A Capital Ring sign positioned near the Preston Road tube station
|Length||Approx. 120 kilometres (75 mi) (see below)|
|Designation||UK National Trail|
The Capital Ring is a strategic walking route that is being promoted by London's 33 local councils, led by the City of London Corporation in partnership with the Greater London Authority and its functional body for regional transport, Transport for London, through which much of the funding is provided. It is called a "ring" because the route completely encircles inner and central London.
The official start of the route is the Woolwich foot tunnel, but the nature of the route means that it can be started or finished at almost any point.
The idea originated in 1990 at one of the early meetings of the London Walking Forum and it was completed in September 2005. It passes through green areas of both urban and suburban London.
- Walk 1: Woolwich to Falconwood
- Walk 2: Falconwood to Grove Park
- Walk 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace
- Walk 4: Crystal Palace to Streatham
- Walk 5: Streatham to Wimbledon Park
- Walk 6: Wimbledon Park to Richmond
- Walk 7: Richmond to Osterley Lock
- Walk 8: Osterley Lock to Greenford
- Walk 9: Greenford to South Kenton
- Walk 10: South Kenton to Hendon Park
- Walk 11: Hendon Park to Highgate
- Walk 12: Highgate to Stoke Newington
- Walk 13: Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick
- Walk 14: Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park
- Walk 15: Beckton District Park to Woolwich
Here the Capital Ring comprises three walks, 1 to 3. These are part of the South East London Green Chain. It starts from the Woolwich foot tunnel and ends in Crystal Palace Park. Points of interest in this section include the Thames Barrier, Severndroog Castle, Eltham Palace and the remains of The Crystal Palace.
In this section, the trail comprises two walks, walk 4 and 5. Points of interest in this section include Biggin Wood (one of the few remnants of the Great North Wood), Streatham Common, Tooting Bec Lido and Wandsworth Common.
Here the Capital Ring comprises two walks, walk 6 and 7. Walk 6 consists of a brief walk through suburban Wimbledon Park, then crosses Wimbledon Common and then Richmond Park. While the route passes within about 100 metres of King Henry VIII's Mound, with its protected view of St Paul's Cathedral, this is not indicated on the signposts for the route. Walk 7 continues from Richmond along the Thames, before deviating through old Isleworth, then through the grounds of Syon Park. It then continues along the Grand Union Canal to Osterley Lock.
West and North-West London
The Capital Ring comprises two walks, walk 10 and 11, in North London.
Walk 10 starts from South Kenton railway station, crosses Preston Park and passes Preston Road underground station, before reaching Fryent Country Park. It then heads south and east to Brent Reservoir and West Hendon where it crosses the Edgware Road, M1 motorway and A41 to reach Hendon Park, near Hendon Central tube station.
Walk 11 starts at Hendon Park, again following the River Brent and Mutton Brook through Hampstead Garden Suburb. It passes East Finchley tube station, Cherry Tree Wood and Highgate Wood (complete with a tea shop, interpretive display, and green grassy picnic area). From here it passes through Queen's Wood to the Northern Line's Highgate tube station.
Walk 12 starts at the Priory Gardens entrance to Highgate tube station and follows the Parkland Walk past Crouch End to Finsbury Park. After crossing the park it follows the New River past the Stoke Newington reservoirs. It then crosses Clissold Park and Abney Park Cemetery before reaching Stoke Newington railway station; Stoke Newington is also served by the 73 bus. Walk 13 heads east though the streets of Lower Clapton to Springfield Park before following the River Lee Navigation south through Lea Bridge to White Post Lane, near Hackney Wick railway station.
In this area, the Capital Ring comprises two walks, walk 14 and 15, which pass through the area used for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, including Pudding Mill Lane DLR station. Walk 14 follows The Greenway for most of its distance.
Authorities do not agree on the length of the route, probably because of the various station links. Walk London give the length as 125 km (78 mi), the distances they give for the 15 sections sum to 133 km, yet they say the average length of the 15 sections is 7.8 km, which produces a total of 117 km. The total is only 115 km (71 mi) according to the Ramblers Association; the Transport for London website gives it as 117 km (73 mi). Plotting the official route on digital 1:25 000 mapping gives a length of about 120 km.
- Official Transport for London site with maps of each walk
- Observer Feature by Stephen Emms on Capital Ring
- London Capital Ring Blog
- Photos and description of a walk taken around the Capital Ring during 2006.
- Greenchain.com – official site of the southeast section of the Capital Ring
- Full route on OpenStreetMap, select your own walk (takes time to load).
- Download GPS track