Cycling The Dollis Valley Greenwalk

The Dollis Valley Greenwalk

The Dollis Valley Greenwalk is 10-miles long and runs from Hampstead Heath Extension, through Finchley, Woodside Park, Totteridge, Barnet and finishes in Moat Mount Open Space. Cycling the Dollis Valley Greenwalk follows alongside the Dollis Brook river and feels really peaceful with the water, trees, forests and fields. As you get further north from Hampstead Heath there are less and less people to be seen

Although there are large parts of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk that you are not allowed to cycle, we didn’t realise this until we were on our way. We kept it slow past the walkers and dogs and cycled on the grass rather than the path when it was busy. 

Dollis Valley Greenwalk Map

Cycling The Dollis Valley Greenwalk in 4 Degrees

I had planned to to join a group ride cycling a gravel route in the Chilterns, but after a week of the worst British weather you can imagine, the ride was cancelled. I needed my fix of nature but wanted smooth paths so this seemed like a great option. Plus it started right near where my friend Ari lives.

I set off from my home in Chalk Farm at 11am and cycled through Hampstead Heath dodging all the dogs frolicking on the paths, until I got to the Spaniards Inn. From there is the thrilling downhill ride towards Golders Green along North End Way, and continues onto the stunning Hampstead Way with the Heath Extension on my right. 

After picking up Ari we passed by my old school Henrietta Barnett before joining the start of the  Dollis Valley Greenwalk at Big Wood in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

It was 4 degrees when we set off but we were soon warm from the pedalling so layers were removed as we enjoyed the fresh air on our faces. We did not enjoy the constant nose blowing that comes with cycling in these temperatures!

A Failed Muddy Detour

When we got to Woodside Park, I had planned a circular detour from the Dollis Valley Greenwalk around Burtonhole Lane and Darlands Lake Nature Reserve. As soon as we passed through the first gate I knew we needed to turn back. My gravel bike wheels couldn’t get a grip on the thick wet mud and we tried going the long way round but it was just as bad. I turned back and Ari continued ahead to make a loop as he was on a mountain bike and loves a bit of mud. 

Next thing I hear a splosh and he’s slipped and on the ground. The rest of the ride was spent with his backside covered in mud. I did laugh at him!

Ari Falling in the mud. Gotta love his giggle at himself!

We carried on up the Dollis Valley Greenwalk through Whetstone Stray which continued to be paved. Once we got to Brook and Wyatts Farm Open Space it was just big meadows. As our bikes were now covered in mud, we were feeling brave and adventurous. We decided to tackle the meadows and try to make it through to towards Barnet. We really did give it a good try, cycling through big muddy puddles, wheeling our bikes over planks of wood and makeshift bridges. 


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Trying not to fall in the big puddle

As the fields got muddier it got harder and harder to pedal. My gravel tyres were spinning out on me and our legs were exhausted. After going round in circles trying to find a way through we gave up and headed to the Arkley Pub for some lunch.

Brooks Farm Open Space
Trying to find a way out of the muddy meadows

Lunch and Smooth Roads Home

We were pretty done in from those muddy meadows, so after lunch we headed back along the roads. From the Arkley Pub we were able to cycle along the picturesque Hendon Wood Lane, The Ridgeway and Partingale Lane. Those roads around Totteridge and Mill Hill make me  feel like I’m  in the countryside, not just outside central London. 

We enjoyed a final short detour back onto the Dollis Valley Greenwalk and we were back at Ari’s where I was able to gratefully hose my bike down and clean off most of the mud! Exhausted I then just had the last push back up North End Way before the downhill of Haverstock Hill. The rain that had been threatening all afternoon started just as my downhill began. 

Once home it was straight into my trackies, a hot cup of decaf early grey and 15 minutes of stretching so that my freezing cold body wouldn’t turn to stone.

I feel so lucky to have this route so close to me. I’ll definitely try it again when the fields are dryer and try to make it all the way to Moat Mount Open Space.

Route Map And GPX File

The GPX and map below are of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk until Brook Farm Open Space. The map includes the Arkley Pub and a return to the start of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk via Hendon Wood Lane, The Ridgeway and Partingale Lane. You will love cycling those roads.

To download the GPX file follow these instructions.

1. Right click the button below “Download GPX File”

2. Select “save link as” on pc, or “download link” on mobile

3. Choose your location to save the file.

4. You now have a downloaded GPX file that you can import to your chosen application such as Strava or Komoot.

The London Borough of Barnet website has plenty more information about the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. Including main points of interest and the closes stations.