diamond geezer

 Thursday, January 06, 2011

  Walk London
[sections 1-15]
  Woolwich to North Woolwich (78 miles)

London has seven Strategic Walking Routes (or 'long distance footpaths' to you and me). Some follow rivers, some go round in circles, and some just wiggle all over the place. I thought it would be a good idea to follow one of them, partly for the exercise, but mostly because London's a fascinating place to wander through. Not the Lea Valley Walk, because I've done all of that. Not the Jubilee Greenway, because it's a year early. Instead I've chosen to follow the Capital Ring, which is a loop roughly halfway between the edge and the centre of London. Officially it's in fifteen different sections, from Woolwich round to North Woolwich via Crystal Palace, Richmond and Hendon. The route aims to link up as many greenspaces as possible, be they parks, recreation grounds or proper woodland, and pretty much succeeds. I've walked bits of the Ring before, but this time I'm intending to do the whole thing in sequence to make one complete circuit. One section every few weeks, that's the plan, but we'll see how it goes.

I'll not be the first web presence to walk the Capital Ring, not by a long chalk. Darryl's done the whole thing, in detail, and with far more photos than I'll be taking. Tim beat me by five years, and Mark by four. John's only just finished. Stephen took Henry the dog with him, and has a rather useful Google map of the route. And you could do it too. Most sections are only 4-6 miles long, which is (probably) well within your capabilities. Each section starts and finishes near a station, for ease of access. Full details are available on the Walk London website, including directions and print-it-yourself maps. Alas WL are't sending out sectional leaflets any more, only useless summaries, but they will email you a special certificate if/when you complete the round tour. Maybe buy yourself the official book to guide you round, if you're serious - it's a heck of a lot cheaper than signing up at a gym this January. If you fancy a taster, Walk London have their regular Winter Wanders weekend at the end of the month, including Ring sections 6, 14 & 15 on the 29th, and 8 & 12 on the 30th. New year, new challenge?

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