diamond geezer

 Thursday, June 17, 2010

  London borough walks

  (on London borough websites)

Two years ago I scoured the websites of the 33 London boroughs to see what walks they had to recommend. I was hunting for trails to follow, leaflets to download, pdfs to print, all specific to the borough, all for free. Some borough websites had the lot, whereas others had made little or no effort to encourage walkers to explore their leafy acres. I awarded stars according to online route provision, and knocked up a league table of walk-friendly boroughs.

Two years on, several of those borough websites have upgraded. Some have merely reorganised, breaking previous links. Others have substantially restructured, adding or pruning former pages. And others have dumbed down, deleting all the interesting stuff and concentrating solely on council services.

So I thought I'd better update my previous list, for those of you who fancy spending a summer day exploring your part of the city on foot. To name and shame (or praise and cheer), I've included any changes since 2008 in brackets.

Here's my borough by borough London guide to free downloadable walks. Who'll spur you outdoors for a bit of healthy leisure and heritage, and whose website teams still need a bit of a kick?

Several interesting downloadable walks (four star boroughs)
» Brent: Willesden, Grand Union, Roe Green, Fryent Country Park
» Hackney (↑4): Lea, South, Canals, North, East, Hackney Marshes
» Hillingdon: Hillingdon Trail, Celandine route, Willow Tree Wander
» Kingston (↑2): Walks around Kingston (booklet), Woodlands Walk
» Lambeth: Black History, Brixton to Ruskin Park, Clapham and slavery
» Newham: Green Street, Royal Docks, Stratford, Three Mills (all with podcasts)
» Tower Hamlets: Black history, Wapping & Limehouse, Isle of Dogs, Spitalfields, Jewish heritage, Banglatown, canals, East End Life walks
[click the borough, or click the walk]

One or more interesting walks, at least partly downloadable (three star boroughs)
» Barking & Dagenham: Dagenham Village, Ripple Nature Reserve
» Bexley: Cray Riverway, Shuttle Riverway
» Bromley (↑1): High Elms, Jubilee Trail
» Camden: Belsize
» Ealing: Ealing Town Centre, Acton & Ealing, Greenford & Northolt & Perivale, Southall
» Greenwich (↑2): Eltham Heritage Trail
» Haringey: Better Haringey Trail, Highgate Wood, Hampstead Heath
» Havering: Gidea Park, Hornchurch
» Hounslow (↑2): Hounslow Heath, Osterley Park
» Islington: Six trails from the Islington Society, Local history walks
» Kensington & Chelsea: Chelsea walk
» Merton: Beverley Brook Walk, Wandle Trail, Nelson Trail
» Wandsworth: Town centre heritage trail, Putney

There are leaflets about walks, but you have to go somewhere to collect a paper copy (two star boroughs)
Barnet (↑2), Richmond (↑1), Sutton

A page telling you that walking is good for you and (maybe) where you might do it (one star boroughs)
City (↓3), Enfield, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow (↓1), Lewisham, Redbridge (↑1), Southwark, Waltham Forest

Nothing about walks or walking, because these websites are dull joyless places full of dry information about council services (no star boroughs)
Croydon, Westminster

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