Countryside walking would be lovely - but the city has much to offer

David Harrison's wife out walking

David Harrison's wife appreciating Islington's architecture while out walking - Credit: David Harrison

Many of us are wishing we could escape to the coast for a cliff walk. How lovely it would be to be strolling in the countryside. But Londoners are finding that walking in the city has much to offer.

Thanks to the People Friendly Streets schemes, in a large area of the borough we can avoid the vehicles (there are so many more than in the first Lockdown) and wander safely through quiet roads listening to birds, sniffing flowers in comparatively clean air, gazing up at trees. An added bonus of the city is that there are beautiful examples of architecture and places of historic interest to explore.

Last weekend I saw numerous people enjoying the urban landscape. There were elderly men and women, millennials, teenagers, families pushing buggies, solitary figures smiling and chatting on their phones, a couple of joggers, dogs on leads, cats in the undergrowth, little children pedalling safely on the tarmac. A young couple was delighted to have found the Tudor period Canonbury Tower. I especially enjoyed spotting some plants cascading from a balcony resembling something in a tropical jungle.  

David Harrison says shops will benefit from People Friendly Streets.

Campaigner David Harrison - Credit: David Harrison

The Central London Footways map has so far created particularly attractive routes in the south part of the borough. Now the plan is to extend this resource to cover the whole of Islington.

We would love your help. If you have favourite areas for walking away from the noise, smells and pollution of traffic, we want to know. Do your children enjoy any particular sights or destinations? Can you point out any imaginative planting? Which buildings have unusual features? Is there somewhere with an intriguing past? Contact: //footways.london/

It’s the discovery of these special features that make city rambling as good as a country walk, and all without being confronted by a scary cow.


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  • David Harrison is from Islington Living Streets.

READ MORE: Welcome the friendly streets

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