Distance: 5 miles / 8km
Date completed: 1st May, 2021

Another gloriously sunny day, and an early start in advance of meeting some friends in Stoke Newington. This was our fourth section completed, and Section 12 of the TfL guide, and after managing to walk 1km around Highgate Tube looking for where we were meant to start, we eventually found it, which was out of the original station exit we had used (Priory Gardens exit!)

Once we were on track, the first section of the walk is very straightforward as it follows the Parkland Walk which is an old railway line largely abandoned at the outbreak of the Second World War. The tracks were eventually pulled up in the 1970s and it is now a haven for wildlife, dog walkers and cyclists.

Parkland Walk Gardens

Being a disused railway, the path is nice and flat with slow meandering curves.

Parkland Walk

Just past the halfway point of the Parkland Walk, we got a view of the City that was very similar to that of the previous week when walking from Crystal Palace to Streatham but from the opposite side of the ring.

Parkland Walk view of the City

One of the nice things about walking a disused railway line is that you often get a different perspective than you would normally have, especially when it passes over a bridge above normal ground level. In addition to the view of the City, the BT Tower also made an appearance in the distance.

Parkland Walk BT Tower View

At the end of Parkland Walk, we were brought into Finsbury Park, where we stopped for a coffee at the Finsbury Park Cafe. After the quick pitstop there is the choice to take the shorter route, but we carried on through some gardens, which at the time were a little underwhelming, either in need of some planting, or maybe it was just too early in the year to capture them in bloom.

Finsbury Park Gardens

The Capital Ring, then takes you onto the New River Path. We were a bit put off by the first section of this, as it is in need of some attention, and doesn’t pass through the nicest neighbourhood in the area.

We were taken aback by the beautifully graceful nesting mute swans, but also saddened that they had made the nest in part from rubbish that was in the water.

Nesting Swan

This fella didn’t look too impressed by the rubbish in the water either…

New River Path Grumpy Bird

After we had crossed the Seven Sisters Road, the New River Path became a lot smarter and a more pleasant walk. One of the joys of walking at this time of year is when you see a large brood of ducklings taking some early steps in life.

New River Path Ducklings

The path leads on between an impressive new building development and the Woodberry Wetlands set amongst the East and West Reservoirs. At the end of the path is another fine example of Victorian architecture: the castle-like pump house, which is now home to the Castle Climbing Centre.

The Castle Climbing Centre

A short walk down Green Lanes, we start to keep an eye out for the obligatory public house stop, however it is quite a busy road, so we carry on into Clissold Park, which has two nice lakes at the north end…

Clissold Park Lake

…and in the south east corner Clissold House, a very tiny, old church (imaginatively called The Old Church), plus its much less subtle replacement (presumeably)…

St Mary’s Church, Stoke Newington

The walk then continues through Stoke Newington and we were now definitely in need of a pub to put the rubber stamp of completion on the walk. Still faced with the problem of covid restrictions only allowing pubs to open their outdoor area, we anxiously headed for one at the top of the list, The Jolly Butchers.

We were pleased to get a seat outdoors with no difficulties, thankfully it was just gone midday, so only just past opening time for many pubs. They had a great selection of beers, including some nice alcohol free ones which my wife tried out. I asked for a nice IPA, which it certainly was, but was also a fairly alcoholic number, which I only discovered on starting my second pint. Luckily we had a couple of delicious “Indian Beer Snacks” to soften the blow, which made us want to revisit at some point to sample some more from the main menu.

Other pubs we had as options were: