North to South London Trail Part 1  

Twelve Polys congregated at Cockfosters station for the first part of a new route across London from North to South: 34 miles Cockfosters to Carshalton Beeches, taking advantage of the many parks and green spaces. After a short walk through the suburbs, admiring some beautiful magnolia blooms, we negotiated some serious mud descending into the ancient woodland of Oakwood Hill Wood nature reserve where a woodpecker was hard at work in the surrounding trees. We then followed the Pymme’s Brook, a tributary of the River Lea, Trail into Oakhill Park, Brunswick Park and Arnos Park, passing the impressive Arnos Park viaduct built in 1932 when the Piccadilly Line was extended north from Finsbury Park.

We entered Broomfield Park with the remains of its, unfortunately seriously fire damaged, great house. The landscaped grounds with the original Tudor walls remain for the public to enjoy, so we stopped for lunch; either a picnic or delicious cake and coffee at the Palmers Green Community café, run by volunteers. After lunch we continued along the New River Path to Alexandra Palace station via Finsbury Gardens. This is not actually a river but a waterway opened in 1613 to bring drinking water from Hertfordshire to London. One of our members decided to return home from there, while the others took the uphill path to Alexandra Palace. 

While we were enjoying a refreshment stop Chris, who fortunately checks his phone more than the leader, informed us that Gillian, Stuart and Pam were walking towards us. We met up with them and were informed that Pam had sent a message advising of her transport issues getting to the start of the walk. The leader was mortified, but Pam was undeterred and had completed the walk starting just slightly behind us. Gillian and Stuart had been on a boat trip to celebrate the latter’s birthday. Now numbering fourteen, we proceeded along the North Parkland Walk and Highgate Wood to Highgate station. 

The other 4 sections will be offered on future programmes during the winter months when a walk in London is often convenient due to short days and uncertain weather. The leader also made a promise to ensure she checks her phone properly before setting off!


Photos by Ida and Rajesh