Update: due to forecasted rain, we will be cutting the Parkland Walk section very short, and catch a bus to Alexandra Palace, where we can join in their Easter celebrations which will include live music and ice-skating, with breathtaking views over London.
The Parkland Walk is a four and a half mile walk in 'parkland' between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. Also known as the Northern Heights, the walk passes through Islington and Haringey and is a designated nature reserve.
The path was originally the line of the London and North Eastern Railway, and you can still see 'ghost' stations along the path. Following the closure of the original line, it was proposed to include it in a branch of the Northern Line but when the Second World War came along these plans fell by the wayside. Due to the linear nature of the former railway line, the walk is very long and thin with small patches of green space on either side of the path.
The Walk connects Finsbury Park, Stroud Green, Crouch Hill, Highgate, Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace and even has its own 'Friends of the Parkland Walk' group, who have been dedicated to protection of the resource since 1988. From the Haringey Council Website, we learn that this is 'London’s longest Local Nature Reserve', which is a pretty weak claim to fame, but it is a fairly pleasant walk away from the road and the altitude sometimes even gives some good views.
The walk is also a haven for plants and wildlife and along the route you might see oak, ash, birch, hawthorn, cherry, apple, holly, rowan, sycamore and yew trees, michaelmas daisies, golden rods, buddleia and guernsey fleabane, 22 species of butterfly, hedgehogs, slow-worms, foxes and even muntjac deer (though it is very unlikely you will see all of them).
We'll follow the Parkland Walk from Stroud Green to Alexandra Palace, which is described by Time Out as:
"Commonly known as the 'People's Palace' - or Ally Pally - Alexandra Palace looks out over North London from a height, its altitude rewarding casual walkers with spectacular views. Its commanding location, and its 190-odd acres of leafy park land, means it's often mistaken for a magnificent palace of regal importance. In reality, it's a slightly shabby affair. Built in 1873 as a palace for the people, it's experienced luckless fortunes including two devastating fires (the first just two weeks after it opened; the second in 1980 after it was rebuilt), years of poor funding and periods of bad management. Despite this, Ally Pally continues to hold a spot in the heart of Londoners, and a proud place in history as the birthplace of the world's first regular public television broadcast by the BBC in 1936. Fittingly, the building is now used for public events and entertainment. There's an indoor ice-skating rink, an expo hall and a vast gig space where you can catch big names and the odd clubbing event. The legendary bonfire night is a perennial favourite, while the boating lake, pitch and putt course, and deer enclosure are also popular family draws."