84 – Totteridge Circular 9.5 miles – 12th October

In short: a lovely long leg-stretching North London countryside walk. First discovered 2 years ago, courtesy of brilliantly detailed instructions on the Saturday Walkers Club website. Free on-street parking, public toilets halfway at the Waffle Cafe on Belmont Children’s Farm & fabulous cafe to finish. 3 hrs 45 mins walking + 2 pitstops: 30 & 45 mins.

We first did this gorgeous walk exactly 2 years ago – it was our introduction to this beautiful part of North London, incredibly rural with lovely views all around.

We start by parking on one of the side roads near to the start – in this case we find a spot at the top of Longland Drive close to the junction with Totteridge Lane, approx postcode N20 8HG. We immediately head to the top of the road and turn right onto Totteridge Lane and right again onto the Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

We follow this section of path beside the brook, ignoring the first path off right and then crossing the brook at a bridge to follow it on the right to the gate ahead. Here we exit and turn right onto Laurel Way, crossing Longland Drive to carry on ahead and taking the second turning on the right, Lynton Mead. We then take a left onto Coppice Walk which we follow to the end where we take a path off right just after the final house, up through woodland to the Totteridge village duck pond.

We cross the road to take a path on the far side, turning left to pass to the right of the pond and taking a path right between fences and ultimately out into the lovely open vistas of Totteridge fields.

We follow the path downhill to the bottom of the hill where we turn right to cross a stream and then immediately take another path off right through trees, along the edge of a meadow and alongside an established stream with lovely field views to our left.

We clamber over the trunk of a fallen tree (legs too short to simply step over!!) and shortly after crossing the stream we go straight ahead and come to a T-junction where we turn left.

Very soon after we come out to a bridge with a view over the lovely Darlands Lake.

Here we turn left to follow the south side of the lake. After about 10 minutes, shortly after crossing a footbridge, we come to a T-junction where we turn left onto a path with trees on both sides and fields beyond.

After crossing a shallow ditch on a new-looking bridge we turn left onto a broad path with a field on our right and a fence to the left.

At a kissing gate we take the path diagonally south west across the field to a gate at a corner (passing a delightful herd of cows!). Here we turn sharp right to climb steadily uphill towards the road, Totteridge Common, at the top.

The views across the neighbouring fields are really stunning:

Just before reaching the properties at the top of the hill, our lovely guide tells us to look back at a gate and admire the view downhill – it creates an illusion of fields and woods all the way to Highgate, if not further!

At the top of the hill we emerge onto Totteridge Common between the two ponds that are visible from the road.

Here we turn left to walk beside the pond, eventually crossing the road when a combination of bushes and mud make this side of the road impassable! On the far side of the road we follow a path parallel to the road until we reach a sign on the far side, marked ’45’ and here we turn left onto a drive.

We basically now follow this path all the way to the foot of the hill, with trees on both sides but fields visible beyond. After a while we reach an exercise track for some nearby stables which we cross to continue on the path on the far side. And beyond this we cross a track which forms part of the Belmont Children’s Farm – and indeed we pass tractor and trailer which forms part of the attraction.

The last section of this path brings us out past a primary school and onto the main road through Mill Hill, The Ridgeway. Here we turn right and head for the entrance to the Belmont Farm to make use of the toilets there (accessed via the cafe) and then the cafe itself where we have a perfectly decent coffee and pastry.

After a rejuvenating pitstop we return to the Ridgeway and cross the road at Hammers Lane, continuing along the road to enter a park on the left. Here we walk along the path parallel to the road and enjoy the views across North-West London – in particular the notable shape of the Wembley Arch.

On leaving the park we continue along The Ridgeway past a converted convent and straight down Highwood Hill – steeply approaching a road junction ahead. We turn right here and cross the main road by the Old Forge and onto a footpath ahead through a double metal kissing gate.

Here we somehow manage to deviate from the directions we are following. As instructed we cross the field, bearing right to a kissing gate ahead – ignoring the one straight ahead on the field edge. But at this point possibly we should have turned right? I’m not sure – but in any case we carry on ahead and up the field exiting at the top onto a footpath through trees which leads us back to the main road, Totteridge Common, which we reach at a junction by some traffic lights.

We realise we are a little too far along this road and so cross and turn right until we reach the public footpath signpost to May’s Lane where we turn left. We then pass through a kissing gate again to walk initially along a lane bordered by fences but soon coming out into a field with woodland.

We keep going on this path downhill until we reach a T-junction where we turn right. We now walk along this path – along field edges – for six fields (apparently – we aren’t counting!) – until we reach a field with a line of mini pylons across it.

We turn right here to walk along the edge of the field curving round to meet the pylons and we exit the field in the same direction as the pylon line, turning left immediately through a gap in the hedgerow and then going straight ahead along the left hand edge of the field.

At the far end of the field we turn right and pass through a gap into the next field which is mainly rough grass and saplings. We turn left along it’s bottom edge and at the end of the field we cross an avenue of trees and continue straight on across a bridge into another field. Straight on across this next field brings us to a gap in a fence and here we turn left onto a more substantial path.

After just 20 metres we turn right to cross a plank bridge with a stile immediately after and we are now in a small wood. Within a few metres we veer right to emerge into a field where we turn left to walk along the edge. This path curves right and just as it curves left again we turn right to cross the middle of a field on a grass path.

On the far side we ignore a gap ahead and turn left to follow the field edge downhill. After about 80 metres we turn right through a gap into the next field where we keep straight ahead, to the right of a group of trees and bushes, and straight ahead beyond to the far side of the field.

Just before this we ignore a gap and turn left on another grassy path, following the field edge as it curves and narrows where we exit onto a tarmac path. We cross this into a field and turn left onto a path before and alongside a metal fence. At the fence corner we turn right to follow it uphill and cross into the next field.

Here we bear left across the next field to exit at a gate ahead onto a road, which we cross, turn left and soon after right at the sign for the Dollis Valley Greenwalk beside a table tennis club and all weather football pitch.

We walk through this small car park and emerge beside some playing fields where we continue straight on – now with the Dollis Brook once again on our right.

At a T-junction of paths we turn right and are now heading south on one of two paths – one is supposed to be a footpath and the other for bikes but it isn’t clear which is which!

We continue straight on this path for a good mile or so until we finally come out onto Totteridge Lane and here we turn left to walk past the tube station to the ever lovely Waiting Room cafe. After a glorious halloumi and roasted vegetable salad, a cold drink and then a restorative coffee we are thoroughly revived.

Wow, wow, wow – how absolutely fabulous – highly highly recommended and do follow the proper instructions on the Saturday Walkers Club website if you want to do this – they are completely fantastic!

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