Best easy New Year walks

Too much turkey and Christmas pudding? Feeling welded to the sofa? Or just want to kickstart your 2023 fitness mojo? If one of your new year’s resolutions is to walk more, the routes below are perfect to get you started. They range from 4 to 9 miles and are mainly graded ‘easy’ because, broadly speaking, they don’t involve too much climbing of hills. They are also relatively simple routes to follow, whether you’re using OS Maps or the written directions. As ever, let us know how you get on!

Streatham to East Dulwich – 8.1 miles

A fascinating, hilly walk meandering through leafy parks and the cemeteries of South East London with amazing views across the capital and the North Downs. It takes in nine open spaces including the popular Dulwich Woods, Horniman Museum Gardens (don’t miss the animal section) and the gothic Nunhead Cemetery, one of the so called “Magnificent Seven” London cemeteries.

 

Woldingham to Oxted 4.3 miles

 

A nice and easy walk through Surrey countryside, including sweeping views from the top of the North Downs. There’s a climb up to the top of the Downs and then a descent to Oxted but you’ll be rewarded with a nice variety of pubs, cafés and restaurants within easy reach of Oxted station. Alternatively, you can take the full walk via Godstone Farm, which is an 8-mile loop from Oxted. 

 

City of London (London Bridge Loop) 6 miles

This great loop across the Thames and into the historic heart of the City is perfect for a first half-day walk. It’s easy to follow, there are lots of exciting places to stop and look around on the way and best of all, there are numerous options for cutting the walk short and hopping on the tube/ bus / overground if you have had enough. Though hopefully, you’ll be enjoying the hidden gems of the Square Mile so much that the 6 miles will be done before you know it!

 

Limehouse Loop 6.5 miles

This is probably our most easy-to-navigate walking route. Starting and finishing at Limehouse DLR station, it follows Limehouse Cut, the Hereford & Union Canal and Regent’s Canal. All you need to do is work out where to turn left between one towpath and another to complete the circuit! This is also a journey through East London history – including Bow Locks, the wonderfully surprising Three Mills and the Olympic Park. Stop for lunch in Victoria Park or Mile End Park. 

 

Brookwood Cemetery & Ash Ranges (Brookwood Loop) 7.9 miles

This is a brilliant walk, combining the fascinating, sprawling Brookwood Cemetery with the stunning heathland of Ash Ranges. You will need to check on the government website when you’re planning this walk as Ash Ranges is MOD land and is not always open to the public. The terrain on this walk is undulating but not hilly and your efforts will certainly be rewarded. Who said exercising can’t be fun?

 

Happy Valley Forever – Coulsdon South to Chipstead 8.15 miles

One of our most accessible countryside walks just a short distance from the urban sprawl of Croydon, this Happy Valley walk is easy to navigate and features rolling fields, hills and woodland with pretty Chaldon Church well worth a stop en route. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take the longer route, which loops back to Coulsdon South station and brings the total walking distance up to 10 miles. 

 

Longcross to Woking  8.55 miles

Longcross is around 10 miles from Heathrow Airport but, less than 5 minutes from leaving the station, you are on the edge of extensive heathland that makes you feel a long way from civilisation! This is Chobham Common, the largest National Nature Reserve in the South East and your route takes you from here all the way to Horsell Common, where the Martians landed in H. G. Wells’ classic War of the Worlds. There are also plenty of highlights along the easily-navigable route. 

 

Lovelace Bridges (Horsley Loop) 9 miles

Starting and finishing in one of the most welcoming stations we know (complete with toilets, library and outdoor patio set), this walk takes you through the village of East Horsley and out into the pretty woodland of the Horsley Estate where you’ll hunt for nine slightly incongruous Victorian bridges, built in the 1860s by the Earl of Lovelace. The search won’t be that tough because we’ve mapped all the bridges on the route! This route is the longest of our suggestions, but also relatively flat and easy to follow. Be prepared for mud if you’re walking in January. 

 

 

by Emily Morrison

I live in a lovely corner of South East London. I have a keen interest in travel - so much so that as well as travelling as much as possible myself, I have forged a career out of helping other people do so. In my spare time I sing in a choir and go on lots of walking adventures. Sometimes I combine the singing with the walking, much to my friends' distress.

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