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London Outer Orbital Path

Coordinates: 51°28′59″N 0°10′41″E / 51.483144°N 0.177975°E / 51.483144; 0.177975 (Erith)
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London Outer Orbital Path
The London LOOP's logo, a flying kestrel, can be seen on the signs marking the route
Length150 mi (242 km)[1]
LocationLondon, England
SeasonAll year
Trail map

The London Outer Orbital Path — more usually the "London LOOP" — is a 150-mile (242 km) signed walk along public footpaths,[1] and through parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London, England, described as "the M25 for walkers". The walk begins at Erith on the south bank of the River Thames and passes clockwise through Crayford, Petts Wood, Coulsdon, Banstead, Ewell, Kingston upon Thames, Uxbridge, Elstree, Cockfosters, Chingford, Chigwell, Grange Hill and Upminster Bridge before ending at Purfleet, almost directly across the Thames from its starting point. Between these settlements the route passes through green buffers and some of the highest points in Greater London.


The walk was first proposed at a meeting between The Ramblers and the Countryside Commission in 1990. It was given an official launch at the House of Lords in 1993. The first section was opened on 3 May 1996, with a ceremony on Farthing Downs, Coulsdon. Other sections followed at the rate of two or three per year as signs were installed and leaflets for individual sections published, the route becoming fully walkable in 2001. Following the election of Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London, the London Loop became one of his key routes, along with its sister route, the Capital Ring.


Happy Valley
Stag in Bushy Park
Wellingtonia Avenue

The route is divided into 24 sections in three groups: the "blue" group in South London, the "green" group in north-west London, and the "yellow" group in north-east London. The sections vary in length,[1] from 3.8 miles (6.1 km) section 14 to 10 miles (16 km) section 16. Some sections start and/or end directly at public transport stops. However most sections have a further waymarked 'LOOP Link' to from their start and/or end to the nearest train or underground station. Additionally, there are waymarked 'LOOP Links' to train station midway along some sections. All these links are listed in the table below.

South London (sections 1–8)[edit]

The Loop officially begins by the River Thames in Erith. Points of interest in these sections south of the Thames include: Hall Place, the memorial to William Willett (advocate of summer time), the Wilberforce Oak, Shirley Windmill, Happy Valley, Farthing Downs, the Mayfield Lavender Farm and the Coronation Stone in Kingston.

North-west London (sections 9–16)[edit]

Having crossed the Thames at Kingston Bridge the Loop continues north of the river. Points of interest in these sections include: Bushy Park, the Shot Tower by the River Crane, the Grand Union Canal, the ancient woodland of Park Wood, Grim's Dyke and a cottage where David Livingstone once lived.

North-east London (sections 17–24)[edit]

Commencing at Cockfosters, the final third of the Loop heads south to its end at the Thames in Purfleet. Points of interest in these sections include: the New River, Forty Hall, Gilwell Park, Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge in Epping Forest, the Wellingtonia Avenue in Havering Country Park, the valley of the River Ingrebourne, the Upminster Windmill, Hornchurch Country Park, the Concrete Barges by the Thames at Rainham and the RSPB Centre by the marshes at Purfleet.

Signposts, waymarks and information boards direct the walker along the route. In countryside locations the waymarks consist mostly of a simple white disc mounted on a wooden post, with a directional arrow and flying kestrel logo in blue and text in green. However, local authorities are responsible for funding these signs, so the quality varies from one borough to the next, with some sections not signed at all. The 54-mile blue route from Erith to Kingston is maintained by the Downlands Countryside Management Project, a joint initiative by several councils, and is complete with signs and information boards, in addition to maps available from Tourist Information Centres.

There is no way to cross the river between Purfleet and Erith to complete the loop, although there was once a ferry to Erith which was mainly used by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. In 2011 a proposal for a ferry to link the ends, and to link to riverbuses upstream at Woolwich, was shortlisted in the RIBA Forgotten Spaces competition.[2]

The full route is also mapped on OpenStreetMap and available on the Go Jauntly app, in partnership with Transport for London.

Section Description Distance[1] Start coordinates Public transport links
mi km Section start Section end Further signposted LOOP Links along the section
1 Erith to Old Bexley 8.5 mi 13.7 km 51°28′59″N 0°10′41″E / 51.483144°N 0.177975°E / 51.483144; 0.177975 (Erith) link from Erith station link to Bexley station Slade Green station

Crayford station

2 Old Bexley to Petts Wood 7 mi 11 km 51°26′28″N 0°08′56″E / 51.441233°N 0.148956°E / 51.441233; 0.148956 (Old Bexley) link from Bexley station link to Petts Wood station
3 Petts Wood to West Wickham Common 9 mi 14 km 51°23′36″N 0°04′09″E / 51.393209°N 0.069081°E / 51.393209; 0.069081 (Petts Wood) link from Petts Wood station link to Hayes station
4 West Wickham Common to Hamsey Green 10 mi 16 km 51°22′15″N 0°00′17″E / 51.370944°N 0.004860°E / 51.370944; 0.004860 (West Wickham Common) link from Hayes station Hamsey Green bus stop
5 Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South 6 mi 9.7 km 51°19′09″N 0°03′48″W / 51.319035°N 0.063420°W / 51.319035; -0.063420 (Hamsey Green) Hamsey Green bus stop Coulsdon South station Whyteleafe station
6 Coulsdon South to Banstead Downs 4.5 mi 7.2 km 51°18′57″N 0°08′12″W / 51.315728°N 0.136744°W / 51.315728; -0.136744 (Coulsdon South) Coulsdon South station link to Banstead station
7 Banstead Downs to Ewell 3.5 mi 5.6 km 51°19′56″N 0°12′33″W / 51.332148°N 0.209290°W / 51.332148; -0.209290 (Banstead Downs) link from Banstead station link to Ewell West station
8 Ewell to Kingston Bridge 7.3 mi 11.7 km 51°21′06″N 0°15′01″W / 51.351650°N 0.250176°W / 51.351650; -0.250176 (Ewell) link from Ewell West station link to Kingston station Malden Manor station
9 Kingston Bridge to Hatton Cross 8.5 mi 13.7 km 51°24′43″N 0°18′30″W / 51.411854°N 0.308274°W / 51.411854; -0.308274 (Kingston Bridge) link from Kingston station link to Hatton Cross underground station Fulwell station
10 Hatton Cross to Hayes & Harlington 3.5 mi 5.6 km 51°28′12″N 0°24′35″W / 51.469927°N 0.409793°W / 51.469927; -0.409793 (Hatton Cross) link from Hatton Cross underground station link to Hayes & Harlington station
11 Hayes & Harlington to Uxbridge 7.5 mi 12.1 km 51°30′18″N 0°25′07″W / 51.505117°N 0.418654°W / 51.505117; -0.418654 (Hayes) link from Hayes & Harlington station link to Uxbridge underground station West Drayton station
12 Uxbridge to Harefield West 4.5 mi 7.2 km 51°33′03″N 0°29′00″W / 51.550933°N 0.483414°W / 51.550933; -0.483414 (Uxbridge) link from Uxbridge underground station link to Hareford West / Belfry Avenue bus stop
13 Harefield West to Moor Park 5 mi 8.0 km 51°36′38″N 0°29′56″W / 51.610477°N 0.498761°W / 51.610477; -0.498761 (Harefield) link from Hareford West / Belfry Avenue bus stop link to Moor Park underground station
14 Moor Park to Hatch End 3.8 mi 6.1 km 51°37′26″N 0°25′39″W / 51.623932°N 0.427529°W / 51.623932; -0.427529 (Moor Park) link from Moor Park underground station link to Hatch End station
15 Hatch End to Elstree 10 mi 16 km 51°36′39″N 0°22′49″W / 51.610702°N 0.380326°W / 51.610702; -0.380326 (Hatch End) link from Hatch End station link to Elstree & Borehamwood station Stanmore underground station
16 Elstree to Cockfosters 10 mi 16 km 51°39′12″N 0°16′55″W / 51.653365°N 0.281950°W / 51.653365; -0.281950 (Elstree) link from Elstree & Borehamwood station short link to Cockfosters underground station High Barnet underground station
17 Cockfosters to Enfield Lock 9.5 mi 15.3 km 51°39′08″N 0°08′56″W / 51.652244°N 0.148998°W / 51.652244; -0.148998 (Cockfosters) short link from Cockfosters underground station link to Enfield Lock station Gordon Hill station
18 Enfield Lock to Chingford 4 mi 6.4 km 51°40′06″N 0°01′42″W / 51.668264°N 0.028316°W / 51.668264; -0.028316 (Enfield Lock) link from Enfield Lock station link to Chingford station
19 Chingford to Chigwell 4 mi 6.4 km 51°38′04″N 0°00′44″E / 51.634306°N 0.012118°E / 51.634306; 0.012118 (Chingford) link from Chingford station link to Chigwell underground station
20 Chigwell to Havering-atte-Bower 6 mi 9.7 km 51°37′17″N 0°04′41″E / 51.621468°N 0.078004°E / 51.621468; 0.078004 (Chigwell) link from Chigwell underground station short link to Havering Green bus stop
21 Havering-atte Bower to Harold Wood 4.5 mi 7.2 km 51°37′01″N 0°11′00″E / 51.616860°N 0.183245°E / 51.616860; 0.183245 (Havering-atte-Bower) short link from Havering Green bus stop Harold Wood station
22 Harold Wood to Upminster Bridge 4 mi 6.4 km 51°35′36″N 0°14′03″E / 51.593421°N 0.234098°E / 51.593421; 0.234098 (Harold Wood) Harold Wood station Upminster Bridge underground station
23 Upminster Bridge to Rainham 4 mi 6.4 km 51°33′33″N 0°14′12″E / 51.559197°N 0.236748°E / 51.559197; 0.236748 (Upminster Bridge) Upminster Bridge underground station Rainham station
24 Rainham to Purfleet 5 mi 8.0 km 51°31′01″N 0°11′29″E / 51.516886°N 0.191433°E / 51.516886; 0.191433 (Rainham) Rainham station link to Purfleet station

Further reading[edit]

  • Colin Saunders (2017) The London Loop Aurum Press. ISBN 978 1 78131 561 3
  • John Barber (Illustrator), ed. (June 1999). LOOP Walks: South London. Downlands Countryside Management Project. ISBN 0-9535991-0-8.
  • Detailed guidance for walking the LOOP updated by Ramblers volunteers - free downloads from the Inner London Ramblers web site.


  1. ^ a b c d "London LOOP". Transport for London. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Pilgrim Ferry". Forgotten Spaces shortlist 2011. RIBA. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012.

External links[edit]