Stage 10 – New River, New Stream

Perusing the map to plot a journey across Haringey gives not much indication of how interesting this route will be.

ally pally

I had imagined endless rows of poorish housing, tarmac and low rent stores, and, while that pretty much seemed to sum up South Tottenham around Seven Sisters, Wood Green and the so-called Green Lanes, once you sub under the main railway line north from Kings Cross you come to a world of green and rivers and trees.

Ancient trees by the look of them, in Highgate Wood. Solid, tall, left alone. And before that, spectacular views from Alexandra Palace across the great city. And below that, a man-made river, a reservoir and filtration beds.

The reservoir there filters, or perhaps filtered – it’s hard to see if it’s active – the water of the New River, which was created by Londoners to bring fresh water to the city.

From a flow of water to a flow of electromagnetic waves, carrying sound and images. It was from Alexandra Palace that the first ‘high definition’ television broadcast was made in 1936. The massive building is just too big and ornate to know what to do with itself, and remains a kind of blast from the past.

The walk follows an old railway line that never came to life, and takes us into the well to do houses of Muswell Hill. From here it’s old common land and playing fields around Hampstead Garden Suburb down to Golders Green.

swans on new river london

Palm House at Alexandra Palace

Tarzan swing, by Alexandra Palace

Highgate Woods water fountain

Wild flowers Hampstead


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