Stage 18 of the London Spiral starts off in a similar fashion to the previous stage, beside a winding river; this time the Dollis Brook, which wriggles through the valley below the Totter ridge, while last walk’s Pymme’s Brook chugged along the next valley to the east. There’s a tarmac path, which spares the soft ground in winter, but if you attempt to turn off along Folly Brook, you’re quickly in a muddy soup, which sticks to your boots and splashes your trousers.
So our walk largely stayed on the path, which meant suburban landscapes of semi-detached houses, front drives, and cul-de-sacs – although we did try and follow the ideal spiral and the public footpath over the field at Lullington Garth, but got sucked into the horse-churned mud at the stables.
Not far from the start, is the oldest tree in London, the Yew at St Andrew’s Church Totteridge.
We climbed from the valley floor up to the Ridgeway at Mill Hill, where we could see a number of unusual buildings, including a bunker converted to a luxury home, the megalithic, copper-topped Medical Research Laboratory, now dubbed Francis Crick Institute, the Mill Hill School, several religious institutions, and a bit further on, the UCL Observatory.
The National Institute for Medical Research published some great essays for general reading, everything from malaria research to gene therapy – worth checking out if you have an interest in Biology.
We are in Tube zone 4, walking from one arm of the Northern line to the other, from Totteridge & Whetstone to Colindale.
Mill Hill Village pond
On the other side of the main northbound arterial A1 & M1 roads and Kings Cross railway line, we pause to recharge at one of the most unusual and interesting cafes in London: the Royal Air Force Museum – that helicopter is older than me!
Meeting place: just outside Totteridge and Whetstone tube station, Northern line
Date & time: Sunday February 19th 2017, 1pm
Distance: the walk is an easy 4.5 miles
End point: Colindale station, also the Northern line, but a different branch
Cost: No charge
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 077932 00932
Walk finished in Colindale, where there’s plenty of new housing development focusing on smart, contemporary designs and high-level interior specification. We’ll take a closer look at the work underway next month.