Road, we soon enter the Parkland walk itself.

This is a straight path of just under a couple of miles leading us all the way to Finsbury Park. On the way we pass some beautiful autumn foliage and interesting urban art.

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At the end of this straight path we turn left onto the path over the railway line and enter the park.

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We continue straight on, passing the playground on our right and enter the cafe on our left in front of the boating lake.

After a fabulous pitstop – trademark hot chocolate and a homemade cookie – we retrace our steps all the way back to Queens Woods.

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Here, we go back the way we came, turning right at the first junction of paths towards the allotments on our right. There is a network of paths here amongst the trees and we take a slightly different one going back, this time emerging into a smaller but equally charming open space and eventually coming out beside one of the various sets of tennis courts.

The final path is straight – either the road track or the footpath – back to Park Road, which we cross to return to Park Avenue South.

A really lovely autumnal walk – we walked at a fair speed so it felt like exercise – but was in fact just as much a workout for our mental health and emotional well-being as it was a benefit for our bodies!

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