Woodside Park is a place in the London Borough of Barnet.
Folly Brook is a 2 1⁄4 mile long brook.
It is a tributary of Dollis Brook, which is a tributary of the River Brent, which is itself tributary of the River Thames. Folly Brook is lined for most of its length by narrow strips of woodland and scrub, with a good variety of trees and shrubs.
It is home to many small aquatic invertebrates, including several species of caddis fly and a stonefly, which are only found in unpolluted waters.
Folly Brook rises near the bottom of Highwood Hill, Mill Hill, and flows east through fields and public open spaces to Woodside Park. From Highwood Hill to Darland’s Lake Nature Reserve the brook passes through private land which is not open to public access, apart from a short section next to a footpath through Folly Farm. Darland’s Lake was originally ornamental, created by damming the brook, but the lake and surrounding woods are now a nature reserve.
The lower part of the brook from Darland’s Lake through Folly Brook Valley to the junction with Dollis Brook is public open space. A footpath alongside the brook starts close to the Darland’s noticeboard east of the lake, and goes through woods to grassland between Burtonhole Lane and Pasture and Woodridge Nature Reserve
, where it is joined by its tributary, Burtonhole Brook. Folly Brook then goes under Southover
to meet Dollis Brook not far from Woodside Park Underground station, connecting it with the Dollis Valley Greenwalk.
Until 1965 the brook marked the boundary between the boroughs of Hendon to the south and Totteridge to the north. Hendon was in Middlesex and Totteridge in Hertfordshire, and the brook was thus also the boundary between the two counties.
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Confluence of Folly Brook (left) with Dollis Brook.
It is very varied in character. The area to the east of the tube station consists predominantly of large Victorian houses, many of which have been converted into flats.
The area grew because of Woodside Park station. This was planned by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) and was originally opened as Torrington Park
on 1 April 1872 by the Great Northern Railway (which had taken over the EH&LR).
The station was on a branch of a line that ran from Finsbury Park to Edgware via Highgate. The station was renamed within a month of opening, and again in 1882.
After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies the line was, from 1923, part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). The section of the High Barnet
branch north of East Finchley was incorporated into the London Underground network through the "Northern Heights" project begun in the late 1930s. The station was first served by Northern line trains on 14 April 1940 and, after a period where the station was serviced by both operators, LNER services ended in 1941. The station still retains much of its original Victorian architectural character today.
The north-western part of the area, which can also be regarded as the part of Totteridge in N12 rather than N20, is sometimes called Woodside Park Garden Suburb and consists of semi-detached or detached 3 to 4 bedroom houses built in the 1950s. It includes the Woodside Park Club.
The eastern boundary of the Garden Suburb is the Dollis Brook and the southern boundary is the Folly Brook. To the south of this Suburb is an area of 1920s and 1930s houses, where many of the roads are named after places in Sussex, such as Sussex Ring
and Cissbury Ring.
Between the Garden Suburb and the Northern Line is an area originally of Victorian housing. Many of the houses, including the former residence of Spike Milligan, have been pulled down and replaced by modern housing or blocks of flats. Much of this area consists of a council estate where Emma Bunton grew up.
There is a small amount of commercial activity around the mini roundabout at Chanctonbury Way
, which was originally the main shopping area for Woodside Park, providing basic services such as a post office, a butcher and an ironmonger. Since the creation of North Finchley shopping parade, many of the original shops have closed down and have been replaced by specialised businesses.