Running in London is often characterised by running on pavement and road crossings. The 2.75km stretch of Parkland Walk between Finsbury Park and Highgate is a refuge from all of that. It is easily my favourite run from my home in N5, Islington.
Here are some photos I took from my run on 15 Sep at 8am in the morning which was a particularly sunny day by London standards.
The path follows a former rail trail and is maintained by the friends of the parkland walk. Check out their history page to learn about the history of the rail track (including the fact that it nearly became a tube line!), and for the nature and conservation work they are up to, including the wildlife trail open to the public on weekends.
Given how good of a walk it is, it can get pretty crowded on the weekends and dogs off the leash and prams make it necessary to do a bit of dodging in the narrower parts if you are running past 10am. (N.B. this is particularly true in winter when the path can get quite muddy, especially at the start and end of the tracks where it’s narrower). If you run early cross paths with a number of runners and a few walkers and cyclists (I passed about 20 in my 5.5km out and back) but you’ll spend more time without anyone in sight than with.
I enter from the Finsbury Park end of the track, running over a wide set of tracks that form one of the main entry points for regional trains into London Kings Cross.
As you turn right onto the path there is a large building close to the path. I always assumed it was some type of utility building but it turns out it’s an Artist’s Co-op which has occasional open days.
The run is varied, with a lot of remnants of the train track, graffiti and flora.
This adventure playground and the associated building is owned by an employee-owned organisation that provides free adventure playground play for local kids. There was also a small half-pipe for skateboarding next to the path near here here but it got removed recently.
If you run all the way to the end and up a short steep hill, onto the street and turn right you’ll be right at Highgate Station. You can continue to the rest of the Parkland Walk but I usually turn around here as an 8km run is plenty long enough.
It’s a very popular run, as can be seen on Strava heatmaps. If you want to continue running the most popular options at the north are around the perimeter of Highgate Wood, then across to Alexandra Palace, or if you want to run some bigger kms you could run west over to Hampsted Heath. If you want to run further at the southern end of the track, Finsbury Park laps, or heading over to Clissold Park are good options.