65 – Totteridge and Darlands Lake, another variation 5.6 miles – 24th May

In short: slightly short of time this week we decide to return to our lovely local favourite. A beautiful sunny day with primarily firm hard paths apart from at Whetstone Stray which is very boggy. Usual lovely cafe pitstop at the end. 2hrs walking + 30 mins pitstop.

We park as usual on Great Bushey Drive, approx postcode N20 8QL and walk back to the main road, Totteridge Lane. Here we turn left to cross at the zebra crossing and immediately spot that the Dollis Valley Greenwalk here is STILL closed – as it was on this stretch a full 6 weeks ago!! How long does it take for goodness sake – are they manually resetting it stone by stone!

Anyway this leads us to take what turns out to be a delightful detour. We turn back along Totteridge Lane and straight away take a left onto Longland Drive. Just after passing Hill Crescent on our right there is a gap between houses on our left and a path to access Whetstone Stray Open Space which runs the other side of Dollis Brook from our usual path.

This is a charming path – green and tree-filled – we find ourselves envying the people with houses backing onto it! It might become our new preferred path over the one being re-surfaced.

We turn right to walk along this wide green path – extremely boggy in places – until it joins with the Dollis Valley Greenwalk arriving from the left just after it has crossed the brook.

We exit onto Laurel Way where we turn right, crossing Longland Drive, then Ventnor Drive before turning right onto Lynton Mead, then left onto Coppice Walk. Just after the last house here we walk through a gap in the hedge on our right and along a path through light woodland. Soon after, we emerge beside a willow tree onto Totteridge Green which we cross to pick up a path on the far side running in front of houses and behind the duck pond.

The path here veers right and runs between fences before opening up to a beautiful rural vista.

A divine rambling rose clambers over a fence on our right…

What a scene! We continue downhill here until we arrive at a junction of paths where we turn right across a small stream.

We decide to continue straight on along the beautiful avenue of trees straight ahead – a path that we always enjoy.

At the end of this path we bear right as we join another path arriving from our left.

Here we are in two minds about whether to take the path almost immediately off right which we took the last time we were here. Overgrown as it was 6 weeks ago it’s now completely impassable as it looks like yet another tree has fallen across the gate. And so we continue straight on.

We pass a farmyard – the ordnance survey map indicates another path or track leading from here but we can’t see anything and so continue straight on on Burtonhole Lane turning right onto the lane leading to Finchley Nursery.

Following this lane to the end we turn right in front of security gates onto a footpath leading once again through beautiful rural farmland – complete with wildflowers in the meadows.

We continue along this path until we reach a junction – to our left the path climbs towards some impressive properties and the road beyond. We take the alternative path (sort of straight on) across a field to a hedgerow diagonally across the field ahead of us.

We pass through a gate to enter a lovely tree-lined path with views left across open fields:

After walking along here for a few minutes we come to a new wooden bridge onto a path right through woodland which we take, as this leads us through eventually to Darlands Lake.

The lake is a muddy brown today – there has been a lot of rain over the last few days – but nonetheless gorgeous as ever.

We turn left on reaching the path around the lake, to pass across its top edge, until we reach the bridge at the far end.

Here we turn left to take another of our favourite paths – the wide grassy one leading uphill.

Again there are lovely wildflowers to illuminate the scene – views all around from here are tremendous:

At the top of the hill we bear right and leave through a gate to turn left onto a path. This brings us out onto a private road, The Close, where we carry straight on until we pass through a gate to turn right just before the main road, Totteridge Lane, and in front of the Orange Tree pub and the primary school.

We cross the green at an angle, crossing Totteridge Green road and picking up the end of Greenway which runs parallel to the main road. We continue on this all the way to the end where we turn left onto Longland Drive. Right next onto Totteridge Lane which we cross and continue on past the tube station to the divine Waiting Room cafe. Unfortunately we don’t really have time for one of their lovely lunches so we make do (!) with a delicious slice of homemade cake and a yummy coffee.

After, we retrace our steps along Totteridge Lane to Great Bushey Drive where the car is parked. Wonderful…and all on our doorstep – aren’t we lucky?

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