Halfway between the Circle line and the M25, the Capital Ring traces its course through the leafiest suburbs of London. Over 70-odd miles, this orbital walking trail takes in parks, forests, cemeteries, docklands and residential streets, occasionally running into an unexpected obstacle, such as a canal or City Airport. The route was dreamed up by ramblers in 1990; today itís fully signposted and supported by Transport for London. Walking its length brings home both the sheer scale of the capital and the abundance of greenery nestled among its roads and buildings.
Walking the Capital Ring
Having come across the Capital Ring by chance, Alex Dudok de Wit goes on to complete the 70-mile circuit and discovers the discreet charm of London's long-distance orbital footpath
Starting off again from Woolwich, I'm now beyond the reaches of the tube and therefore off the average Londoner's mental map. It's their loss: this south-eastern leg features some wonderfully wild landscapes, especially among the dense copses and wide meadows of the ancient Oxleas Wood. Soon the trees yield to manicured gardens, and rows of grand mock-Tudor houses prepare me for the real deal: Eltham Palace, childhood home of Henry VIII, though of the building he knew only the Great Hall remains.
I tackle the next couple of legs over a stormy autumn weekend. For two dozen miles I wend my way through quiet neighbourhoods and familiar Sunday afternoon destinations: Crystal Palace, Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park. Inclement weather has turned the grasslands into bogs; by the time I reach Richmond Bridge I'm muddy up to my knees. Even the sumptuous scenery along the riverbank at Isleworth isn't enough to lift my spirits.
Support Time Out
We see you’re using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue is Time Out’s main source of income. The content you’re reading is made by independent, expert local journalists.
Support Time Out directly today and help us champion the people and places which make the city tick. Cheers!Donate now