Saturday 06 June 2015 – Parkland Walk, London.
The Parkland Walk has been on my list of things to do for ages and ages, I cannot remember how it got on the to-do list or where I discovered it, but it looked like it was worth doing – mainly just because it was there to be done.
The walk follows the path of an abandoned railway line that was ripped up in the 1970s and turned into a park in 1984, it goes from Finsbury Park up to Highgate, it is not particularly long, particularly interesting or particularly scenic. But it is a really lovely short walk, taking under an hour from start to finish. It is also incredibly popular, I have never seen so many runners in London on a Saturday morning. It was a nice sunny day, though cool and very windy. A good running or walking day.
I am sitting at my mum’s dining table in New Zealand as I write this, I am tired after three days with almost no sleep, and jet-lagged from my flight over from London, so not feeling the most effusive today.
The path is surrounded by a narrow band of scrub and trees which mostly the hide the houses that run close to the path.
As the path is based on an old railway line there are numerous bridges along the way as the path passes under the roads. These are the heavily graffitied and a reminder that we are in the middle of a city.
There was also a really cool little playground under the trees.
Just past the remains of Crouch Hill station I spotted this sculpture lurking in one of the arches, quite frightening ! It is the Spriggan and is by Marilyn Collins, it was installed in 1993. According to urban legend, a ghostly ‘goat-man’ haunted the walk in the 1970s and 1980s and children dared each other to walk the walk between Crouch End Hill bridge to the Crouch Hill bridge in the darkness. The sculpture, and Parkland Walk generally, provided the inspiration for Stephen King’s short story “Crouch End” I can see why!
This section off the path ends just before Highgate Station when the lines go into old tunnels that have now been blocked off as they are now the home to bats.
We walked up past the station and across into Highgate Wood.
After seeing a sign pointing to a cafe we decided to take a break and sit down for coffee and cake, before backtracking a bit and heading up/down to Highgate.
We walked down through Waterlow Park in Highgate and on to Gospel Oak station to catch the train back to Walthamstow. El did. I took a detour through Shoreditch and grabbed a couple of new release records on the way. I wanted something new to listen to on the plane, but neither came with download codes which was a wee bit annoying.
It was a lovely walk, somewhere new to explore and something I would recommend on a sunny day. London never fails to amaze me with the amount of outdoorness there is.