346 km / 215 miles
Bucks, Essex, Herts, Kent, Surrey, Thurrock, Windsor M
The London Countryway is an orbital walking trail around London. The route never actually enters Greater London but runs through the countryside of neighbouring counties. The surroundings are hugely varied, ranging from dead flat fens to rugged chalk hills, rich in cultural and heritage interest and an outstanding showcase for London's protected green belt. The trail is easily walked as a series of day walks from London using public transport.
The route includes:
Three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Chilterns, Kent Downs, Surrey Hills)
Two National Nature Reserves (Broxbourne Woods, Chobham Common)
Two Community Forests (Thames Chase, Watling Chase)
A Regional Park (Lee Valley)
Two contrasting stretches of the river Thames (Maidenhead and Tilbury)
Three historic canals (Basingstoke Canal, Lee Navigation, Wey Navigation) and the New River
Windsor Great Park and Castle
The National Trust village of West Wycombe
...and numerous other lesser known but fascinating green spaces, nature reserves and heritage sites.
It was originally devised in the late 1970s by LDWA and Ramblers volunteer Keith Chesterton, who published a guidebook in 1979. The second and so far most recent edition of this appeared in 1981 and is long out of print, so the Countryway is something of a lost London orbital route, predating the London Loop by almost two decades. In 2014, Des de Moor. also a Ramblers volunteer and a keen walker based in the London area, has produced an updated and complete guide to the route, the first published for well over 30 years. This is published online (not in book form) on the London Underfoot/Route Description website below. It largely follows the route as described in the 1981 guidebook, with many of the paths much improved since that book was published. The new version makes occasional diversions, sometimes out of necessity but more to explore paths and access that are new or improved in the intervening years.
Remarkably, even with the passage of time and the development of numerous other walking routes in the south-east, large sections of the Countryway are distinct from other promoted routes, so making it still a worthwhile challenge in its own right.
Publications, Badges and Certificates:
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Accommodation within 5 Km of this Path:
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