4 – Dollis Valley Greenwalk 5.6 miles – 24th February

In short: easy, flat and mainly dry walk on paved paths, very suburban, no public toilets en route, delightful cafe. 1 hr 40 mins walking + 40 min pitstop.

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Another week where we were slightly constrained for time – which meant a later start than usual – and hence another fairly local walk. This one is just 10-15 minutes drive from home.

We park on Great Bushey Drive, postcode N20 8QL, which is a turning close to Totteridge & Whetstone tube station. There are no parking restrictions but we had to park near the end of the turning where there is usually plenty of space.

What follows is a slightly long and complicated description of what is actually a very simple and well-signposted walk – don’t let that put you off! It’s not the most exciting walk but makes for a pleasant suburban ramble which, because it’s mostly very well paved, is easy to walk fairly swiftly.

We walk back along Great Bushey Drive and turn left onto the main road, Totteridge Lane, crossing almost immediately at the zebra crossing and turning right at the footpath sign marked Dollis Valley Greenwalk. The path runs to the left of some houses at the edge of a patch of green and into a lightly wooded area with the Dollis brook to our right.

This walk takes us alongside the backs of houses to the right but they are sufficiently far back to give a more rural impression and this section is very pleasant and quiet. We ignore the first path off to the right across the stream and cross it a little further along at the second opportunity as the path bends round to the right. The path then immediately bends to the left with the stream on the left and arrives at a gate onto a road, Laurel Way. We cross the road here and enter the next section of the walk immediately opposite – signposted Dollis Valley Greenwalk nice and clearly – as is most of this walk.

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This next section is quite short and a little narrower, passing a school playing field behind a fence on the right but with the brook burbling away nicely to our left. This path isn’t paved and so was pretty muddy this week – we had to pick our way round some rather large puddles here!

The path brings us out onto Tillingham Way. At this point we can’t continue straight over the road as there isn’t a path just here and the walk takes a brief diversion along the streets. There is a choice here and we head right along Tillingham Way to the T-junction with Southover where we turn left. After 5 minutes or so and just after the Old Finchleians Sports ground on our left the path heads left away from the road and back into a pleasant fairly open green area with the brook on our left. It’s easy to make a mistake on this section – be careful not to take the turning marked Dollis Valley Greenwalk to the left as this would head back north the way we came via the alternative route.

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Crossing at the next road, Argyle Road, we enter a section of the walk with a children’s playground on the right. The path bends right after the playground and then sharply left following the line of trees and the path of the stream – we are careful here to avoid paths off to the left which head to the nearby road and stick with the waymarked route.

Once again we come out to a road, Fursby Avenue, and cross here picking up the route on the opposite side and heading through some allotments. This whole section has been very recently repaved and the new path goes straight ahead over a bridge with a tennis club to the left and the stream now on our right. The path bends with the brook and passes more allotments on the left and an open space with a rope swing hanging from a tree. We cross another bridge and turn left – ignoring a path off to the left just before the bridge and noting the path joining us from the right which we take on the way back. There are waymarks here but on a low post – not a full height signpost as before. The path meanders along here passing a golf course on our right and eventually, coming to a slightly more open area we take the right fork (as marked) and curve around ending at a road.

This is Dollis Road and there is a board here with the whole walk mapped out on it. The railway viaduct is an impressive landmark here arching over the road to our right but this marks the end of today’s walk and we turn around and retrace our steps.

Just for the fun of it we take alternative routes where they present themselves on our return journey! For example at the bridge previously mentioned – just before the tennis courts – we continue straight on along a clear path, not paved but well finished. This rejoins the main path a little further along at another bridge. Also  in the section after crossing Argyle Road we take the option of turning right at the signpost, crossing the brook here and heading out of the park onto Holden Road. Here we turn left onto the road and continue straight until we arrive at Tillingham Way, following the signpost here to the left and re-entering the Dollis Valley Greenwalk on our right at the sign.

When we eventually return to Totteridge Lane we turn right and, crossing the road, pass Totteridge and Whetstone tube station on our left. Shortly after, we arrive at the Waiting Room cafe – a really lovely, quirky little place where we have a truly delicious lunch.

After this delightful and very tasty pitstop we return along Totteridge Lane, right into Great Bushey Drive and back to the car.

 

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