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Time Out Takeover: celebrity spotting in a secret north London rural retreat

Posted at 1:30 pm, September 24, 2013 in Secret London

© Mike Clewley

takeover2As a 36 year-old cultural tourism officer from north London, reader Mike Clewley knows a thing or two about our fair city. But what would he recommend for the savvy Time Out blog readers? A hidden hotspot called the Parkland Walk…

I begin this blog slightly begrudgingly, as there’s part of me that worries by sharing one of my favourite thing to do in this great metropolis, it will somehow make it seem less special.

So, let’s just agree to keep between us then, OK? Cool.

© Mike Clewley

For the last 10 years, London’s longest Local Nature Reserve The Parkland Walk – running along the old railway line from Finsbury Park to Highgate – has been my 4.5 miles of personal sanctum from the jarring sounds and smells of the city.

Its snaking route of leafy trees and railway bridges transports you to a timeless, pastoral path with a plethora of wild flowers (over 200 species recorded) and animals (hedgehogs, butterflies, even deer), all juxtaposed with some pretty competitive graffiti.

© Mike Clewley

However, the thing that freaks me out every time is the weird wooden spriggan statue carved under the arches by sculptor Marilyn Collins – the inspiration for many an Instagram moment and even a creepy short story written by none other than Stephen King.

© Mike Clewley

The Parkland Walk has grown very popular in recent years among north London’s Lycra set for weekend jogging and cycling, but not enough to stop the likes of Chris Martin, Caitlin Moran and Simon Pegg enjoying its charms. I even saw Les Dennis there once walking his dog. Les Dennis, people. Mike Clewley

© Mike Clewley

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