Jubilee Greenway makes walking more accessible for more Londoners

As a Trustee of the Jubilee Walkway Trust, I was proud to join the Queen last week to mark the official opening of the Jubilee Greenway Walk. Stretching 60 kilometers from Buckingham Palace to the Olympic venues in Stratford, this is a fine new addition to London’s many walkways.

The Jubilee Walkway is one of seven routes managed in partnership with Walk London, an organisation which oversees an extensive network throughout the capital.  Since its founding in 1998, Walk London has made great strides for walking. It attracts 60,000 people a month to their informative website and deals with nearly 20,000 walking inquiries a year for Transport for London. 8 million people now use the network’s paths annually, and 75% of them are on purposeful journeys including commuting. These are people who are out of their cars and onto their feet – what a benefit to the walkers’ health, to the street and social life of London, and to the planet!

The unveiling of a new pavement at the main gates of Buckingham Palace was a fantastic way to open the greenway, and a fantastic finale for the Jubilee Walkway Trust.

Yet while the work of the Trust rightly comes to an end, Walk London still has much to do. The co-ordination of the routes remains a daunting task which requires the experience and expertise of an organisation like Walk London. Co-ordination means ensuring that the walkways are maintained, the public are kept informed about diversions and developments on routes, damage to plaques and wayfinders are resolved, the website is updated, and the public can enjoy promotional events for walking three times a year.

Despite this important mission, Walk London’s arrangement comes to an end this month. Their funding hangs in the balance. I have been working to secure to future of Walk London – and the success of London’s walkways in 2012 and beyond.


About nickygavron

Former Deputy Mayor of London. London Assembly Member, Chair of Planning Committee, and GLA Labour Spokesperson for Planning. NPF Member.
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32 Responses to Jubilee Greenway makes walking more accessible for more Londoners

  1. ivanwestern says:

    Just spent a fascinating day exploring the regeneration of East London on foot and bike. The Jubilee Walkway is a fantastic achievement. Hopefully something Walk London will continue with further development of the Capital Ring.

  2. Stephanie says:

    The walk routes around London are a fantastic way of getting into walking and getting more exercise into daily life. I really like the sections that can be done in an evening after work and have planned to do the Jubilee walk over the Summer in the evenings.

  3. Suzanne Cooper says:

    Walking is a fantastic and under-rated way of getting around and seeing London-it should be encouraged and supported through funding and transport planning. All the impetus seems to be behind cycling but this is inaccessible to the majority of people for ffitness, mobility, safety and logistical reasons whilst walking is free and can be done easily by most people – even if it is just a short stroll once a day. Initiatives like Walk London should receive more funding and publicityto encourage Londoners to walk more and in turn improve their health and de-congest the roads. More needs to be done especially within schools and with children to get them into walking as habit for life. I am a healthcare professional and I am always telling my patients to try and walk a bit more-the benefits are huge not only for the heart but the brain, digestion and the musclo-skeletal system too. It is good introduction to exercise especially for those who haven’t done anything for years. I would like to see the Mayor of London commit to walking in the way he has done with cycling.

  4. Osman says:

    This Walk is a great opportunity to discover London. I hope you will continue. Many thanks

  5. Leonard Will says:

    I have walked all of the London LOOP, the Capital Ring, the Lea Valley and the New River walks, and am now exploring the Thames Path – completed the south side and part way along the north. All this inspired and helped by Walk London’s useful and colourful leaflets (sadly withdrawn), maps, guides and waymarking. As a 70 year old who likes walking on his own, I find these routes are excellent in encouraging me to get up from my computer and enjoy fresh air and exercise, while exploring unknown parts of this city. I look forward to Walk London continuing to provide ideas and encouragement.
    I’d just like them to press for more public toilets – the lack of them makes walking very uncomfortable and there are not many bushes in the city! (I was glad to see this featured on the BBC today in “Postcode Lottery” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01d95hr/Postcode_Lottery_Episode_5/) at about 19 minutes into the programme – the folk in North Wales have done better than London can manage.)

  6. Carol says:

    We have visited London a few times as tourists, but now we are living in the UK for the next several months. We wanted to have a fresh look at London and we were delighted to join the Westminister walking tour and we were absolutely captivated by the tour guide and her extensive knowledge of the area around Westminister. It was truly a wonderful morning.

  7. Chris says:

    I came across the Walk London website at the start of last year when I was trying to find places to walk around London to help me lose weight. I have since completed all of the walks on the website, but regularly revisit some of my favourite parts. I make a point of telling everyone I know about Walk London as they have done a fantastic job and I hope get a chance to continue to do so. Many people just don’t realise how green London is and these walks are a great way to discover this.

  8. Living in South Woodford and so close to the Olympic village I have often walked around the area before it was developed and also during the development. I can’t wait for the Olympics but I’m also really looking forward to after the event so I can re-explore the area. It’s great that there is a new walking route in London and it gives a new refreshing historical walk to add to a wonderful collection so far!

  9. Belinda says:

    The walking weekends that Walk London have put on in the last couple of years have been brilliant. Loved them , discovered parts of London i never knew about. I’ve also walked many of the sections of the Capital Ring and the Thames Path getting most of my information on route etc from their website. It has also encouraged me to walk more in the city in general – I don’t think any other city has quite such a successful walking initiative has it ? I’ve never come across one . Good old London !

  10. Ian says:

    I have been on several Walk London walks; all fabulous. They are the only thing that can get me off the couch on a wet Sunday. They also deliver me home feeling refreshed and healthy. Please keep it up!

  11. Mandy says:

    I’ve been going on walk London walks for the past 3 years now. A friend told me about walk london, as I desperately needed an escape from the grey part of London where i was living at the time. Visiting the website, gives me and friends a wonderful guide to some really attractive parts of the city, rural, and otherwise. It’s been brilliant, and walking these routes has been great exercise. it will be vital for the routes to be maintained by walk london. a dedicated team is important to ensure that the signs are intact to guide walkers , and we rely on the website being updated. long live walk london

  12. Michael Cullen says:

    Walk London is doing a good job but I must pointout my concern about the sixth strategic path. As a member of the LWF and its Orbitals Working Party which proposed six strategic paths in the 90’s, the sixth, the extension of the Thames Path (National Trail) along the north bank of the Thames (as extended along the south bank as far as Erith, has NOT been progressed. Whilst crossing the River Roding (Barking Creek) and the Beam River may not yet be possible at their mouths (at the Thames), Rainham Creek (River Ingrebourne) has been culverted and a continuous route having links inland could be brought into use with some effort and cooperation – eg British Gas at Becton. Please take this up and report back to me.

  13. Michael Cullen says:

    Having been involved in the LWF proposals for the Thames Path extension along the north bank to connect the Capital Ring and LOOP (London Outer Orbital Path) and surveying possible routes, I should like to have the opportunity to discuss what could be done to provide a continuous path right through London to Essex.

  14. Mike W says:

    I discovered the Walk London Website purely by chance November last year.
    Since then I have completed the Capital Ring, Lea Valley Walk and many sections of the Thames path Jubilee Greenway, Green Chain Walk.
    I found all routes well signposted , easy and enjoyable to walk.

    Further funding should be increased and not withdrawn to increase a greater awareness of these routes.
    To promote these walks I feel it would be a wonderful idea if the routes were to be incorporated on the TFL London Connection map.

  15. janice brown says:

    London has many interesting places and green spaces to walk in, and Walk London has done a great job of letting us all know about them and making them accessible to people. I’ve now been on quite a few of the guided walks, which have introduced me to parts of London landscape and history I was unaware of, and really look forward to the walking weekends. London will be out of step with the rest of the world if it cuts this excellent programme.

  16. Paul Lane says:

    I think Walk London and the self guided and led walks are fantastic, I have been on many learning with others and enjoying myself It would be great to work with other walking groups big and small to explore even more gems around London From groundwork to Ramblers and more

  17. Elizabeth Sánchez-Cao says:

    I an writing from Spain, where I am from and living at the moment.
    I was living in London from sept 2009-august 2011. I discovered Walk London website by chance and it was an extremely helpful source of information for me. I browsed the site many many times, where I downloaded their very useful leaflets and audio guides in order to use them in my walks.
    I walked the whole Jubilee Walkway Route and some sections of the Jubilee Greenway with their help. I even joined in some of their great guided weekend walks.
    I must say that I very very much enjoyed discovering on foot the wonderful city London is and I am very grateful for the “Walk London” help.
    I encourage whoever might concern to please continue working and supporting this kind of initiatives. I think it is very important for a city like London and the huge number of people living in and visiting every year. I would like to have the chance to keep on knowing and enjoying London on foot in my future visits. Many thanks

  18. Michael Peacock says:

    I have enjoyed all the WalkLondon weekend walks since their inception. I run an adult education class in which I take people on four-mile (two hour) tours on foot in London and surroundings and I make use of the named routes as well as routes I devise myself. Many of my participants are retired and they say that they feel confident to get out, see new places to which they would not go alone,, gain exercise, and enjoy the company of like-minded people. The Freedom pass means they do not have to worry about cost. The WalkLondon weekends have encouraged them to take advantage of these led walks. An excellentway of keeping fit and gaining knowledge.

  19. Ross says:

    I have walked parts of teh Capital Ring and the London Loop with friends and think it is wonderful that right in the centre of the city and the suburbs there are great walks passing through varied scenery from the Welsh Harp close to were I live to the walks along the canals near to the Olympic Village, all well signposted. As like the other comments I think it is essential that a city like London has these activities now and for the future. London is a wonderful city and the work done to promote London Walks should be maintained not cut so that other Londoners can enjoy.

    Not done the guided walks as yet but I know some of my friends have. Keep up the good work.

  20. Walking is a very effective form of exercise.

  21. GeoffC says:

    The quality of the on-line route maps has been excellent and I have followed some parts of various routes. It’s really helpful to have this source of focus both on the quality and maintenance of the routes and the publicity

  22. Luvis says:

    I wish I discovered Walk London several years ago . Found these Walks from advert in Metro news paper on the way to work last Summer. I managed to joined 5 walks that summer and always looking for the next event. In January, I was saddened to hear that it might be the last . I found the guided walks very informative and educating. I am echoing everyone comments. Walking is good for well being, London is a wonderful City and yet for me to explore and discover. Thank you for all the organisers for these walks. Hope it will carry on.

  23. Rose says:

    Walk London does great work. The weekends of walks have provided great introductions to new routes and inspiration to walk more. And the standard of the Capital Ring leaflets, web site directions and signposting have been excellent. More than can be said of some published instructions!

  24. Sue Arnold says:

    Both my husband and I love these walks. We are retired and initiatives like this keep us active, interested and healthy. They help people to learn more about the city we love. PLEASE DON’T STOP.

  25. To quote inveterate walker Charles Dickens in his bicentennial year, “Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”

    London’s long-distance pathways help enrich life in the capital. Londoners and visitors alike can experience the city afresh by circling around Royal and Olympic landmarks on the Jubilee Greenway, strolling through woods and commons on the Capital Ring, or snaking with the riverside on the Thames Path. Walk London’s work on signposting, maintaining and promoting these routes is essential, if we’re to keep and enhance them as part of the city’s fabric.

  26. Melanie Goodwin says:

    My son and I have really enjoyed the Walk London events and they are always extremely well attended. One of the walks was so popular it was full by the time we arrived which just shows that many people want to explore London on foot and to withdraw funding for this would be a huge step backwards (apologies for the pun!). We live in an amazing city and these walks are a wonderful way to learn more about it while at the same time enjoying being out in the open air and getting some exercise which we are all told we need to do more. Please keep funding Walk London for all of us who have already enjoyed its benefits and the many more who could do so in the future.

  27. Des de Moor says:

    Walk London has done an excellent job in managing and promoting London’s network of seven strategic routes with support from Transport for London, and certainly deserves praise for playing such a key role so well. But it should also be pointed out WL did not create the network from scratch and numerous other agencies have been involved over the years, all of whom put in great amounts of hard work and enthusiasm. When WL first got its TfL funding in the early 2000s, considerable work had already been done in creating six of the seven routes, dating back at least to the creation of the Green Chain Walk by four boroughs in the early 1980s. Volunteers from the Ramblers played a major role, first in campaigning for the Thames Path, then in helping to create the London Walking Forum in the days when there was no single London administrative body, and pioneering the two flagship orbital routes, the Capital Ring and London Loop. Organisations like the Lee Valley Park, the Downlands Project and the Jubilee Walkway Trust also played an important role, as well as enthusiastic officers in some of the keener boroughs. WL has had some very firm shoulders to stand on!

  28. Charlotte Argyle says:

    walk london have done some great work and i’ve enjoyed their guided walks, especially the ones to the olympic site to view the regeneration and progress of the developments. please keep up the good work, the walks – and the funding!

  29. Tina Farage says:

    I’ve walked on several of Walk London’s weekend events now for several years. I started by doing the short ones with tour leaders and gradually progressed to the larger walks. They were all great fun.
    I’m saddened to hear that it’s now coming to an end as I was looking forward to the next ones. Walking is a free sport which is good for people’s wellbeing and health and it’s also a good way to meet people who have a common interest. London is a beautiful city and with Walk London it could be explored in all sorts of different ways as London’s history, parks and views were all there to be seen and explored.
    Please do keep funding Walk London so that we can continue to enjoy it’s many benefits that it offers.

  30. Robert Phillips says:

    The one thing everybody says about our City is how green it is compared to other big capitals. The freedom to walk around this beautiful city is precious and something of great importance – Britain has always been exceptional in preserving and using Rights of Way. This can’t be done in a complicated City without an organisation that has built up the experience to manage walkways effectively (and at extraordinarily low cost, using volunteers imaginatively). It would be crazy not to maintain Walk for London in this role.

  31. Anne Murphy says:

    A wonderful way to discover London, hope you continue to provide the excellent service you do – we need more investment in schemes like this.

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