The Ramblers is launching two new London based volunteer schemes to help maintain, improve and promote two iconic London walking routes. The Capital Ring Rangers and London Loop Leaders schemes will launch on Saturday 20 July as part of London National Park City Week.
Will Norman, the Mayor of London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner, joined Vanessa Griffiths, Ramblers' chief executive and volunteers from Inner London Ramblers for a walk along a section of the Capital Ring to celebrate the launch of the new schemes and meet some of the volunteers.
Over 100 volunteers have put themselves forward to be guardian rangers or leaders for sections of the famous Capital Ring and London Loop, two long distance orbital footpaths around London, which were established in the late 1990s. The volunteers will highlight improvements that can be made to the routes to borough councils and will work to publicise them more widely both locally for each section and across London.
To launch the schemes, Ramblers is inviting people to join them on a series of free led walks on the Capital Ring on Saturday 20 July. One of the walks starts at Crystal Palace station and follows section 4 of the Capital Ring for 4.2 miles to Streatham. The route links together local parks and green spaces including Biggin Wood, one of the largest remnants of the ancient Great North Wood, Norwood Grove and Streatham Common.
All walks will start from 11am from the nearest tube station. The full list of walks can be found on the Inner London Ramblers website.
Jackie Gower is one of the new Capital Ring Rangers who will be leading one of the walks. She says:
“The Capital Ring and the London Loop are such a great asset for people who love exploring in and around London. I’m really excited to help as many people as possible discover them and hopefully get as much enjoyment out of them as I do.”
These two much-loved routes were originally set up by the London Walking Forum, were maintained for some years by TfL, and are now the responsibility of the relevant boroughs. Ramblers volunteers played a key role in their creation, and a new generation of volunteers now wants to ensure that they are properly maintained and improved for the public to enjoy. Whilst the walks are well-signed and easy to follow, there has been some deterioration, with signposts missing or turned around, faded or dirty – and, in summer, the undergrowth is not always cut back for easy walking.
The Ring Rangers and Loop Leaders are hoping to work in partnership with other local community and voluntary groups with an interest in the routes, such as park friends groups.
Whilst the walks can both be followed from books and websites, Ramblers’ intention is that it should be possible to follow them from signposts alone, making them accessible to all walkers who want to enjoy London’s great outdoors, whether they are out for a local stroll or walking the whole route.
The London Loop consists of 24 sections between Erith and Purfleet, running roughly around Zone 6. It is 150 miles long and takes in beautiful open spaces such as Hainault Forest and Bushy Park, as well as historic buildings including Hall Place and Black Jack’s Lock & Mill.
The Capital Ring consists of 15 sections between Woolwich and Beckton District Park, running roughly around Zones 3/4. It covers 78 miles of open space, nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Both routes can be easily accessed from tube or train stations and each section includes directions from and to the relevant station.
Find out more about the launch walks.