I feel a little bad about posting this walk, as I still can’t find most of my photos. The ones I have are from a very grey day, so the walk looks far less lovely than it actually is! This walk goes through a very wealthy and pretty area of London so please ignore the grimness in my piccies! The walk takes you from Hendon, in a great arch close to the North Circular Road, then through lots of residential streets and parks until you get to the beautiful woodland in Highgate.
Hendon to Highgate – the basics
Distance: 9.6 km
Public transport: Hendon Central (tube) to Highgate (tube)
Best sights along the way: Brent Park and all the gorgeous woodlands. I love Queens Wood best.
Loos: There are some public loos near the end of the walk in Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood. When we went through, there were loos at the Cherry Tree recreation grounds. There are quite a few pubs close to the stations as well.
Hendon to Highgate map
Capital Ring Section 11 – the route
The walk starts in Hendon park which is pretty nice. We did this section along with two others, so we came through Hendon Park quite early in the morning. It seems to be well maintained with lots of trees. It just seems a little manicured when you compare it to the wild beauty of the woodlands closer to Highgate.
We wandered straight through and along the residential streets towards the river Brent. The houses near Hendon are huge! Maybe lots of them have now been split up into flats, but there were still quite a few that seemed to have one door bell each. It’s funny, when my dad was growing up (not too far from here) it was normal for families to live in houses like this. I cannot imagine us being able to live in an actual house in North London. It was hard enough to save enough for a deposit on a flat! I suppose this is just one of those generational changes. The only people I know my age that live in houses, live waaay outside of the big smoke!! Ah well.
Anyway, once you’ve wandered past some of these big houses you reach a small path on the edge of the River Brent. There are two falling down gazebos on either side of the stream. They look like the the kind of place Mad Madam Mim would live (from Disney’s a sword in the stone). Well, they look like that to me.
Keep walking along the river past a pond and turn right onto the Dollis Valley Green Walk. You have to go through a tunnel, under the road, then the path follows the river just down below the North Circular. This area is actually quite pretty, but unfortunately it is all so close to the North Circular that you can’t quite escape the road noise, no matter how rural the surrounding look. I actually felt pretty bad along this section of the walk. London pollution has given me asthma, and this close to a polluted road on a non-windy day was not particularly pleasant.
Luckily, the path soon turns away from the North Circular! Now you get to walk alongside various green parks next to Mutton Brook. Now the houses become super-posh! I really like getting to see all the lovely places people live! Northway gardens was lined with daffodils when we came past and Lyttelton Playing Fields was also full of blossoms.
I especially loved all the houses leading up to East Finchley station. It really is like being in a village. There are quite a few mock Tudor houses. They all seem to have gorgeous gardens, so it is really nice to wander past! To get to East Finchley station, you have to walk through the causeway! It is a little sneaky street that will take you from the village-like atmosphere, through the station onto a normal-looking high street. It is quite strange to go from village to town so quickly!!
Once you emerge from the Art Deco station, cross at the pedestrian crossing, and then go straight into Cherry tree wood. I love the gates into Cherry tree wood! You can see all the critters! The cherry tree recreation ground had a fun looking playground full of kids, so you could have a stop-off here if you plan to walk with children. You leave the park on Fordington Road, and then go over a mini roundabout onto Lanchester Road, which leads into the looovely Highgate wood.
I love Highgate wood. I love the way the trees seem so ancient and gnarled. It is really strange to wander around such an old section of forest so close to central London. I also love that you always get to see lots of dogs leading their owners around the various paths. Hopefully I’ll find more photos to add later as this is such a perfect part of London.
Once you have meandered around Highgate wood, you cross Queenswood road and go straight into Queens wood. This is always really pleasant, but for some reason it is always less busy than Highgate wood.
The last few steps of the walk take you up some steps from Queens wood and along Priory Gardens. Turn left up a steep narrow path between house numbers 63 and 65. This will lead up a steep slope to Shepherd’s Hill. You can then walk down the hill to Highgate station, or turn the other way if you’d like to follow the parkland walk to the next section…
You can find the TFL map for this section here and the google map here. We found the sign posts pretty easily on this section, but if you are worried about spotting them just make sure you download the capital ring google map to your phone!! You can find the rest of my Capital Ring posts here.