City life can be hard. Going to work, coming back, the tube, the bus, the tube, the tube. You can sometimes feel like a rat in a cage surrounded by a concrete jungle. Well cheer up, national walking month is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate it than (almost) escaping from the maddened crowds, and going on gorgeous country style walks right here in London.
Words: Isabella Sullivan Subeditor: Shannon Cowley
No you don’t have to be a middle aged dog owner or countryside married couple to enjoy a crisp nature filled ramble. Move over Hampstead Heath, we bring you the four best mind clearing and peace inducing walks in the bustling capital. You’ll think you’re in the Gloucestershire countryside, when you’re actually in zone 2.
Station: Highgate/ Crouch Hill
Known as the ‘Northern Heights’ Haringey’s Parkland Walk stretches for over four miles and is London’s longest local nature reserve. The path follows the course of the railway line that used to run between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. You pass bridges, sculptures, eerie disused tunnels and cuttings of the line, whilst surrounded by natural beauty and a huge array of different plants, habitats and wildlife.
Apparently Muntjacs – a strange looking mini deer-like beastie – can even be seen on the walk. Its peace and eerie tranquillity will have you forgetting you’re walking through North London in no time.
This super fascinating ramble is shrouded in urban legend, natural beauty and fascinating ruins. The walk and the legend of a ghostly ‘goat-man’ haunting it even provided the inspiration for Stephen King’s short story ‘Crouch End’. Go on walk it, we dare you.
Five minutes walk from Morden tube station is the breath taking serenity of Morden Hall park. There’s no entry fee, its open all year, and it’s 125 acres (so you won’t find yourself bored). Built in the late 1770s, Morden Hall used to be a country estate, but now belongs to the National Trust. The River Wandle twists its way through the park, and is home to cormorants, herons, and around 100 other species of birds.
With quaint bridges, beautiful sky high trees and historic buildings you won’t be short of things to explore. Morden Hall park is the perfect escape for the over worked Londoner, without venturing too far from home. And being National Trust, there’s even a garden centre, shop and café.
Richmond is known for its natural beauty and naturistic walks, and this this gentle riverside stroll does not disappoint. If you’re feeling like you haven’t seen grass or a tree is forever than this if for you. The circular walk begins at Richmond Station and passes the main entrance to Ham House.
The views will make you forget your tiny flat and work woes with deer, beautiful landscapes and fresh clean air. The lavish and sprawling Ham House provides the perfect place for an end of walk treat, with a warm and inviting coffee shop and delicious cream tea. Go on, bring out your inner middle aged country dweller.
Station: Peckham Rye/ Crystal Palace
I’m a sucker for a cemetery, you’ll rarely find peace quite like it. This calming south London stroll goes from Nunhead cemetery to Crystal Palace. Linking green spaces from the Thames to Nunhead cemetery, this wildlife filled route goes through Sydenham Hill Woods, Horniman Gardens, Dulwich Park and Crystal Palace Park.
Steeped in heritage there’s a creepy cemetery, railway track ruins and for the history fans, the ruins of the famous Crystal Palace exhibition all on the way. You’ll pass everything from allotments and school playing fields through to ancient woodlands and the largest flood barrier in the world. Give this south London ramble a go this weekend.