WEST FINCHLEY, WOODSIDE PARK (Northern Line, H. Barnet)
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK
Dollis Valley Greenwalk. A very pleasant stream trail. I have combined these two stations in one entry as the route can be done in one long ramble of about 4 miles.
Please note that the Southwest section of this walk may be subject to closure while work is done to 'improve' the area. There is local concern over the scheme to introduce a cycle path, some of which has already been laid. While there is undoubtedly a need for the winding track to be re-surfaced and the banks of the brook to be strengthened, doubt has been expressed about the way this might be done. Unfortunately I have been unable to discover any kind of coherent schedule, so can only warn that it may affect your ability to enjoy this beautiful woodland wander. Don't let this deter you from at least seeing if this section of the way is accessible - the entrance to it is directly opposite the beginning of the Northeast route. Even if there is a notice which says part of the path is blocked, you might be able to get quite a way before having to turn back.
From WEST FINCHLEY Tube station cross over the road and go left for a few metres to get to Courthouse Gardens, cross over, then almost immediately turn down Fursby Avenue. After a few minutes cross Chesterfield Road. Soon you will come to a bridge over Dollis Brook. There is a path in either direction. I have split the walk into two sections.
Southwest: From Fursby Avenue go over the bridge and take the left-hand Dollis Valley Greenwalk waymarked path which at first leads past some well-kept allotments. Soon the trail goes through woodland, with the brook meandering on the left. In the spring the whole area is a mass of wild garlic – very pretty, if a trifle pungent in hot sunshine! This is lovely walk, with many twists and turns. On reaching a little crossroads walk straight ahead, ignoring the bridge on the left and a wide path on the right. Finchley Golf Course should be on your right only. Further on, at a T junction, turn right (away from the road visible on the left). Cross over a bridge. The track goes sharp left. A few minutes more walking and another bridge will bring you to Dollis Road. It is worth leaving the woods and turning right to have a look at the huge viaduct constructed in the 1860’s to carry the Northern Line railway to Mill Hill East. Now return to Fursby Avenue. In fine weather you can explore some of the woodland paths away from the brook on the way back. Allow about 45 minutes (pottering pace) for the round trip.
Northeast: The whole of the northeastern stretch is easy going for those with buggies or walking difficulties.To continue the walk cross over the bridge on Fursby Avenue, and enter a park-like area via the entrance on the northern side. Take the wide tarmac path by the side of the stream which should be on the right. After a few minutes you will come to a children’s play area. Carry on, then cross Argyle Road to pick up the route on the other side. This section ends at Southover Way. (To go further still along the Dollis Valley Greenwalk see the entry for Totteridge & Whetstone below)
If you want to end the walk at this point by going to nearby Woodside Park Tube station, retrace your steps from Southover Way. Look out for a small bridge on the left. Cross this and walk up a wooded path to Westbury Road (which becomes Holden Road). Turn left. Keep on until Station Approach.
WOODSIDE PARK Tube station From here you can do the same routes as those described above/below. Leave the station via Station Approach, turn left at Holden Road, following the line of the road straight on as it becomes Westbury Road. Almost immediately, opposite a pillar box, there is a marked pathway. Cross over to this and five minutes from leaving the station you are at the leafy Dollis Brook.
TOTTERIDGE & WHETSTONE
It is possible to continue along the Dollis Valley Greenwalk to Totteridge. To do this, at Southover Road turn right and walk a few minutes along the busy road until Tillingham Way. Soon you will see the sign for the brookside walk on the left hand side of the road. At Laurel Way cross over and pick up the stream again. This area is known as Whetstone Stray, its open meadowland being a total contrast to the southeastern trail. From Fursby Avenue it's about 45 minutes to Totteridge (slow walking - why hurry?)
When you reach Totteridge Lane go right to get to Totteridge & Whetstone station, about five minutes walk past a parade of shops. On the way you may notice there is yet another part of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. It's rather less interesting that the rest of the route, being two tidy paths bounded by the stream on one side and the railway on the other. I opted to leave the brook at this point and explore Totteridge Village. (see Totteridge & Whetstone).
Photos:Dollis Brook, viaduct, Whetstone Stray
MAP for West Finchley walk
MAP for Woodside Park walk
West Finchley/Woodside Park is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!