The Notes section of this web-site has been written to provide a few facts about the numerous parks and buildings that a stage of the London Parks Way passes through. Links have been added so that any reader who is interested in a Subject can pursue it further.
The prime function of developing the London Parks Way has been to produce six distinct walks each of which can be linked in with an attraction to provide an ideal day out. Consequently links are also provided to attractions and refreshments on route.
How did the London Parks Way evolve?
In 2008 I started leading walks for the first time. I began by leading a ramble local to where I now live in Essex. This was OK but it didn't really inspire me. I wanted to explore my native city of London. I was born in Stratford within a mile of the Olympic Stadium and grew up in neighbouring Leytonstone.
I had the opportunity of leading summer evening walks for the LDWA in London. These walks had to be between 6 and 8 miles. I have always enjoyed running through the London Parks and had known some of them reasonably well for years. The first walk I developed was an exploration of the Regents Park Area. This eventually developed into a walk which started at Baker Street tube and finished at Paddington taking in Regents Park, Primrose Hill, Regents Canal and Little Venice.
In the following years I had produced 3 more walks. The first was a circular walk from Kingston Station which took in Hampton Court Park, Hampton Court Palace, and Bushy Park. The second started at Greenwich Station and went via Greenwich Park, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, and Mudchute City Farm to finish in Canary Wharf. The third entitled “London Parks” began at Holland Park tube and went through Holland Park, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James's Park before finishing at Trafalgar Square.
Whilst looking at the A-Z I noticed there was only about 1 ½ miles of road walking between Holland Park and the Thames Path at Hammersmith. I decided to lead an 18 mile winter walk from Trafalgar Square to Osterley. In the event this was infeasible and the afternoon session involved a walk from Hammersmith via Chiswick Park Gardens, Brentford for the Grand Union Canal to Boston Manor park ending at Gunnersbury Park. This led to 2 other summer evening walks being developed Osterley to Kew and Boston Manor to Hammersmith.
A further summer evening walk was developed which started at Richmond Station and went through the northern part of Richmond Park before crossing Barnes Bridge before finishing in Hammersmith. I never led this as a summer evening walk as it clashed with better summer evening walks in Richmond Park. This did, however, form the morning session of an 18 mile walk from Richmond to Trafalgar Square which I led for a party of LDWA Wiltshire Group members on the LDWA's 40th anniversary.
It was at this point that the idea of joining up my summer evening walks into a single walk took hold. As a massive Olympic fan I also wanted to include the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I also decided to include Victoria Park which I knew quite well from my childhood in the 1950s when I used to go rowing on the lake there.
The final walk description was delayed until the Olympic Park was fully reopened in 2014. In the meantime I had to fill in the gaps. I decided to have a short walk along the Thames from Kingston Bridge and then a long road section along the Kings Road to Kingston Gate of Richmond Park. From there I discovered an area of ancient oaks on route to the Isabella Plantation. I made heavy weather of the route from the Isabella Plantation to Pembroke Lodge but eventually sorted it.
I thought that the route from Speakers Corner to Baker Street might be incredibly boring. However I discovered the Animals at War Memorial which was thought invoking and then Grosvenor Square which was impressive. Busy traffic crossing Oxford Street but then visiting for free the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square made the route OK. There was a short section from Paddington Station to Lancaster Gate. This was improved by going through the attractive Bathurst Mews with its working stables.
There was now the section from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Park to be resolved. I decided to use the Regents Canal from Kings Cross to Victoria Park which goes through Chapel Street Market providing some more variety on the walk. There remained a 3 mile stretch between Trafalgar Square and Kings Cross. I decided to take the route through Covent Garden and then head for the British Museum. A brief respite from road walking was achieved by passing through Russell Square and then through the interesting St Georges Gardens. The area behind Kings Cross used to be one of the most seedy in London. Currently a multi million pound development is taking place and it is currently a nice place to join the Regents Canal.
In 2014 The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was fully open and I developed another summer evening walk through Victoria Park and the Olympic Park.
The remaining stretch from the Olympic Park was done by using the well known canal route via Three Mills and the Limehouse Cut to Limehouse Basin. The London Parks Way was now born!
The writing of the route description was difficult especially due the fact that I had decided against using compass bearings. Collecting an adequate supply of decent photographs was also time consuming. Creating this web-site was straightforward as I come from an IT background.
I would like to acknowledge the help and encouragement given to me by friends and family. In particular to my friend and frequent walking companion Susanne Waldschmidt who checked, and occasionally rewrote my route description. She checked my route description by walking 3 steps ahead of me so that I couldn't influence which direction she would walk in. Susanne also provided a pleasant backstreets route from Hammersmith to Holland Park which replaced a boring stretch along a main road. She also she introduced me to the charms of Bathurst Mews with its 2 riding stables close to Lancaster Gate.