58 – Darlands Lake and Totteridge – another variation 5.3 miles – 6th April

In short:  A lovely walk on a gorgeous day – an old favourite plus a new path. Usual lovely cafe with toilets at the end; free on street parking. Not too muddy today so ordinary boots/strong trainers are fine. 2 hrs walking + 30 mins pitstop.

For various reasons a shortish local walk is required today and so we go back to our current favourite: Darlands Lake. We park on Great Bushey Drive, approx postcode N20 8QL and walk back to Totteridge Lane. Here we cross and go left and immediately right onto the signposted Dollis Valley Greenwalk. Or at least we attempt to but the path is closed, suggesting we go along the parallel road, Longland Drive instead. However none of us fancy doing that and we are sceptical about the closure as this has happened to us before on this path – plus there is plenty of grass to walk on instead.

And so we walk around the sign and join the path a few yards further along. For the first section this is all absolutely fine – we pass dog walkers and joggers coming in the opposite direction and absolutely no-one doing any work whatsoever despite the cones running along the side of the path. Finally, after crossing the brook to come to the last few yards of this section we come within shouting range of a group of ‘workmen’ loitering by the gate out onto Laurel Way who all shout at us that the path is closed and we need to turn back. Needless to say at 10.00am all 4 of them are not doing a stroke of work – unless ‘guarding’ the gate counts!!

We turn around and, crossing the grass here at the back of the houses, we soon come to a path between 2 houses which leads out onto Longland Drive where we turn left at the first junction then turning right onto Laurel Way.

We take the second turning on our right, Lynton Mead, then first left, Coppice Walk, which we follow to the end picking up the footpath on our right that runs parallel to the road. This path winds through bushes and trees and very soon after brings us out at the lovely Totteridge village duck pond.

We cross the road here, Totteridge Green, and pick up the path on the far side turning left and then right just in front of the pond. This path continues between fences at the backs of houses before very soon emerging into open countryside – gorgeous!

We stay on this path to the foot of the hill and then bear right to follow the lovely tree lined path ahead (ignoring the path through the trees on our right to Darlands Lake and the wide grassy path left).

We stay on this path to the end – where it meets with a track at a T-junction. Here we turn right and then almost immediately spot a footpath sign off to the right pointing back to Totteridge. We decide to try this path – albeit we can’t join it exactly where the sign is as a tree has fallen across the gate but there is a gap in the fence just to the right and we pass through here to join a path running left to right in front of us and here we turn right to return more or less parallel to the way we have just come.

This is a new path for us – and even though it’s technically only a few yards from the one we have just walked it gives us a whole different set of views…

…before becoming tree-lined itself.

The path climbs a little before dropping down again and bringing us to a familiar gap in a fence which is our usual path through to Darlands Lake. Here we turn left and follow the brook for a bit – passing over the fallen tree and looking left at the lovely rural views – including a favourite of mine of the trees on the ridge:

After a short while we cross the brook and take the path straight up ahead until we reach a T-junction of paths where we turn left to come out at the ever lovely Darlands Lake.

We decide we have time to do a circuit of the lake and so turn left and circle the lake with the water to our right. We pass a bank of fritillaries:

and several clumps of delicate white narcissi:

there are even hints of the bluebells soon to come! Magical…

On arriving back at our starting point for the lake circuit we take the wide grassy path uphill to our left and on reaching a gate at the top we turn left onto the track.

At the end of this track we emerge onto a private road where we carry straight on and out onto the main road, Totteridge Lane where we turn right and pass in front of the Orange Tree pub and then the primary school before crossing the green to the end of the road facing us, Greenway. We walk along this road to the end where we turn left onto Longland Drive and then right back onto the main road.

We continue on this road until just after the tube station on the left hand side we come to the lovely Waiting Room cafe where we enjoy coffee and a scone before returning to our car on Great Bushey Drive. An immensely enjoyable and very local easy walk – a taste of real countryside right on our doorstep.



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