diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 16, 2012

  London borough walks

  (on London borough websites)

I've been scouring the websites of the 33 London boroughs to see what walks they have to recommend. I've hunted for trails to follow, leaflets to download, pdfs to print, all specific to the borough, all for free. Some borough websites have the lot, whereas others make little or no effort to encourage walkers to explore their leafy acres. I've awarded stars according to online route provision, and knocked up a league table of walk-friendly boroughs.

I first did this back in 2008, then again in 2010. Two years on, the majority of these borough websites have upgraded. Some have merely reorganised, breaking previous links. Others have substantially restructured, adding or pruning former pages. And a depressingly large number have dumbed down, deleting all the interesting stuff and concentrating solely on council services.

So I thought I'd update my previous list, for those of you who fancy spending some time exploring your part of the city on foot. To name and shame (or praise and cheer), I've included any changes since 2010 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)
» Bromley (↑1): Darrick and Newstead Woods, High Elms, Jubilee Country Park, Scadbury, Ravensbourne Trail, Darwin's Footsteps
» Camden (↑1): Kenneth Williams, Musical, Jewish, Edwardian, Charles Dickens, Carnival, Jim Henson
» Hackney: Lea, South, Canals, North, East, Hackney Marshes
» Hillingdon: Hillingdon Trail, Celandine route, Willow Tree Wander
» Kingston: Walks around Kingston (booklet), Woodlands Walk
» Lambeth: Black History, Brixton to Ruskin Park, Clapham and slavery
» Merton (↑1): Beverley Brook Walk, Wandle Trail, Nelson Trail, Wimbledon & Mitcham heritage maps
» 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)
» Bexley: Cray Riverway, Shuttle Riverway
» City (↑2): Architecture, Dickens, Film
» Ealing: Ealing, Northolt, Southall
» Haringey: Better Haringey Trail, Highgate Wood, Hampstead Heath
» Islington: Six rather short walks
» Kensington & Chelsea: Chelsea walk
» Redbridge (↑2): Aldborough, Wanstead Jubilee Walk
» Newham (↓1): (four great walks with podcasts) (but temporarily deleted during the Olympics) (sigh)
» Lewisham (↑2): Waterlink Way (but only ** for effort)
» Richmond (↑1): Richmond (but only ** for effort)

There are leaflets about walks, but you have to go somewhere to collect a paper copy (two star boroughs)

A page telling you that walking is good for you and (maybe) where you might do it (one star boroughs)
Barking & Dagenham (↓2), Croydon (↑1), Enfield, Greenwich (↓2), Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hounslow (↓2), Southwark, Sutton (↓1), Wandsworth (↓2), Westminster, (↑1)

Nothing about walks or walking, because these websites are dull joyless places full of dry information about council services (no star boroughs)
Brent (↓4), Havering (↓3), Waltham Forest (↓1)

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