Saturday, October 10, 2009

St Jude's Autumn Walk 10 October 2009

Come and bring your families, friends and dogs if you would like to discover green and secluded paths through North London’s parks and woodland in autumn sunshine. We hope that this six-mile sponsored walk, almost entirely away from roads, will raise as much as possible for the St Jude’s central heating appeal fund. We shall start at St Jude’s, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb NW11 7AH, and finish at Manor House underground station on the Piccadilly Line.

The church of St Jude-on-the-Hill is a Grade I listed building. It is regarded as Lutyens’s masterpiece, but its size and age mean that maintenance costs are very high. Our small congregation now has to raise at least £130,000 to replace our antiquated central heating system.

Make a note of the date in your diaries now. If you do not wish to walk, please consider sponsoring one of the walkers or making a donation. Adult walkers are required to raise a minimum of £25 in sponsorship.

Start: St Jude-on-the-Hill, Central Square, London NW11 7AH
between 0915 and 10 am
Finish: Manor House underground station (Piccadilly Line)
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 2½ - 3 hours

The route

Cross Central Square and proceed down Erskine Hill. After a short while, turn right into Big Wood and walk through it. On leaving the wood, cross Oakwood Road into Northway Gardens, cross the brook and turn right. From now on until the end of the walk you will see signs marked Capital Ring.
[1] Follow the brook, cross Northway and continue along the brook until you reach Kingsley Way. Here turn right over the brook, then left past a barrier into Lyttelton Playing Fields. At a fork bear right, away from the brook. The track bends left past a playground and passes a pavilion and some tennis courts. Toilets here. After a bowling green, the path swings right. At this point, about 30 minutes from the start of the walk, look back for a fine view of the church and the other Lutyens buildings in Central Square.

Turn left and leave the park. Turn left into Norrice Lea past the Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue and continue to Lyttelton Road. Cross at the lights, then turn right and immediately left into Vivian Way. Follow it round to the right. In 250 yards you reach a little green, where the road swings left to reach Deansway. Cross over and turn left, then in 80 yards turn right into Edmund’s Walk. At the top, by another little green, keep ahead along a narrow path to a T-junction, then turn right along The Causeway to East Finchley Station, about 40 minutes from the start of the walk.

Walk through the station, cross the main road at the lights, then turn right and in 20 yards left between concrete bollards before the bridge. Bear right into Cherry Tree Wood. Walk through this small park past an open-air café (recommended for a coffee stop). Toilets here. Proceed ahead along Fordington Road. At the junction with Woodside Avenue, cross and go up Lanchester Road opposite. In 50 yards, turn left up a steep tarmac path between fences. Enter Highgate Wood through an ornate metal gate with stags and rabbits (about one hour from St Jude’s).

Keep ahead on the path to an intersection with a granite drinking fountain. Here turn right to the next junction, then left at a Capital Ring sign. Just a few yards ahead at this point, off the route, there are a café and toilets: turn left at the café for Ladies and right for Gents. Follow the path past a small lodge to your left, bear right and continue downhill to Muswell Hill Road and another ornate metal gate. Cross the road at the lights and enter Queen’s Wood. This section includes some steep paths and can be avoided by following the instructions in italics below.

Go down the path to the Woodkeeper’s Lodge (an organic café with limited indoor seating). You may be able to get a coffee here if they are not catering for a big party. Fork right downhill, then at the bottom bear right and follow the path uphill. At the next path junction, keep ahead to Queen’s Wood Road and cross it to the next part of the wood. The path rises at first, then drops downhill, bearing left. At a low brick wall, turn right up a tarmac path to Priory Gardens and turn right again. You have now done over half of the walk.

The walk continues on a footpath between house numbers 63 and 65 Priory Gardens. You emerge at Shepherd’s Hill. Turn right to Archway Road, go down it for 50 yards and turn left into Holmesdale Road and left again at the next bend into the Parkland Walk. You will see a sign saying Finsbury Park 2¼ miles. You have about one more hour of walking to do.

To avoid Queen’s Wood: after crossing Muswell Hill Road, turn right along it for 400 yards to Archway Road, then turn left. Keep on down Archway Road past the junction with Shepherds’ Hill to rejoin the route and turn left into Holmesdale Road.

From now on, virtually no navigational skills are required. The Parkland Walk, created in 1984 from a disused railway, takes you through Highgate, Crouch End and Stroud Green, sometimes under roads and sometimes over them at near rooftop level. You pass the derelict platforms of what used to be Crouch End Station. After about 45 minutes you reach the end of the Parkland Walk and cross a footbridge to your left over the mainline railway into Finsbury Park.

Keep ahead, following the Capital Ring sign to Stoke Newington station, and in 50 yards turn left and then right past the café, with the boating lake on your left. Toilets here. Pass a playground bearing half right, then turn left into the McKenzie flower garden. Those who wish can stop here for a picnic lunch, sitting on the grass, if the weather permits. You have five more minutes of walking to do.

At a five-way path junction, take the path bearing right past a small stone memorial to a Polish heroine called Helena Fedorowicz. Continue to the next junction, then turn right to cross the service road. Leave the park through the main gate. An entrance (exit 6) to Manor House Station is around to the left.

[1] The Capital Ring by Colin Saunders. Aurum Press Ltd, London, 2006.