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ARNOS GROVE Piccadilly line

Arnos Grove Tube station is considered to be one of Charles Holden's finest achievements. Sadly much of the impact of the once-impressive Modernist circular hall has been lost with the breaking-up of its clean lines by insensitive introduction of ticket machines and other clutter. Particularly crass is the placing of the list of things you are not supposed to do on the station: this has been put next to the unusual wooden telephone booths (restored 2000), which come complete with a niche for directories. At least there are some history boards where the phones once were, and the passimeter* in the centre, although swathed in what looks like mosquito netting, has more information about the station. There are also some other original features - notably the seats and a large electric 'Way Out'  sign at the exit stairs. 

Now for a pleasant potter along a stream and through woodland. From the Tube station, walk left past the bus stops and turn left down Arnos Road which leads straight to the 44 acres of Arnos Park. As there are surfaced paths all round it is a good route for those with buggies and wheelchairs, though some of the areas in the woodland are in need of repair. Cross a small bridge over Pymmes Brook and go to the left. After a few minutes, left again and you will see a large viaduct ahead. On the left is a children's playground.  

The spectacular viaduct was built in 1932/3 to take the new Piccadilly line through the park, in the process destroying part of a medieval woodland (purloined by Henry VIII from the estates of the Nuns of Clerkenwell).  Some of the arches have been filled in and used as storerooms, etc. You can amble along either side enjoying the views framed by the brickwork. Incidentally, it has at least 4 more arches than Wikipedia says - admittedly they are beyond the park where the viaduct comes to a somewhat inglorious end in Waterfall Road. Over this road you will see a sign for Pymmes Brook Trail to the left of the viaduct.  Wandering by the stream as you went through the park you have been following this trail which is part of a 10 mile Long Distance Path. Anyone wishing to follow it further will find (limited) information here. Please be aware that the trail is not geared up for easy access to public transport along the route.

To continue your exploration of Arnos Park,  retrace your steps until you meet up with a left-hand track across the grass towards the woods. Take this and walk parallel with some houses glimpsed through the trees for a while. Soon you will pass a pair of handsome park gates. When the ways fork either take the path that leads through the trees or the lower one that skirts round the edge of the woodland. The upper route goes through an acacia avenue along a ridge by an area of long grass and wild flowers.  Benches are placed at intervals here, making it a good place for a picnic while you enjoy the view over the park. Either path will eventually lead round to the lower walk along the stream and back to the bridge at Arnos Road.

Photographs: click to enlarge.
Arnos Grove Tube Station
Original seat/Telephone booths and directories holder
Viaduct from under the arches/Pymmes Brook
View of viaduct across Arnos Park

*For non-railway-geeks, a passimeter is a machine for operating turnstiles on railway stations etc.  

This 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 to be found in the area 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 and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!