'Forgotten Rivers' route proposed by The Ramblers

A canal path

A canal path - Credit: The Ramblers

Walking charity The Ramblers have urged London’s next mayor to create six new walking routes across London.

The proposals included the Forgotten Rivers route, which reveals rivers around Hampstead Heath that have been obscured by years of development.

The Ramblers has published a manifesto and is calling for all London mayoral candidates to prioritise green spaces.

While full details of proposed routes have not been mapped, the charity plans to work with the next mayor to finalise them.

The Ramblers' London Greenways map

The Ramblers' London Greenways map - Credit: The Ramblers

The Forgotten Rivers route would follow the Silk Stream north of Hampstead Heath, linking with the London LOOP at High Barnet, exploring the greener outskirts of London, past St Pancras Old Church and alongside the Regents Canal and across the Capital Ring, through Brent Cross. 

To the south it would follow the River Fleet, one of London’s lost rivers, widely used in Roman times.

While much of it is covered by Victorian sewer tunnels, there are several places it can be seen above ground.

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Gemma Cantelo, head of policy and advocacy for the Ramblers, said: “Thousands of us have enjoyed the health and wellbeing benefits of walking and taken comfort in connecting with nature over the past year, but sadly for many that wasn’t possible. We have seen parks and footpaths overwhelmed by high volumes of walkers, while many people simply don’t have parks nearby, or are put off visiting by things like as heavy traffic, poorly maintained parks or lack of accessibility.  

“Green walking routes and access to green space have a positive impact on the numbers of people walking – whether that’s urban parks, a canal towpath or local streets filled with trees – which in turn brings improved air quality, better health, and more vibrant communities."

The new routes proposed in London Greenways have been mapped out by Ramblers volunteers, working with a small coalition of like-minded organisations.

The Counter’s Creek route in the west would follow a hidden river path, taking in "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries at Kensal Green and Brompton.

Romford Greenway would connect the Olympic Park, the Capital Ring and the London LOOP, roughly shadowing the Elizabeth Line in some places.

The Southern Rivers route crosses parts of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley.

The Five Boroughs Link would pass through Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest.