One of my goals for 2018 is to complete the Capital Ring Walk, a 78 mile circular walking route around London. The walk is broken up into 15 sections, each being between 4-8 miles long. You can start at any point along the route, I started with the last sections first since I live in East London and these are the closest to where I live. They also happen to be some of the shorter sections of the Capital Ring, so it was a nice way to ease into it. These sections are great to do in winter when the days aren’t as long.
The start and end points for each route are close to public transport so it’s easy to get to each section. TFL have detailed maps and public transport information for each section, and the route is well signposted.
The Capital Ring passes by many of London’s famous landmarks and through some attractive parks and green areas. Here are some of the highlights that I spotted in sections 13-15:
Section 13: Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick
Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)
After passing through some residential streets you arrive at Springfield Park, from which you have a great view of Walthamstow Marshes.
From here the route follows the tow path along the River Lea so it’s very easy to navigate.
At Millfields Park the river splits in two. The route crosses over a footbridge and continues along the River Lee Navigation to the right.
The rest of the section follows the towpath along the canal. It’s an easy, beautiful walk on a sunny day.
This building marks the end of section 13. You can choose to leave the towpath here, crossing over Carpenters Road Bridge to head to Hackney Wick Overground station. Or you can continue on to section 14.
Section 14: Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park
Distance: 5.2 miles (8.3 km)
This section begins with a great view of the Olympic stadium.
The route continues along the towpath. On the opposite side of the canal there are a number of cafes and restaurants which would be great places to stop for lunch.
The route joins up with the River Lea again at Old Ford Lock, and here we leave the towpath to follow the Greenway. Now the Olympic Stadium is to our left.
Construction work means we have to take a small detour off the Greenway, so make sure you have a copy of TFL’s route directions as this part can get a little confusing.
Once we are back on the Greenway we pass the Abbey Mills Pumping Station. Like the Crossness Pumping Station which I visited last year, Abbey Mills was built by Joseph Bazalgette to pump sewage waste which was deep underground.
This section of the Capital Ring features some nice views of the London skyline and the Canary Wharf skyscrapers.
This section finishes at Beckton District Park. We can leave here and head to Royal Albert DLR station, or continue on to section 15.
Section 15: Beckton District Park to Woolwich
Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)
We pick up the route again at Beckton District Park, pass through Cyprus DLR station and the University of East London campus. At Royal Albert Dock there’s a great view of London City Airport and an opportunity for some plane spotting.
There are now two routes to choose from in this section. You can go along the Thames and over lock gates, or you can take a step-free route over the Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge. I opted for the Thames and lock-gates route. The pathway is fully enclosed and fenced all the way to the lock gates, so it is easy to navigate.
After the lock gates, as you continue walking along the Thames you pass through a residential development. The route through here is only open during daylight hours. Even though it was around 3:30pm when I passed through here the gate was locked so I ended up having to take a bit of a detour.
I got back on track and continued through Royal Victoria Gardens before arriving at the Woolwich Foot Tunnel. To complete the Capital Ring Walk, take the stairs or the lift down to the tunnel and cross over to the other side of the Thames. Alternatively, you can take the free ferry across the river.
I’m really enjoying the Capital Ring Walk so far and getting to see some areas of London I haven’t experienced before. A re-cap of section 1 will be coming soon, and I’m looking forward to completing the other 11 sections this year.