Autumn has to be the best time of the year for a good walk. It’s not too hot and not (yet!) too cold. As it’s a low impact exercise, walking is an achievable and beneficial form of exercise. Walk regularly, and you can reduce stress levels and reduce the risk of a whole host of health conditions like stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Here are 6 great walks to go on near London.
1) The castle view walk: Following the wedding of Prince Harry, Windsor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. One of the best places to walk in Windsor is Windsor Great Park, with over 4,800 acres to explore. Start out on the iconic Long Walk and head for the Copper Horse statue at the top of Snow Hill- a walk of just over 2.5 miles. Then enjoy the views across of Windsor Castle and Eton College before taking on the more challenging Deer Park walk.
2) The forest walk: Eridge Rocks near Tunbridge Wells is a little further out of London at just under 2 hours but is worth the drive for the eerie sandstone rocks. From the car park there are different footpaths to take which wind around the base of the rocks and through woodland. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, look out for rare plants and woodland birds.
3) The treetop walk: Around 30 minutes out of London, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has some great walks including the Treetop Walkway. Standing 18 metres off the ground, the steel walkway takes you up into the treetops with a 200 metre route through the trees. To make the walk longer, you could add in the Thames Path walk from the tube to the Gardens. Kew Gardens also has health walks on the first Wednesday of every month (except Jan) for residents of some London boroughs.
4) The lake walk: Connaught Water is a huge lake located in Epping Forest, an ancient forest where King Henry VIII once hunted. A stroll around Connaught Water is a walk in itself, but to make it into a longer hike, head for Strawberry Hill Pond and the historic Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge- built in Tudor times.
5) The tower walk: Leith Hill in Surrey is the second highest point in south east England and is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The National Trust has lots of walks in Leith including the Woodland Walk which takes you through woodland to the 18th century Leith Hill Tower. From its top (after climbing the 74 steps) you can see Big Ben (if you’re lucky!).
6) The heath walk: Said to have inspired C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, no round up of London walks would be complete without a mention of Hampstead Heath! There are lots of trails to take on the heath, but a good one to try is the Sandy Heath trail. Start at the Golders Hill Café and head for Hill Garden with its beautiful pergola- said to be one of London’s best kept secrets. Then, walk on to Pitt’s Garden and Sandy Heath.