Ahead of the London Mayoral election taking place on May 6th,2021London Ramblers have launched a ‘Greenways’ map to show candidates the massive impact that six new walking routes for the capital would have.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen growing public enthusiasm for walking, with proven benefits for walkers’ health, wellbeing and happiness. But although people intend to continue their new-found walking habits after lockdown restrictions have ended1, according to data from the Office of National Statistics, only 44% of people in London live within a five-minute walk of green space. The Ramblers are using May's elections to promote the need for new green walking routes across London.
The six routes – named Forgotten Rivers, Great Eastern Parks, Counter’s Creek, Romford Greenway, Southern Rivers and the Five Boroughs Link – would provide walking links between green spaces, create greener streets and help revitalise the network of existing routes such as the Capital Ring and Thames Path.
The proposed new green routes have been mapped out by Ramblers volunteers, working with a small coalition of like-minded organisations, to expand the capital’s green walking network and complement existing routes.
Londoners can urge Mayoral candidates to commit to creating these new green walking routes by writing to them today.
Gemma Cantelo, Head of Policy & Advocacy for the Ramblers, said: “Thousands of us have enjoyed the health and wellbeing benefits of walking and taken comfort in connecting with nature over the past year, but sadly for many that wasn’t possible. We have seen parks and footpaths overwhelmed by high volumes of walkers, while many people simply don’t have parks nearby, or are put off visiting by things such as heavy traffic, poorly maintained parks or lack of accessibility.
“Green walking routes and access to green space have a positive impact on the numbers of people walking – whether that’s urban parks, a canal towpath or local streets filled with trees – which in turn brings improved air quality, better health, and more vibrant communities. By supporting these fantastic new green routes, the next mayor has the opportunity to make a real difference to the health and happiness of Londoners, and to lead the way in creating a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow.”
Des Garrahan, of the Inner London Ramblers, added: "We've all been out walking locally a lot more in the last year. But in learning to value and cherish our parks and green spaces we've also discovered that London could really do with some routes that help connect them all together."
The Greenways map has been produced with support from London Ramblers, CPRE London, London Living Streets, Long Distance Walkers Association, Sustrans London, Inspiral London and London National Trust. Urban Good have designed the map.
The six new walking routes are:
A route that reveals rivers obscured by years of development. The River Fleet route connects Hampstead Heath with the Thames Path, while the Silk Stream trail links the Heath to the London LOOP at High Barnet, exploring the greener outskirts of London, past St Pancras Old Church and alongside the Regents Canal and across the Capital Ring through modern redevelopment of Brent Cross.
Great Eastern Parks
A west-east trail following the line of the Great Eastern Railway from the eastern edge of City of London to the Lea Valley and beyond, linking up existing parks and incorporating new green space to be created as part of the redevelopment of the old Bishopsgate Goodsyard.
Follows the path of a hidden river along the boundary between Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea to take in 2 of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries at Kensal Green and Brompton and linking up with the Thames Path, Putney and Wimbledon Commons, the Capital Ring and the London Loop.
A route that links parks and nature reserves near areas of green deprivation, connecting to the Olympic Park, Capital Ring and London Loop, roughly shadowing the line of CrossRail development in some places and journeying along the London Greenway in others, with attendant opportunities for new infrastructure and greening.
Crossing Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley, this route links the Thames with the River Quaggy and the River Shuttle – crossing the Ravensbourne by way of the old Surrey Canal.
Five Boroughs Link
A wander through Southwark, the City, Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, from the Thames to hills and marshes through Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, parks, squares, historic streets, past medieval churches, cathedrals and museums.