Green routes

Green routes are transforming how we access nature in cities across the country. Now, we want to bring them to every city in England

Walking in nature is a simple, universal pleasure. It is proven to improve our health and happiness, whether on countryside paths, in parks or down tree-lined city streets. But, for too many, a nature-rich walk is still out of reach. 

So in 2020, we launched our vision to transform how we access nature on our doorsteps: a network of green routes in every city in England.  

And we’ve taken huge strides since then.  


What we have achieved so far 

From the Green Link Walk to the London Loop and the Capital Ring, green routes are already revolutionising the way Londoners access nature in the city. 

 Whether circling around the city’s circumference or cutting directly through its centre, these accessible urban paths are providing new, easier ways to enjoy the capital’s green spaces while encouraging greater connection to the places where people live and even mitigating the effects of climate change.  

And they’re not alone. In Manchester, the GM Ringway, 186 miles long and covering all ten of Manchester’s boroughs, connects up existing footpaths, parks and access land and is split into 20 stages, all of which are designed to be accessible by public transport.   

And in Salford, we have supported the Council in transforming old railway lines and canal side paths to connect people with local green spaces. The result, the Salford Trail, has already seen phenomenal success: on some parts of the route, users increased from under 12,500 to over 191,500 in just one year. 


What we want to see in the future 

Manchester and London are the blueprint – now, we want to bring the benefits of green routes to every city in England.  

Imagine if every city had a network of high quality, easy to follow walking routes that link up green spaces and enable everyone to explore cities on foot without losing sight of nature. These routes would offer residents, commuters and visitors alike a welcoming, safe and enjoyable way of experiencing the city. This is our ambition. 

Green routes can be created by relatively simple measures such as: 

  • improving walking routes through and between green spaces 

  • providing safe, pleasant routes from city centres to open green spaces on the edges of cities

  • planting trees and wildflowers  

  • installing signs so that routes can be followed without a book or a map  

  • introducing safe crossings, wide pavements and low speed limits.  


How we can make it a reality 

Rolling out green routes across the country is a central part of our Outdoors Unlocked campaign, calling for a transformative new bill that breaks down barriers to the outdoors.   

We’re pushing for a new duty for regional authorities to plan for, and create, networks of green routes in their cities. By joining up networks of nature rich streets and green public spaces, we can ensure that everyone has access to nature on their doorstep.  

Find out more about our Outdoors Unlocked campaign on our dedicated webpage.  



Report: Why access to green space matters

Our report uncovers the sharp disparity between those who have easy access to green space and those who don’t.

green link walk sign on a post.

How our green routes campaign is transforming our cities

London’s Green Link Walk is a wonderful example of green routes in action - and clear evidence for why we need more.

A wooded path

The planning system

The planning system is key to protecting paths and green spaces. We believe we must put people, climate and nature at the heart of town and country planning.