|To:||Alexandra Palace (TQ294892)|
|Distance:||3.4 miles (5.5 km)|
|Meets:||A1199, B105, A503, B150, A103, A504|
|Old route now:||A1199|
|Route outline (key)|
The A1201 is a winding A-road in north London.
The actual start location of the A1201 is somewhat mysterious. Does it start at Highbury Corner as the maps show or only at the junction of St Paul's Road and Highbury Grove? So the real question is whether the western bit of St Paul's Road is part of the A1201 or part of the A1199. Well it is signposted as the A1199 so we will assume it is, in spite of what some maps show it as, although it was certainly the A1201 in 1922 as the A1199 did not exist back then. (The eastern section of St Paul's Road was the B103).
Thus we start with Highbury Grove: you can only turn left into it or right out of it, so if you are coming from the East you'll have to continue on to Highbury Corner and go all the way round. From here we go through Highbury, a residential area that only recently got parking restrictions other than on match-days. Yes, those are days when Arsenal are playing at home and they play close by to this road. There are a lot of small roads to the left, which lead towards Drayton Park and the new stadium as well as where the old one was (although they moved ground recently, they didn't move that far really).
The road bends and becomes Highbury Park then Blackstock Road, with the B105 on the right as Brownswood Road, a route through to Stoke Newington.
Then as we approach Finsbury Park there is a small gyratory which used to extend across the A503 Seven Sisters Road. However, the section by the station was changed for bus use only, so all the traffic now uses the small entrance of Stroud Green Road. Just before we cross as we round the bend, we pass the infamous mosque which some extremists once used as a preaching ground and was investigated by police.
From this point on, the road was originally numbered A1000. Stroud Green Road is a busy shopping area at the start. The B150, which leads to the famous Harringay ladder, is on the right. The maps show this as starting with Woodstock Road but this is not the normal route and is only a through route to the east anyway: other traffic uses Upper Tollington Park.
After another set of traffic lights the road becomes less busy for now as we ascend a big hill called Crouch Hill (and pass the station of the same name, which is on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line) and shortly after we pass over Parkland Walk - land that was formerly the railway line between Finsbury Park and Highgate but which was closed many years ago. Now you may walk or cycle along it - but although it's recommended as a route for cyclists, it does not have a good path for cycling so you require the right sort of tyres and avoid it on muddy days.
Now we descend again towards Crouch End, where the A103 merges in from the left, that also being a hill called Crouch End Hill. We cannot make this sharp left turn though, so you will need to use one of the earlier roads to get access, or you may go ahead into Coleridge Road then back into Edison Road.
For a short while we share the road with the A103 and once again we find a situation where two roads merge and the section in which they merge is a main high road. This is called The Broadway, and is the main part of the area known as "Crouch End" but has an N8 postcode which is Hornsey. The actual Hornsey High Street is further to the North though the building behind the big square to the right of us is called Hornsey Town Hall.
A few metres of busy road along we have a big junction with a clock tower where we branch again. There are also a few small roads here just to confuse matters, and signal controls. There are a few prohibited turns but here the left turn from A1201 (South) to A103 (North) is permitted through its own section near the clock-tower. The A1201 will become Park Road although remains The Broadway for a while longer, while the A103 is Tottenham Lane and takes you to Hornsey proper (it doesn't go as far as Tottenham). The A1201 continues heading towards the West as well as North while Tottenham Lane goes slightly to the East. In between there is the appropriately named "Middle Lane" which is unclassified and heads due north. It merges into the A1201 only with no forbidden turns, and has some access roads through to Tottenham Lane, especially useful for those who cannot make the right-turn. It then becomes Park Road, and shortly after this, the (unclassified) Wolesley Road on the left will take you to Highgate, becoming Shepherds Hill further up and then meeting Archway Road.
There is no actual park in Park Road, although there is a sports centre on the left, and Priory Park at the end of small roads to the right, which have no through access other than for cycles as they are blocked off. In fact, from this point Cranley Gardens on your left, just before the end of this road, is your only other through exit. That road will take you through to the very pleasant Highgate Woods (Wood Vale / Queens Wood Road) and Muswell Hill Road.
The A1201 terminates at a traffic-light-controlled junction with the A504 Muswell Hill, with Priory Road on the right. This is a 3-postcode junction of N8 (Hornsey), N10 (Muswell Hill) and N22 (Wood Green), which is the unclassified "ahead" option, the route through Alexandra Palace itself called Alexandra Palace Way. Up here is one of the primary viewing points of London.