Where once a railroad line punched through the wilds of London’s Haringey and Islington, a scenic walking path has taken its place and the crumbling, abandoned stations and tunnels are now home to local superstitions, graffiti, and some whimsically unsettling decoration.
The portion of the London and North Eastern Railway’s line that cuts through the park was created as an extension to an existing line in the 1860s and was even scheduled to be connected to the London Metro at one point but the onset of World War II put a stop the plan despite much of the construction work already being completed. The railways continued to be used right up until 1970, but eventually the line was closed, and in 1984 the Parkland Walk was established.
The long trail is punctuated at various points by the ruins of the train line, many of which are still accessible to visitors. Much of the area has been put to use for ecological projects, but a great portion of the trail is also pretty sinister seeming. Gnarled trees lean overhead while the aging brick stands out like some forgotten fort. Local legends have unsurprisingly sprung up along the evocative path, with children daring one another just to walk down it in the dark. One local artist even took the feel one step further and installed a spooky-looking statue of a spriggan, or wood spirit appearing from one of the old station alcoves.
Graffiti is the only other constant decoration along the trail, which constantly changes and evolves just like the wilderness all around it.
Know Before You Go
Starts at the Oxford Road entrance to Finsbury Park and ends at Holmsdale Road, Highgate (just off Archway Road). This walkway is not lit at night. So, unless you are comfortable with walking in the dark, would highly suggest you plan your trip to occur prior to dusk. Be aware that this trail is popular with cyclists, joggers, and dog walkers.