I've started this page as a place to note ideas for possible future walking projects - partly so I don't forget them, and partly as a place to jot down relevant information, notes and links.

List of future projects, with links
Walking all long distance paths in the territory
Completing a walk around the coast between London and Southampton
Walking the watershed between the Thames and the South East River Basin Districts
Walking the London Countryway, a 205 mile long circular walk around London


Walking all long distance paths in the region

I have a long term aspiration to walk all the long distance paths in the region covered by this website. Those I know about are listed on the Long distance paths south of London page of this site. For this purpose, I have defined a long distance path as a path that is:

I have walked all the paths listed, with the exception that I have still to complete walking the Solent Way (which forms part of the E9 European Coastal Path).

However, although the list is fairly complete, I think there are a few candidate paths in East Hampshire that may need to be added, including:


Completing a walk around the coast between London and Southampton

At the moment, this is more of an undefined aspiration than a project. I've walked the Saxon Shore Way, which covers a big chunk of the coastline in Kent, but not the whole of it (as it follows the coastline as it was in late Roman times, not as it is now). I've also walked long stretches of the Sussex Coast, though I don't have a complete record of these walks. And I've started the Solent Way, which will cover the section of the coast in Hampshire

There are sections of the coast I'd particularly like to walk - around Romney Marsh and Dungeness, and around the Isle of Thanet and North Foreland.

As I develop this idea I'll continue to split it into more manageable, smaller, projects.


Walking the watershed

With the exception of the Stour, the territory's rivers either drain northwards into the Thames and its estuary, or southwards into the English Channel (the Stour drains westwards into the Straight of Dover).

The Environment Agency divides the county into River Basin Districts. Its website explains:

A River Basin District is:

  • a river basin, or
  • several river basins, and
  • the river basin's adjacent coastal waters.

This is the scale we use for both strategic planning and reporting to the European Commission for the Water Framework Directive.

The territory covered by this website falls into the Thames River Basin District in its northern reaches and the South East River Basin District in its southern reaches. The Stour is included in the South East River Basin District.

The South East River Basin District can be thought of as part of the river basin of the Channel River. At the time of the last glaciations, the Channel River flowed through land now covered by the English Channel. The Thames, Rhine and Seine were its principle tributaries.

The Environment Agency’s map of the South East River Basin District led me to think that it might be interesting to walk the watershed between the two river basins.

I’ve only just started to explore the idea. I think that the most likely obstacle will be the fact that high ridges tend to be occupied by roads, generally of ancient origin, as that was where the easiest going was to be found. It might be difficult to find a satisfactory footpath route.


Walking the London Countryway, a 205 mile long circular walk around London

I've finally tracked down a second-hand copy of A guide to the London Countryway by Keith Chesterton - a pristine first edition, published by Constable in 1978. I found it in the Secondhand Bookshop in Oxted (it's on Station Road West, near the station), after I'd just finished the first section of the Vanguard Way. The long Distance Walkers Association website says:

A circular route published originally in the 1970s long before the two current 'official' orbital routes were established, it formed an 'outer orbital' for walkers around London out beyond them. The route description is not up to date and there have been significant developments since but it could be useful as a starting point for walkers planning their own, similar, route around the capital, perhaps after completing the inner orbitals. There are many public transport links using radial services from central London.

The Countryway is a complete circuit around Greater London, between 13 to 31 miles from the centre and coming to within 1 mile of the boundary at the closest. The Countryway goes over the woodlands and heathlands of Surrey and Berkshire (the former county), then along canal towpaths to Windsor, from where the river Thames is followed to Maidenhead and Marlow. Here it turns to the Chiltern hills to West Wycombe and Great Missenden, and then follows a meandering route to Kings Langley, St Albans, Broxbourne, the Lea valley, Epping Forest and Theydon Bois. The route continues to Brentwood, over the Essex fens to cross the Thames via the former Tilbury to Gravesend Ferry, before heading south and then west along the sandstone and chalk hills of Kent and Surrey.

The two current 'official' orbital routes are the Capital Ring and the London Loop. I've walked both, so the London Countryway is a natural progression.