Green Chain Walk

Many cities around the world create networked trails that are supposed to get people outdoors and enjoying the city’s green spaces. The intention is that they will be so well sign-posted that any old Joe or Harry can be smart enough to follow them. But in most cases signs get damaged or are put in the wrong place and the trails aren’t maintained or just so little used that they can’t be distinguished from their green, bushy surrounds. However, London’s Green Chain is surprisingly different.

It boasts about 50 miles of trail in the south east of London (from Erith to Crystal Palace and the Thames to Bromley) and what I’ve seen of it so far has been brilliant. Signposts every 100m or so (I only saw two that were missing on Sunday’s 20 mile run), the tracks are high quality (except for some boggy patches due to one of the wettest Junes on record), and the time spent in urban environments is kept to bare minimum.

At times I felt a million miles from one of the world’s largest cities when I was less than 10 miles from its centre.

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The Green Chain Walk is so good for running that even the graffiti artists think so.

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Yep, it’s mid-summer. The only time this trail won’t suck your shoes straight off your feet is when it freezes in winter.

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Oxleas Meadows looking southwest.

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400-year-old Charlton House

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