09 October 2021: Tottenham Hale to Ally Pally, London 10 miles

Event led by Andy H.
Attendance: 15 men, 1 woman (a guest)
Distance: 10.5 miles (16.9 km).
Time: start 11:15, end 16:16, lunch 40 minutes.
Speed: brisk with pauses, i.e. GPS reported via GPS Prune (compressed) ave speed at 2.38 miles per hour (3.83 km per hour), arithmetic mean (time over distance excluding lunch) was 2.41 mph (3.89 kmph).
Terrain: pavement, disused railway bed, road, track, grass, meadow on footpath, bridleway, highway.
Elevation: start 9m, high 104m, low 7m.
Weather: dry, sunny spells, cooling breeze, 18°C.
Number of sewage works: 0
Number of churches: 4½.
Number of golf courses: 0.


This was a point-to-point walk of 10.5 miles (16.9 km) from Tottenham Hale tube station, S to Clapton, SW to Stoke Newington, N to Woodberry Wetlands, W to Finsbury Park then to Highgate, then NE to Alexandra Palace.


The early autumnal sun of the day brought out the best of the urban environment, including a sample of the major environment types: riverside/towpath, residential (some of which looked very pleasant), High Street and parkland.  Much of the route followed the Capital Ring, sections 13 and 12 in order of the route.


Observations included:

  • River Lea towpath: always busy, lots of activity on the water.
  • Spingfield Park, which offered some superb views to the east & south and the White Lodge, a Grade II listed building.
  • Stamford Hill on Sabbath Day: the Capital Ring runs through a series of streets in which orthodox Jews live.  Today being Saturday, the Sabbath, many residents were simply going for a walk.  Whilst we traipsed through their turf in our walking gear, rucksacks, boots, etc, the residents deftly glided their way around, adorned immaculately to the point where no speck of dust would dare land on them.  Out-styled and out-panached, we humbly moved on.  For more about the clothing that we saw, there is a website.  Of course there is.  It turns out that we saw Spodiks (big round hats covered in synthetic fur) and Bekitshe (shiny black overcoats), both of which would be typical clothing for the Hadisim on the Sabbath.
  • Abney Park.  Commissioned shortly after 1832 as a private cemetery, Abney Park fell into disrepair upon its abandonment in the 1970s.  London Borough of Hackney bought Abney Park in the 1980s.  The policy has been to “manage” the park to go overgrown.  It’s quite an amazing place.  The group shot has the disused chapel at its background.
  • Stoke Newington “High Street”.  This is actually the B104, but acts like a high street all the same.  The nicheness of the vendors is quite distinctive, being sufficiently far away from a railway station so as to have preserved its “local-for-the-locals” feel.  A haven for small businesses?
  • Clissold Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clissold_Park#History
  • Woodberry Wetlands, https://www.wildlondon.org.uk/woodberry-wetlands-nature-reserve.  We saw many different birds here, including coots, moorhens, gulls, swans, cormorants, mallards and Egyptian geese.
  • New River Path.
  • Finsbury Park https://www.thefriendsoffinsburypark.org.uk/history including the Mackenzie Flower Garden in early autumn bloom.
  • Parkland Walk, a disused railway and now a linear nature reserve, https://parkland-walk.org.uk/history
  • Queen’s Wood https://www.fqw.org.uk/history.htm
  • Alexandra Park https://hornseyhistorical.org.uk/brief-history-alexandra-palace-park/ and https://hornseyhistorical.org.uk/alexandra-park-palace-what-was-there-before/


Churches (and similar):


The optional pub at the end was the Starting Gate at Alexandra Palace, at which 13 walkers attended.


The event was planned in line with GOC’s covid-secure policy.  This walk required no particular mitigations.

Words by Martin Thornhill.  Pictures by Peter O’Connor.

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