The marvellous Moscow metro is 75 years old this year and still growing. Just two months ago, three new stations were added to the north end of the dark blue line, taking the network beyond the MKAD for the second time. These three walks explore the areas opened up by recent stations, expanding the city's horizons. The first and longest stretch through woods and along the river is actually inside the ring road, but feels - in places - a world away from Moscow. The second part, for a complete contrast, visits the Crocus City Mall and the third takes in the new landscape park at Mitino. Krylatskoye metro opened in 1989 to serve an area developed for the 1980 Olympics. The copper decorations have a sporting theme, including sculptures of flying athletes balancing on a semicircular beam. The design of the station is uniquely asymmetric, with one side of the vault curving down to the tracks and the other resting on a wall of white marble. Leave the metro via the exit closest to the front of the train (assuming you are coming from the centre of town), turn left in the tunnel and right along the main road, Osenny Bulvar. You reach a memorial to those who died defending Moscow in the Second World War. The square it stands in is named after the "Defenders of the Sky". Turn left past the memorial, and the building behind it and cross the road ahead, Osennaya Ulitsa, into the woods beyond.
Cross the ravine and turn right along the forest track, parallel to the buildings. Keep going in roughly this direction, taking the broad middle track near the skip between stands of pine and silver birches. Bear right after the clearing. It doesn't matter exactly which of the many paths you take since you are walking through a relatively narrow strip of forest with fenced-off built-up areas either side. In the middle of the trees it feels quite remote, but eventually you will see the yellow apartments of the Sosnovka settlement to your right. Head right again, staying parallel with the fence, to reach a road. On the other side, keep heading north, mostly following the tracks, or parallel paths, along the edge of dacha compounds, with the walls on your right, until you see a small factory and the village street of Troitse Lykovo ahead.
After the forbidding walled colonies, this open collection of carved and painted cottages feels like a breath of fresh air. A metro station is due to open here in a few years' time when the area will inevitably change, but until then, although you can see tower blocks ahead of you, it still feels like a real Russian village. It is not surprising that the reclusive writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died in 2008, chose to spend his last years here. Opposite the brightly painted yellow house at number fifteen, follow the path branching off diagonally right. When it emerges on a little lane, turn right down the hill and left along the wide Moscow River.
From the riverside path, there are views right across the frozen water, dotted with skiers and ice-fishermen, to the island of Serebryany Bor ("silver pine forest"). On top of the cliff to the left, you can catch a glimpse of the gold-domed Trinity Church. At the end of the path, you reach a disused landing stage (4), follow the water round to the right for a great panorama of village and churches on the shore behind you. Turn left along the track, skirt round the yacht club and follow another track along the edge of the huge Stroginsky Lake, favoured by windsurfers and snowkiters. Just before the huge Yantar Stadium, turn left and head up the steps and through the tower blocks behind. Cross over Tallinskaya Ulitsa to reach the elegant Strogino metro station, opened in January 2008.
The first privately-financed station on the network is just one stop further on at Myakinino. This cavernous but clumsy structure is close to the Crocus City Expo centre and the super-posh Crocus City Mall. Head right past the fancy riverside "Shore House" restaurant towards the ridiculous neoclassical entrance to the mall. This place can be worth visiting even if you don't intend to buy anything.
It is filled with real plants, including palm trees and flowers in full bloom. Water features include a swimming pool, fountain and river with wooden bridges. The Nu-Art cafe on the upper floor, straight ahead from the entrance, has some just-about-affordable sandwiches. Alternatively, take the underground passage at the north end (right from the entrance) into the Tvoi Dom department store, with a cheaper foodcourt and ‘Star Galaxy' kids' entertainment centre upstairs.
There is plenty of free entertainment on a trip to the Crocus - gold pianos and racing cars pose among the plants, and in Tvoi Dom the myriad crystal chandeliers hang opposite the azure aquaria like some surreal New Russian fantasy. One stop further out of town is the brand new Volokolamskaya metro. It opened on December 26th 2009. The high white arches and gleaming marble floors give that sense of light and space for which the Moscow underground is famous.
Outside the glass ground pavilion, you can see the newly laid-out Mitino landscape park. A short walk north-westwards through this surreal landscape of fallen pylons, wooden cottages and snowy slopes brings you to Mitino metro station, the last stop on the line. On the way, you can visit the charming wooden church of Saints Konstantin and Yelena, below the tower blocks. There is also a holy spring at the foot of the steps to the left. At the end of the valley, exit onto Ulitsa Barshikha and turn right along Dubravnaya Ulitsa to reach the metro.
Landmark of the week
Trinity Church, Troitse Lykovo
Architect Yakov Bukhvostov designed this beautiful church in 1698 for the Naryshkin family.
The decorative, soaring style so distinctive of all their churches has become known as "Naryshkin baroque".