A Natural Haven in the City: Finsbury Park

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Finsbury Park is one of London’s largest public parks.

Located in the bustling borough of Haringey, North London, the park offers a peaceful and pleasingly spacious natural retreat, stretched out over 110 acres, and completely free to public use.

There is a lot to see throughout the park. The park boasts a children’s play area, a landscaped picnic area, a gym, sports, courts, a small art gallery, and even an adult sized play area- yes, you read that right. 

Well to be truthful it’s more like an outdoor-gym, but it’s still pretty damn cool. A free gym people! Outside! In a park! 

Another highlight in the center of the park is a little lake with a variety of ducks and geese, situated next to a small cafe, which handily sells little bags of corn for feeding the ducks, at a very decent £1 per bag. Which naturally I couldn’t resist.

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After pausing to feed the ducks I decided to head northwards, with the intention to explore the area of the park given over to freely growing wildflowers, and large, twisted trees.

Wandering this section of the park was lovely. It was very peaceful, with an kind of understated, quiet beauty as well. There was a lovely carpet of daisies and buttercups just beginning to sprout out of the ground, and the gnarled remains of a number of ancient, fallen trees were dotted about here and there.

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The fact that it was beautiful weather that day also helped. After several days of drizzly showers (and a rather cloudy morning) I’d been worried about how the weather would turn out, but I was lucky enough to be blessed with very agreeable weather this day.

After taking a slow ramble of maybe an hour or so around this section of the park, I then headed back towards the south end of the park, to follow a two mile trail along an abandoned station station up to Highgate.

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While not technically part of the park itself, this trail was my favorite part of Finsbury Park. A wonderfully wild, overgrown little nature reserve, plants and trees are allowed to grow with little interference, in an effort to attract and provide a comfortable and appealing home for various birds and urban wildlife.

I have to admit that as I bit of a birdwatcher myself I had hoped that this trail could provide some great opportunities for a bit of bird/wildlife photography – alas, unfortunately this was not to be. While I did spot a couple of squirrels scampering up a tree, and a robin, which quickly (and probably wisely) disappeared in to the undergrowth once it heard me coming, most of the wildlife unfortunately remained hidden.

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While the birds were hardly seen, they could always, however, be heard. Birdsong was everywhere throughout this trail. And it was heavenly.

Its quite hard to describe the sense of peace and calm you get when walking through a lush, wooded area, surrounded by green, the smell of damp earth, and with no sound but the distant chatter of other walkers, and the sound of birdsong from all sides. It is simply blissful. 

The other notable part of this trail has to be the abandoned station, and the numerous colourful graffiti designs decorating the remnants of this old station. There was also a giant treehouse-like structure at one part of the trail too, which is also pretty neat.

It’s a wonderful hours walk, and if you are visiting the park I’d highly recommend taking the time to complete it!

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The closest tube station to Finsbury Park is Manor Park, about a 5-8 minute walk from the park. Entry to the park is free, but bring some money if you fancy popping to the cafe for a spot of lunch or making use of the sporting facilities on site.

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