Hello lovely readers. This post is the first in what I plan to be a series of running routes to discover in the capital. I hope you find it useful. If there are any routes in particular you recommend or would like me to cover, please let me know in the comments or drop me an email.
Parkland Walk is one of North London’s best kept secrets among walkers, runners and nature lovers alike. A nature reserve and conservation area, it runs about 7km along a disused railway line between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. Its dappled shady paths and abandoned concrete station platforms make for an atmospheric off-road running route, particularly lovely on hot days.
The route begins in the south west corner of Finsbury Park. Head over the railway line and take a sharp right up the roughly hewn steps, just before the start of Oxford road. You’ll start off by running through Stroud Green and Crouch End, where you’ll pass the ruins of the abandoned Crouch End railway station with the old platforms still intact on either side. You’ll often seen bands shooting amateur music videos here, or photographers experimenting with the light.
As you head further north, you’ll reach Highgate where you leave the railway line for a while and run through the peaceful and scenic Highgate Woods. Here, ancient hornbeam trees are interspersed with oak, and a huge number of birds and other wildlife (including bats) are frequently spotted. There’s a challenging hill too (but a lovely cafe at the top if you are in need of refreshments).
The final stretch takes you along the top of St James’ viaduct with some spectacular views over London. You’ll find little benches here, well placed to take in the view or stretch out. As you near the end of the route, you’ll see the stunning silhouette of Alexandra Palace draw closer. If you time it right, you can take advantage of one of the multitude of events they hold up here, from silent discos and outdoor cinema at the Summer Festival to the culinary delights of the Street Food and Craft Beer Festival.
Not far from the palace, you’ll find Alexandra Palace railway station, and a train that will take you back to Finsbury Park in just seven minute iif you don’t fancy running all the way back!