44 – Darlands Lake plus variation 4.2 miles – 22nd December

In short: a beautiful walk on a stunning wintry morning – introducing this lovely beauty spot to a friend as well as the delights of the super Waiting Room cafe. Muddy in places so well worth wearing proper walking boots. 1 hr 35 mins walking + 30 mins pitstop.

This walk is almost identical to that at number 41 up until reaching The Orange Tree pub. In brief…we park on Great Bushey Drive, postcode N20 8QL, and walk back to the main road where we turn left, cross and almost immediately turn right onto the Dollis Valley Greenwalk footpath.

We follow the path with the brook on our right, past the first bridge off to our right and taking the second bridge as the path crosses the brook and carries on to a gate with the brook now on our left.

At the gate we turn right onto Laurel View, cross over onto Laurel Way and take the second turning on our right, Lynton Mead. We turn left onto Coppice Walk and walk to the end of the houses on our right at which point we take a footpath right which runs parallel to the road, through trees and brings us out at the Totteridge village duck pond on Totteridge Green.

We cross the road to pick up the footpath on the far side just in front of the houses and walk towards the pond, carrying on the path as it runs left of the pond between fences and downhill through open countryside.

At the foot of the hill we turn right and cross the brook and then almost immediately turn right again picking our way through the trees. The path here is muddy but not impossible by any means – we have the brook on our right, fields to our left and emerge into a wild meadow, where we keep to the right before entering a wood again. We cross the brook, turn right and then left at a T-junction of paths.

Just after a staggered junction a little further along we cross the bridge on our left and follow the path the whole way around the pond and back to our starting place. We return to the staggered junction and take the wide grassy uphill path on our left.

At the top of the hill we go straight ahead through a gate and turn left onto the path on the far side.

This path soon brings us out onto a private road and we go straight ahead through the gate and on towards the main road. We turn right just before reaching the road to pass in front of the Orange Tree pub and then the primary school. We walk around the school and take a path left away from the playground and across the green towards the road, Totteridge Green.

We cross the road and continue along this path as it becomes a road, Greenway. We continue along this road, crossing Southway until we reach the end of the road where we turn left, onto Longland Drive. At the top of this road we turn right onto the main road, Totteridge Lane, and continue on to The Waiting Room cafe which is on the left hand side just after the tube station.

After a lovely sandwich special pitstop we return back along Totteridge Lane to Great Bushey Drive on our right where the car is parked. A super wintry walk on a gorgeous day – great fun to introduce this hidden beauty spot to someone new!

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