If I learnt anything from four months in hospital, it was the pricelessness of a few hours of freedom. Judgement day, a.k.a ward round, took place every Monday and it was then any weekend ‘release’ would be granted. With pressure to spend the few hours well, weekend planning tended to involve consultation with Google and lengthy discussions with Daddy Nugent. Without fail, we’d go for a stroll to get as much fresh air as is possible in Tottenham. The areawas coincidentally where Daddy Nugent was born and bred, so he had many a story to tell.
“This is where I got this scar,” Daddy Nugent told me, boastfully pointing to his knee. “Got into a fight during a football match!”
And then there wasthe former strippers club next to his childhood church. I’d rather forget that one, to be honest.
I now feel my expertise of Tottenham’s parks and open spaces warrants a blog post. So it is with great pleasure that I present my rankings to you (from worst to best) and hopeyou are inspired to grab some walking boots (trainers or even crocs will do) and get out of the house.
=5) Walthamstow Wetlands
2.5 / 5
Having been closed to the wider public for 150 years, my expectations were high; perhaps too high. Frankly overrated, it was nonetheless an interesting experience. We explored the area on its opening weekend, with not much to explore but a bunch of reservoirs.
The wetlands would have been positioned higher in my list had it not been for thecrowded, gentrified cafe/reconverted Engine House that deprived me of a coffee. With my four hours freedom quickly diminishing, I was not going to spend it in a queue. I was however presented with some free badges, that I proudly showcased back at the ward!
=4) Woodberry Wetlands
2.5 / 5
After struggling to find the entrance, I was surprised by its pathetic size. Ideal for a short walk, I suppose, but with three hours to play with, perhaps not. Never mind. It meant we could venture further…
3) Finsbury Park
4 / 5
Nearby to Woodberry Wetlands, we were saved from boredom with a stroll around Finsbury Park- the actual park that is located in Finsbury Park, not just Finsbury Park… Oh gosh this is getting confusing!
Home to an expansive cafe overlooking a boating lake, the queue here was more amenable than at the Walthamstow Wetlands. There’s also a running track if you’re the athletic type. And if that’s not enough to tempt you, you can veer off down the Parkland Walk. The 2.5 mile stretch takes you from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, showcasing the multiple faces of Haringey
2) Clissold Park
4.5 / 5
Battling it out for first place is much-loved Clissold Park. Despite difficulty pronouncing the name, I embraced its childish feel and fell slightly in love. The goat enclosure had me on my knees, feeding them grass through the gaps. The toddler beside me almost lost his ham sarnie too.
1) River Lea
5 / 5
A hidden gem. Winding all the way from Luton to the Olympic Park and beyond, it’s got quite a history and, more importantly, plenty of coffee shops. Though my memories of our multiple visits will forever be marred by Daddy Nugent’s ‘breast milk latte’ tale. Don’t even ask…
Lined with barges, Daddy Nugent couldn’t resist a chitchat with the barge owners, who thankfully were friendly and accepting of his curiosity about their homes. A highly recommended stroll, although beware of the cyclists out to slaughter you!