Transport for London has published the capital’s first plan to boost the level of walking for leisure.
It says leisure walking provides people with an affordable and easy way to support good health, and physical and mental wellbeing while protecting and improving the environment, and that the new action plan will enhance and expand leisure walking routes and better connect London’s communities with green spaces, building on increases in leisure walking seen since the pandemic.
As part of the Leisure Walking Plan, TfL has partnered with Go Jauntly to digitise the Walk London network and make it available through the Go Jauntly app. This will ensure that everyone in the capital can have access to high-quality leisure walking routes and have the opportunity to connect with nature. The Walk London Network is one of the largest walking networks of any city in the world, comprising seven routes split into sections, to encourage leisure walking in London. Digitising the network means that people will be able to use the Go Jauntly app to navigate all seven routes, including the Thames Path and London LOOP. Accessible by public transport, these walking routes pass through 28 London boroughs, with each route split into sections to make them easier to navigate.
The Leisure Walking Plan also sets out further commitments to boost leisure walking in the capital. TfL will carry out an audit of signage on the existing Walk London network and look to improve existing wayfinding signs, to enable even more people to make the most of the routes in their area. TfL will also use funding from the Mayor’s Green New Deal fund to identify further ways of improving the network, including by resurfacing existing paths to make them more attractive and easier to use.
The plan will help to ensure London’s streets are accessible and inclusive for the diverse range of people who live, work and visit the capital. Since the pandemic, walking for leisure has become the top reason for Londoners walking more. In a 2022 survey, of those who said they walk more in London than they did the previous year, 39 per cent cited leisure as the reason, compared to 37 per cent who walked more to travel somewhere and 31 per cent who walked as part of a public transport journey.
To help coordinate the delivery of the plan, TfL will work closely with the London Walking Forum. Its members include organisations such as Living Streets, Sustrans, Ramblers, London Councils and the Canal & River Trust. TfL and its partners in the London Walking Forum will assess progress towards the delivery of the Leisure Walking Plan and work together to maximise opportunities to boost leisure walking across the capital.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “London is already a great place to explore on foot but as Londoners grapple with the impacts of climate change, a child inactivity crisis and spiralling cost of living, it is vital that we do more to improve London’s leisure walking network. Walking provides people with an affordable, easy way to maintain their mental and physical wellbeing while protecting and improving the environment.
“Our action plan will enhance and improve the Walk London Network making London much more walkable and in doing so improve Londoners health, reduce health inequalities and increase access to green space – contributing to building a better, greener London for everyone.”
Christina Calderato, TfL’s Director of Transport Strategy and Policy said: “Leisure walking has a vital role to play in the health of everyone living in the capital, which is why we have set out a plan to make it more pleasurable and attractive to more people by enhancing and digitising the Walk London Network. Upgrades will include improving existing routes to make them more accessible, developing new routes to better connect communities with green spaces, and greater promotion of the vast array of leisure walking opportunities. Boosting leisure walking will improve the health of Londoners, reduce health inequalities and make London a more walkable city. We’ll continue to work with our partners to ensure everyone has access to high-quality walking infrastructure.”
Hana Sutch, Co-founder and CEO at Go Jauntly said: “Walking is fun, free and easy. It’s also really good for you physically and mentally. The Capital Ring is one of the most popular walking routes on the app so we’re extremely pleased to be able to bring all the remaining Walk London routes to the Go Jauntly app including the Green Chain Walk, Jubilee Greenway, the Lea Valley Walk and the Thames Path. That’s over 145 miles of walking trails!”
The new digitised walking network can be accessed here.
(Picture – TfL)