Totteridge Circular walk

Meadows, woods and villages on the Northern Heights

Looking back down the hill (para 28) Totteridge Circular walk

Looking back down the hill (para 28)

Totteridge Circular walk

28-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Bench with a view (option c & d) Totteridge Circular walk

Bench with a view (option c & d)

Totteridge Circular walk

29-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Buttercups in early June Totteridge Circular walk

Buttercups in early June

Totteridge Circular walk

07-Jun-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Out into the countryside (para 13) Totteridge Circular walk

Out into the countryside (para 13)

Totteridge Circular walk

28-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Looking down on Alexandra Palace (para 287) Totteridge Circular walk

Looking down on Alexandra Palace (para 287)

Totteridge Circular walk

28-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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The Long Pond (para 29) Totteridge Circular walk

The Long Pond (para 29)

Totteridge Circular walk

28-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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After lunch (para 45) Totteridge Circular walk

After lunch (para 45)

Totteridge Circular walk

28-Dec-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Thu, 27-Jan-22

Date # Post
Sun, 12-Dec-21 9

Sunday Walk: Totteridge Circular (replaces Chesham)

Main walk 14.1km (8.8 miles) Difficulty 2/10
This walk replaces the Chesham walk, which is cancelled due to there being no early trains. Instead, you're being sent to explore London‘s ‘Northern Heights’ - the hills above and behind the more famous ones of Hampstead and Highgate. At one point on this walk you can actually look down on Alexandra Palace and Highgate Hill.
Trains get the Northern line to arrive at Totteridge for 10:30 (a train departs Tottenham Ct Road at 9:45, arriving 1022). Use journey planner to plot your own route.
Return trains are frequent.
The recommended pub is the Three Hammers in Mill Hill, 020 8959 2173, 7.6km (4.7 miles)
other possibilities are the Rising Sun and (on the morning shortcut) the Summer House, the cafe of Finchley Nurseries.
Tea up the hill from Totteridge & Whetstone station, say 300 metres. there is a Costa Coffee, open till 5.30pm, with the independent Caffe Agust just beyond it, open until 6pm..If you take the Totteridge Village ending. you may be able to get in the Orange Tree. Sounds a bit posh..
Directions here

Having arrived at Totteridge a few minutes late due to Central Line delays, I thought I might be the only one showed up. I set off as fast as my little legs would carry me on a mild, occasionally sunny day. There was mud. Mostly slippy not sinky but still quite splashy. An arduous short cut later, I reached the 3 Hammers. I didn't think they would let a mud encrusted apparition such as myself through the door but, having pressed my mud encrusted nose up against the window, I was surprised to find 7 other walkers sitting sedately inside, about to tuck into lunch. Readers, I was not alone! So I joined them. That made 9 altogether (one having already left). Three of that number were new to the group. Staff were friendly and attentive and the food seemed alright.
After lunch, the mud seemed to get deeper and started to get more sinky . The sort of over your boots stuff that would trap a mammoth. We pressed on. I don’t like to use the L word, as you know, but we definitely went off piste a couple of times and had to retrace our steps back through some of those mammoth traps. Eventually, we reached the station. Most went in search of a café to round off the day. But not yours truly. Yours truly just got the train. A day mostly fine turning cloudier with hints of rain. Enjoyable, but crikey Moses, the mud!

Sat, 04-May-19 12

London's Northern Heights

An easy walk in London Northern Heights using option a)

Length 8 miles (13 km)
Toughness 2/3 out of 10

Getting there

Catch a Northern Line (Northbound High Barnet branch) Underground train to Totteridge & Whetstone station to arrive there before 10:30
Journey times from Central London (Tottenham Court Road / Bank) are about 30 / 35 minutes

Getting back

Catch a Northern Line train or suitable bus from Totteridge & Whetstone.

Plan your journey here.


Buy an Oyster or Travelcard to cover your starting zone, any zones you will pass through and zone 4


With less than summery weather on the cards, this is an easy walk in a surprisingly rural part of North London
More details on the link below

12 + 1 Jack Russell on a warm chilly sunny hailstoney blowy sort of day. And let’s not forget the one clap of thunder. Probably louder than Krakatoa.
Surprisingly rural (just like it said in the intro). Cow parsley wild garlic and stitchwort all in flower as was some of the hawthorn. But with the occasional hailstorm in the offing I ended up putting on more clouts than I cast.
If I did the walk again, I think I would choose the village ending. I found the last 1.4 km of the direct route a little tedious.
Those that ate seemed pleased with the 3 Hammers. There was talk of going to the Waiting Room café at the end. But Mr Tiger can’t verify that. Mr Tiger had adopted a slow stealth crawl and was some way behind the others.

Following on from Mr. T.'s report 6 of the 12 took tea at the Waiting Room café. Quintessentially English with cotton doilies, silvered teapots and delicious lemon drizzle cake. Unfortunately the Café's dog policy didn't allow Gabriela (a new walker to the SWC group) to bring her well behaved Jack Russell into the café : (
However, The Three Hammers had no such restrictions and even offered to bring a bowl of water for Smakas (the Jack Russell). Friendly staff produced food in good time in this large accommodating pub. There was also a separate Vegetarian/Vegan menu for those who wished to order same.
The couple of weather micro bursts in the afternoon were spectacular, but quickly over. Walkers who hunkered down in the bus shelter during the first session resisted temptation to catch the 251 bus to Burnt Oak which conveniently turned up during the hail.
There were a number of bird watchers towards the beginning of the walk and they said that they and we were looking at Grey Wagtails.
Sun, 25-Nov-18 11

London's Northern Heights

Totteridge Circular

Length: 14.1km (8.8 miles) Toughness: 2 out of 10

Meet at 10:30am> at Totteridge and Whetstone tube station, the penultimate stop on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. The journey time from Euston is 25 minutes. All stations at the start and alternative finishes are in Zones 4 or 5.

This is a delightfully rural walk in north London’s greenbelt countryside that escaped development in the 1930s thanks to local resistance. Meadows and woodland feature strongly.

The recommended lunch pub is the Three Hammers (020 8959 2173) in Mill Hill, 7.6km into the walk.

As well as a shortcut to lunch, saving 1.3k, there are two possible extensions in the afternoon, one to High Barnet, making a total walk of 18.1km (11.2 miles), and the other to Cockfosters on the Piccadilly line, making a total walk of 19.8km (12.3 miles).

You will need to download the Walk Directions.

This time of the year this walk can be very muddy and waterlogged
I haven't found any evidence yet of serious mud and/or waterlogged fields, after the long, hot, dry summer of 2018. I have gaiters, just in case.
I thought that I might get to record a verified zero attendance on this walk (as opposed to the assumed zero attendance if we get no walk report), since on arrival at the station (my local one) at 10.27 no other walkers were in evidence. Had none turned up, I would have gone off to do something else. But in fact they were all assembling on the station platform in traditional SWC style, and in the end a group of 11 set off.

The clouds were parting at this point and for a time it was fairly sunny. Alas, by mid morning it clouded over, so briefly sunny then cloudy is entered into the log. There was no mud at all, with even normally bog prone parts of the route being solid underfoot. Some fine remaining colour on oak trees but basically trees were bare.

Most did the main route to lunch, enjoying the view down onto Alexandra Palace, Highgate and other such lesser heights. At least one walker, who we are happy to see back with us after a break for medical reasons, did the short cut to lunch and reported no navigational problems apart from having to circumvent a football game. Two walkers, mysteriously, materialised on the main route going in the opposite direction from the one specified, having got lost in some way or other. They went on to complete the walk from this direction without going to the pub. One other apparently got a bus home from the lunch pub.

Four of us lunched in the not at all full Three Hammers and three of us enjoyed fine roasts (nut in my case) with generous portions, which we accompanied with a talk about the dangers of eating too much carbohydrate. Three picknickers joined us for drinks: one went on alone.

In the afternoon seven of us enjoyed an uneventful walk back to Totteridge station. None went for tea, as far as I am aware, apart from the picknicker who had gone on ahead who found Costa Coffee well frequented, the tea room near the station having mysteriously decided to close early (a commercial lesson there somewhere...).
Sun, 05-Nov-17 12

Exploring the London heights - Totteridge Circular

SWC 228 Totteridge Circular (Main walk)

Length 14.1km (8.8m); toughness 2/10

Take the High Barnet branch of the Northern Underground Line and assemble at Totteridge and Whetstone (Zone 4) - the penultimate stop- at 10.30am

This walk was done in April this year to appreciate the spring flowers but it makes a fine autumn outing as it explores an attracive stretch of the green belt that will come under increasing pressure as the demand for housing in the South East continues to grow.

Although close to London this is a proper rural walk with some fine views.

See the walks page here for further information about the walk, options to shorten or lengthen the walk and the lunch and refreshment options. Click on the pdf tab for full walk instructions.

An ideal day out for those who do not want to stray too far out of London now the longer nights are here.


Hi can the editor / poster of this lovely walk please help me out? would be grateful to know about what time would the lunch pub be reached seeing as the walk begins at 10.30? hoping to link up with someone who wants to do the second part of the walk..
Thank you!
12.45 or so
I honestly can’t imagine this bit of green belt being built on. It very nearly was in the 1930s and was saved by the villagers buying the rights to the manor of Totteridge. This makes it greenbelt royalty.
Where will you stop for lunch?
12 on this walk, who set off smartly to avoid a large party of Ramblers doing the same walk. We showed them a clean (or possibly dirty) pair of heels...

It was a glorious sunny start to the day though with more cloud later. There was a keen wind, but this walk generally seemed not to be exposed to it. This walk can be very muddy later in the winter (I created it so I can say this) but today the paths were (with a few minor exceptions) delightfully firm. There were good amounts of autumn colour. Perhaps rather too many metal kissing gates (I think the Belmont Estate bought a job lot of them by mistake and decided to scatter them liberally around the landscape as a kind of performance art) but in general very pleasant scenery.

About half the group decided to do the short cut in the morning and so arrived at the lunch pub at just after midday to find it blissfully empty. Most opted for the magnificent sized roasts, which came quickly: the veggie cottage pie was nice too. We left the pub about 1pm and by 2.30pm were approaching the end of the walk, but none opted for the longer options. (The Ramblers, we understand, were made of sterner stuff and were aiming for Cockfosters). Six of us had tea at the cosy Waiting Room tea room by the station.
Sun, 02-Apr-17 16

Sunday Walk – a rural walk in London's Northern Heights

Extra Walk 228 – Totteridge Circular
Length: 14.1 km (8.8 miles), with optional extension (see below). Toughness: 2/10

Take a Northern line tube (High Barnet branch) to arrive at Totteridge & Whetstone (in TfL Zone 4) by 11:00.

Although this walk starts from a tube station the notes insist that it's a proper rural walk through London's “Northern Heights”, while acknowledging that you won't completely escape some urban noises off. The walk author also claims that the area around Darland's Lake is particularly nice at this time of year, so be sure to address complaints to him – you know who he is! – if you don't get good displays of wood anemones or come across any snakeshead fritillaries.

I've started the walk a bit later than recommended but you should still reach the “efficient” Three Hammers pub well before 1pm. There are several tea options near the station or a little earlier in Totteridge village.

Extension to Cockfosters: 19.8 km (12.3 miles), 3/10. If it's a pleasant spring day I recommend taking the “Longer walk to Cockfosters” across more green spaces and wooded commons, plus a nice café in Trent Park for tea. On this extension you could choose to break off in High Barnet if you want to stick to the Northern line. Both of these stations are in Zone 5.

You'll need to print the directions from this pdf document. T=swc.228
Did this walk today, 26 Mar, and can report both wood anemones and snakeshead fritillaries are plentiful and in full blossom.
They are indeed and cross fingers the blackthorn will also be in blossom by next weekend. It is seriously thinking about flowering as we speak.

16 ennjoyed this lovely 'Northern Heights' walk. sunny with intermittant clouds. I was impressed how rural the walk was. If it was not for the occasional road noise, it could easily be taken as one of the remote country walks. So well done for the walk author to introduce us to this undiscovered Northern Heights. Lots of flowers, wood anemones, snakeshead fritillaries, blackthorn to name a few enRoute. The lunch pub was value for money, with two course meals (Sunday roast and a few other options) at £11.95. Those who had fish and chips had a pleasant surpise unadvertised promotion at only £5.49. In the afternoon, 3 opted for a longer version to Cockfosters, 4 had tea and cross buns at Walker's Castle and rest decided to head home. A nice day out in good company. Thanks Sean for posting it.
Sat, 26-Dec-15 6

Boxing Day walk - North London

SWC Walk 228 - Totteridge Circular
Length: 13.8km (8.6 miles) with options to extend to 19km (11.8 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

Meet in the ticket hall of Totteridge & Whetstone station (Northern Line, High Barnet branch) no later than 11 am

For walk directions, click here.

Several North Londoners have requested this easy greenbelt walk for today, which manages a thoroughly rural feel despite being reachable by Underground. In places it could be a bit muddy (there are clay soils hereabouts) but it also includes a reasonable number of firm stony paths.

The Three Hammers, the lunchtime pub, is open today and does not require booking, though if any walkers are sure they are going to go today, a booking might not be a bad idea: coordinate this by posting comments below. If you pre-book, a special Boxing Day menu @ £19.99 is available, but the normal al la carte menu is also on offer too.

For tea, you will be delighted to hear that the Costa Coffee in the High Road will be open until 7pm. If you do the alternative ending through the village, the Orange Tree should also be open (leastways it is advertising lunch today)

Wed, 10-Jun-15 9

Mid-week day walk -Totteridge Circular

Totteridge Circular

Meadows, woods and villages on the Northern Heights

Book3* Walk 228

* Online only

Length: 14 Km or 9 miles

Toughness: 2/3 out of 10
Getting there: Catch a Northbound Northern Line Tube to High Barnet ( Journey time from Bank about 35 minutes) alight at Totteridge & Whetstone Underground Station (one stop before High Barnet)

Meeting point Totteridge & Whetstone Underground Station at 11:00am ( I'd suggest you plan to get there 10-15 minutes before 11:00am)

Tickets: Buy a suitable Travel or Oyster Card - I would suggest up to Zone 5 should you wish to return from Cockfosters ( Totteridge & Whetstone is in Zone 4 ).
You may find ticket details and prices here
Brief Description:
With the possibility of Industrial Action on the railways, our Transport Aficionado has suggested we take to the Northern Line Tube and give the Totteridge Circular Walk an airing.
This Walk explores an area of greenbelt that would have been engulfed by the 1930s expansion of London's suburbia but for the resistance of local residents. The result is a large chunk of countryside that intrudes into London on the so-called Northern Heights - the hills above and behind the more famous ones of Hampstead and Highgate. At one point on this walk you can actually look down on Alexandra Palace and Highgate Hill, and have the illusion that everything in between is still countryside.

You may find full details of the walk here and a downloadable PDF here

Suggested Lunch stops

The Three Hammers, Hammers Lane, NW7 4EA tel:020 8959 2173 in Mill Hill. 7.1km (4.4 miles) into the walk (5.8km/3.6 miles by the short cut) is the recommended lunch stop - an efficient chain pub run by Ember Inns, which serves food all afternoon. It has a variety of seating areas, including a small glassed-in patio and an even smaller garden, and should be large enough to accommodate a group.
For an alternative to the pub, The Waffle Café in Belmont Children's Farm in Mill Hill (more or less opposite the Three Hammers) is a large, but somewhat basic Café offering paninis, baked potatoes, and pasta specials. You can access it without paying to enter the farm.

Another lunch option, just off the main walk route is the Rising Sun tel: 020 8959 1357 offers "rustic Italian food" in a slightly upmarket table service restaurant with a small outside patio. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes, but does lunch 12-2.30pm on Wednesdays to Saturday, and all day on Sundays. This is not a large place, however, so it is a good idea to phone and make sure they have space.

For picnics, the park just beyond the Three Hammers in Mill Hill has a view over the north west of London and several well-placed benches. When the ground is dry in spring and summer, the greenbelt fields throughout the walk also have numerous pleasant places to stop.

On option e) Short walk from Totteridge to Cockfosters The Monk Pub on the edge of Hadley Green is a possible lunch stop.

Suggested Tea stops

In Totteridge village the Orange Tree is a popular village pub which had an upmarket makeover some years ago. Late in the afternoon it is usually quiet enough, however. It has some outside tables by a duck pond, but also next to a rather busy road.

Tea options by Totteridge & Whetstone station include The Waiting Room tea room 020 6445 0424, 50 metres up the hill from the station on the lefty, which is open Tuesday to Saturday to 5pm.

Alternatively if you carry up the hill from the station for 250 metres to the high road there is a Costa Coffee, open till 7pm Monday to Saturday, with Coffee Culture just beyond it, open until 7pm Monday to Friday.

On option c) Longer walk to Barnet, The Monk pub (not yet checked out) looks promising and advertises a garden at the rear.
There the inevitable Starbucks (open to 6.30pm Monday to Friday) and Costa Coffee (open to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday) but a better option if you can get there in time is The Coffee Bean (open to 5.30pm), which has nice cakes and open air seating in a courtyard, or Harris and Hoole A modern Café which is open till 6pm Monday to Saturday.
On option d) Longer walk to Cockfosters, the Cock & Dragon pub is a possible tea stop, but in summer, if you are finishing the walk not too late, it is worth making a small extra effort to go to the Trent Park Café a popular local haunt which has an excellent selection of cakes and other food. It is open till 7pm "if it is busy".

Explorer Map 173
Return tubes should be frequent and regular, there's also a plethora of bus options.

Can I point out that this walk has two longer options, one to Cockfosters extending it to 19km (11.8 miles). It involves a brief dip back into suburbia but otherwise is a pleasant enough walk across common and woodland. There is a nice tea option at the end.
9 sunny with passing clouds

9 Walkers took a punt on this walk, trusting the 'hype' of the normally reliable walk author. We were not to be disappointed, not one bit.

It explores a lovely part of suburbia, without it feeling like suburbia at all for most of the walk. The negatives of the walk are few and quick to list: about 10 minutes of residential streets near the start (and they were actually quite nice), and about 10 minutes along a busy road mid morning. That's it, as we didn't walk the 'normal' ending through Totteridge, but rather the alternative around it, along the Dollis Valley.

The Positives are numerous, as the route negotiates the large unbuilt upon green area between Totteridge, Mill Hill and Barnet, much of which is benefiting from benign neglect by the councils: the start and ending through the meadows and woods of the Dollis Valley, various bits of interesting woodland, full of tiny streams, ponds, reservoirs, a huge number of wildflower meadows, plenty of cows and sheep, stately (footballer's) mansions on ridges, a splendid (if a little understaffed on the day) lunch pub, frequent far views back to Canary Wharf, the City or later on Wembley stadium.

All this enhanced by the presence of the walk author, who is so familiar with the area, he practically knows every grass halm by name... He naturally had to field numerous questions on flora, fauna and local history and was patient enough to answer them all.

A couple of walkers only had time for part of the walk, others did the Circular walk back to Totteridge & Whetstone station, but 5 walked the alternative ending to Cockfosters. This has one 'bad' bit, about 10 minutes through the centre of Barnet (but at least it passes the legendary 'sloping pitch' of Barnet FC The Bees in the process), but then leads rather gloriously through Monken Hadley and Hadley Common. On this stretch it is impossible not to feel away from it all, although the map tells you that houses are practically within shouting distance.

Tea at Trent Park Cafe, and then for 4 of us and all in the interest of walk research back to the nearby Cow Inn, which is under new Mgmt and has just had a complete refurb. We stayed for quite a few hours, incl. a sumptious meal and the odd bottle of fermented grape juice. A rather splendid place it is.

Piccadilly Line train at about 22.00 hours. One of my longest Wednesday Walk Outings. Very Good Indeed.
Sun, 28-Dec-14 16 Totteridge Circular