Greenwich Meridian Trail
439 km / 273 miles
Inaugurated in 2009, the route follows the line of the Prime Meridian as closely as practical, using public rights of way. The route does not slavishly stick to The Meridian, but has been chosen to give an interesting, varied and memorable walk.
The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was agreed as Zero Degrees Longitude for the whole world at a conference in America in 1884. Before that time, charts and maps used many different meridians as zero. At the same time, the delegates agreed on the “universal day” which is the same the world over. Each day begins at midnight at Greenwich, thus giving us Greenwich Mean Time. Maritime Greenwich is recognised as a World Heritage Site.
From the Meridian Monument in Peacehaven, the route goes over the South Downs, across the Weald, through Ashdown Forest and across the North Downs. In London, too much street walking has been avoided by the judicious use of woods, commons, parks; the excellent Green Chain Walk and the Pool and Ravenbourne Rivers as a way of reaching Greenwich. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel takes the trail north of the river where the Thames Path and Limehouse Cut lead to Stratford and then to Epping Forest, a green way out of London. From Waltham Abbey, the route follows the Lea Valley to Stanstead Abbotts, continues across the hills of Hertfordshire into Cambridgeshire and the halfway point at the village of Hardwick. A loop to Cambridge, through Grantchester, is provided as an option.
The third part of the route crosses The Fens, passes through March to reach Holbeach and then historic Boston. The final part traverses the lovely Lincolnshire Wolds to Louth and then reaches Cleethorpes on the south shore of the Humber Estuary. The trail restarts at the Meridian Marker near Patrington. From there it skirts Withernsea and reaches the end at Sand le Mere where the Meridian crosses the fastest eroding coastline in England, so much so, a marker placed on the cliffs here, for the Millennium, fell onto the beach in 2003.
The easiest way of “crossing” The Humber is by bus from Cleethorpes to Hull and then to Patrington. It is possible to cross by boat to the tip of Spurn Head, tide and weather permitting. From there it is a very interesting walk to Patrington. Information about the Humber Link by boat will be available on the website as and when details are finalised.
There is a Royal Meridian Marker on the sea defences, which is crown land, south of Patrington. The route authors decided not to include that in the “official” route because it involves a there-and-back walk from Patrington which breaks the rhythm of the walk. Details of how to find the marker are included in Book 4 for those who have the time to collect another Meridian Marker.
For those of you who have spotted that the distance of 439 km given at the top, does not accord with the 465 km shown by the Route Profile, this is the explanation. The authors have decided that the “official” distance will be the route between Peacehaven and Cleethorpes, plus the final section from Patrington to Sand le Mere, which is 439km. If you look at the map of the route you will see that it goes from Cleethorpes across The Humber to Spurn Head and thence to Patrington and to the end. The software that draws the red route line does not allow breaks, so that was the only easy way to do it. The extra distance across the water and up Spurn Head, accounts for the difference.
Publications, Badges and Certificates:
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Accommodation within 5 Km of this Path:
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Last Updated 30/03/2017 17:02:03 - alterations to route north of Somersham