"If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish" (Charles Dickens)
The London Loop
I would describe this walk as the walking equivalent of driving around London on the M25. The path (full name London Outer Orbital Path) circles London for 150 miles, just inside the M25. Time will tell if the noise from the motorway encroaches on the walk.
Section 1: Erith to Crayford
Section 2: Crayford to Petts Wood
Section 3: Petts Wood to West Wickham Common
Section 4: West Wickham Common to Hamsey Green
Section 5: Hamsey Green to Banstead Downs
Section 6: Banstead Downs to Kingston Bridge
Section 7: Kingston Bridge to Hatton Cross
Section 8: Hatton Cross To Uxbridge
Section 9: Uxbridge to Moor Park
Section 10: Moor Park to Elstree
Section 11: Elstree to Cockfosters
Section 12: Cockfosters to Enfield Lock
Section 13: Enfield Lock to Chigwell
Section 14: Chigwell to Harold Wood
Section 15: Harold Wood to Purfleet
Now that I've completed the long walk around London it is time for reflecting. First of all, my fear that the M25 might intrude too much was unfounded. However, on a London orbital route it would be impossible to avoid all major roads and there was a fair bit of road walking. The worst of these tarmac encounters was the walk besides the A1 Barnet Way. There were other forgettable stretches but why dwell on that when there was so much to enjoy! The best bits? As so often, the time of year, weather etc play a big part in the enjoyment of a walk. Foots Cray Meadows on a crisp and bright Winter's day was lovely; Heathfield Garden in May during peak rhododendron flowering time was stunning and in early July the wildflowers gracing the meadows as the LOOP encroached into the North Downs were a delight. Then there was the amazing sight of the Mayfield Lavender Fields. I enjoyed some wonderful walking in country parks and London Parks, such as Bushy Park, Trent and Havering Country Parks. I walked along rivers, canals, through woods and suburbs, and even 'climbed' a few hills. Am I glad I walked the whole LOOP? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Probably not - but who knows?
- The London Loop
(David Sharp with Colin Saunders)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps 162 (Greenwich and Gravesend), 161 (South London), 160 (Windsor, Weybridge and Bracknell), 172 (Chiltern Hills East), 173 (London North), 174 (Epping Forest & Lee Valley), 175 (Southend-on-Sea and Basildon)
- Rambling Man Walks the London LOOP (Andrew Bowden)
- See also the excellent Transport for London website (see The London Loop for this walk) which, for each section, has a link to a pdf document containing not only up to date transport information but also a map and detailed walk instructions. I particularly like the highlighted 'Did you know' boxes pointing out interesting facts and points of interest en route.