52 – Finchley and Totteridge loop 6.5 miles – 21st February

In short: a variation on an old favourite incorporating bridle paths and lanes into the usual Darlands and Totteridge route. Free on street parking, lovely cafe for a delicious healthy lunch at the end. A couple of very muddy spots so worth wearing waterproof walking boots. 2 hrs 25 mins walking + 40 mins pitstop.

Today we are unable to park on our usual side road – Great Bushey Drive – however there is further free on street parking on turnings on the opposite side of Totteridge Lane and so we find a space on Hill Crescent, approx postcode N20 8HD. We walk to the end of Hill Crescent and turn right at the junction with Totteridge Lane – heading downhill, across Longland Drive to turn right onto the Dollis Valley Greenwalk at the footpath sign.

We follow the path for this first section – the brook on our right – ignoring the first path off right and crossing the brook at the second bridge as the path curves to the right. We then continue to the gate onto Laurel View.

Here we cross the road to the gate on the far side where we continue along the path – the brook now on our left – passing a large sports field on our right. At the end of this section we turn right onto Tillingham Way and left onto Southover (the footpath diverts along roads here) until we rejoin the path on our left just after another sports ground.

At the end of this short footpath section we cross the road ahead – Argyle Road – and enter yet another section with a children’s playground on our right, the brook now on our left.

We stay on the main path as it weaves through this park section, coming out onto Fursby Avenue which we cross. On the far side of this road we continue on the Dollis Valley Greenwalk passing between some allotments. At a fork in the path we take the right passing some tennis courts on the left on the far side of the brook and on coming to a junction of paths we take a right to head away from the Greenwalk path. We are now walking through Finchley golf course on a tree-lined path with holes on both sides.

At the end of the path we pass the clubhouse on the left and come out to a fairly busy road, Frith Lane, which we cross and turn right. After a few minutes walking slightly uphill we turn left onto Partingdale Lane. The road bends sharp right and shortly after as it bends left we take the footpath straight ahead past a field with a few horses in.

This path heads downhill with lovely pastoral views on both sides and into the distance – albeit we pass an industrial  looking electricity sub-station on our left as we descend. At the foot of the hill we turn right onto a footpath way marked as to Totteridge.

The start of this path is exceptionally muddy but mercifully not impassable and we pick our way past the worst of it. At a fork we take the left as it seems, at least initially, less of a quagmire. This path heads gently uphill and opens out slightly to be more meadow like.

The path crests the hill and heads back down again – at the bottom we turn left through an opening in a fence to pick up a familiar path alongside a stream to our right. We walk carefully as once again this is slippery with mud, crossing over the fallen tree trunk with lovely open views to our left.

After crossing a bridge we head straight uphill – for some reason the path left looks like the main one here but it actually isn’t. We turn left at the junction of paths and very soon find ourselves at Darlands Lake.

We bear left to cross the bridge and take a tour of the lake keeping the water on our right until we return to our starting point.

Here we take the wide grassy path uphill on our left with the familiar stunning views all around. At the top of the hill we turn and admire our surroundings.

We bear right at the top and then left at the gate onto a path. We walk straight on via the private road to the main road ahead and turn right at the pavement towards The Orange Tree Pub – we pass in front of it, cross the car park, walk in front of the primary school and cross the green towards the road, Totteridge Green, in front of us. We cross this road onto Greenway ahead, which runs parallel to the main road, Totteridge Lane on our left. We walk to the end of the road where we turn left onto Longland Drive and then right onto Totteridge Lane.

We cross this main road and shortly after passing the tube station we take advantage of the facilities in The Waiting Room cafe where we enjoy a fabulously tasty grilled halloumi and roasted vegetable salad followed by great coffee.

Leaving the cafe we turn right and walk back along Totteridge Lane which we cross and then reach Hill Crescent, the second turning on our left where we are parked. A lovely twist on a familiar walk – terrific!

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