The London LOOP is a 150 mile (242 km) circular walk that takes you through green areas on the edge of Greater London. My motivation for completing this is that I really enjoyed walking the Capital Ring, and wanted to set a more ambitious challenge.

Once again I am rating each section and listing good, bad, and unexpected moments.

The TfL website has official maps for the route, but I instead highly recommend this guidebook for detailed instructions and interesting historical tidbits.

Since walking the Capital Ring I purchased a better camera which explains the more vivid colours.

Table of Contents

# Section Rating
1 Erith to Old Bexley /10
2 Old Bexley to Petts Wood /10
3 Petts Wood to West Wickham Common 9/10
4 West Wickham Common to Hamsey Green /10
5 Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South /10
6 Coulsdon South to Banstead Downs 6/10
7 Banstead Downs to Ewell 2/10
8 Ewell to Kingston Bridge 2/10
9 Kingston Bridge to Hatton Cross /10
10 Hatton Cross to Hayes & Harlington 3/10
11 Hayes & Harlington to Uxbridge 8/10
12 Uxbridge to Harefield West 7/10
13 Harefield West to Moor Park 7/10
14 Moor Park to Hatch End 8/10
15 Hatch End to Elstree /10
16 Elstree to Cockfosters /10
17 Cockfosters to Enfield Lock /10
18 Enfield Lock to Chingford /10
19 Chingford to Chigwell /10
20 Chigwell to Havering-atte Bower /10
21 Havering-atte-Bower to Harold Wood /10
22 Harold Wood to Upminster Bridge /10
23 Upminster Bridge to Rainham /10
24 Rainham to Purfleet /10

1 - Erith to Old Bexley

Rating: /10

The Good:

The Bad:

The Unexpected:

2 - Old Bexley to Petts Wood

Rating: /10

The Good:

The Bad:

The Unexpected:

3 - Petts Wood to West Wickham Common

Rating: 9/10

The Good:

From Farnborough onwards this section becomes sensational walking. Huge open spaces but always varied and interesting. By the time I had passed the Wilberforce Oak and reached Keston Ponds, I had not seen another human in 45 minutes! And that’s on a summer Saturday afternoon within Greater London. Maybe everyone had gone to the beach.

The Bad:

The track next to Shire Lane near Holwood Farm was overgrown and I got stung by a few nettles.

The Unexpected:

I did not expect to catch a photo of this robin as I normally associate them with winter. I’ll reiterate just how surprised I was by how quiet this section was, even in Crofton Woods near Petts Wood I only encountered a single person. Coming back into Central London afterwards felt jarring.

4 - West Wickham Common to Hamsey Green

Rating: /10

The Good:

The Bad:

The Unexpected:

5 - Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South

Rating: /10

The Good:

The Bad:

The Unexpected:

6 - Coulsdon South to Banstead Downs

Rating: 6/10

The Good:

Once this section gets going, it’s great, with a lot of variety, keeping you engaged. It’s a shame that more time isn’t spent in Oaks Park; I wandered into the main area and it was one of the lovelier parks I’ve encountered.

The Bad:

The starting stretch is infuriating, spending half an hour going up residential roads, with green spaces beckoning from the sides which you don’t enter. When the trail finally gets off the road (pictured), it was overgrown and infested with flies. Later, crossing the A217 which divides Banstead Downs golf course is not a fun experience.

The Unexpected:

One moment I was fighting through an overgrown track, the next I was suddenly in a beautiful lavender field, teeming with amateur photographers. I was totally taken by surprise and delighted.

7 - Banstead Downs to Ewell

Rating: 2/10

The Good:

Ewell has plenty of interesting historical buildings, and a quaint villagey vibe when you first emerge into it. The effect is soon spoiled by a number of busy roads, but at least it lasts for a few brief moments.

The Bad:

The first half of the section is spent walking on pavements in dull Surrey suburbia. Yes, half of the whole section.

The Unexpected:

Nonsuch Park is apparently heaven for dogs, with them running amok in greater numbers than I have seen in any other park. Unfortunately this made enjoying the lush surroundings more difficult.

8 - Ewell to Kingston Bridge

Rating: 2/10

The Good:

Hogsmill Open Space and Elmbridge Meadows are tranquil, and the approach into Kingston is pretty.

The Bad:

This stroll along the Hogsmill River starts pleasantly enough, but three necessary diversions from the riverside go on to ruin it. The first sees you miss the location where Millais painted his masterpiece Ophelia since the path disappears (pictured). The next sees you walk a fair way up the horrible A3 just to find a subway then walk all the way down again on the other side. The last sends you down dull roads past a sewage plant. To top it off, the signage throughout the section was in a poor state.

The Unexpected:

Kingston was packed and looked almost Mediterranean when I arrived there. A heron was watching under the bridge. It was nice after such a disappointing walk.

9 - Kingston Bridge to Hatton Cross

Rating: /10

The Good:

The Bad:

The Unexpected:

10 - Hatton Cross to Hayes & Harlington

Rating: 3/10

The Good:

Cranford Park is lovely, with big open fields, red cows, a church, and a striking stable blockyard.

The Bad:

Several encounters with loud and busy roads overshadow the nicer parts of this short section. The route sends you 200 metres down the A4 just to walk through the unremarkable Berkeley Meadows, despite there being a cut-through around the back. Later you walk beside the even louder A312 next to an asphalt plant.

The Unexpected:

Hard to believe this idyllic scene is encountered just off the A30 nearby the huge British Airways office.

11 - Hayes & Harlington to Uxbridge

Rating: 8/10

The Good:

The Colne Valley Park stretch here is delightful. After the pictured Little Britain Lake, it was quiet and picturesque for a long while. The canalside walking which makes up the bulk of this section is almost as good, and never overstays its welcome, with a fun diversion through a business park and golf course.

The Bad:

The Grand Union Canal at Hayes Town at the beginning of this section was in a grim state, full of litter, and with no bird life to be seen apart from a flock of morbid pigeons living under a bridge. To stay positive I’m using a picture from further up the canal instead.

The Unexpected:

Whoever dumped this near Packet Boat Marina does not have a healthy lifestyle. Shortly after, I had to scramble off the track as two inconsiderate dirt bikers came tearing down the towpath.

12 - Uxbridge to Harefield West

Rating: 7/10

The Good:

Plenty more pleasant walking alongside the Grand Union Canal, and the associated locks, marinas, and lakes near it.

The Bad:

Recognising that too much canalside walking on a narrow towpath can become monotonous, the route diverts off round Harefield Marina. However, I didn’t feel this diversion was justified; you get nice views of the lake but shortly turn off and have to walk down a road just to get back on the towpath again.

The Unexpected:

“Fran’s Tea Garden” next to Denham Deep Lock looked inviting in the summer sun, just so quaint and tranquil that it made me temporarily forget everything else in the world.

13 - Harefield West to Moor Park

Rating: 7/10

The Good:

Bishop’s Wood Country Park was excellent and somewhere I’d like to explore further, and the walking around it was good although a little hemmed in by the clearly marked private farmland all around. I got lost in the country park but it was worth it as I stumbled upon rows upon rows of foxgloves.

The Bad:

Across the road from the Rose and Crown pub at Woodcock Hill, a pack of assorted dogs came bolting over to the fence to bark furiously. Probably exactly what their owners wanted them to do. Shortly after, a tough-looking man had to fully exert himself to stop his slavering German Shepherd from mounting an attack. Later on, I saw somebody else almost become a victim. What is wrong with the dogs around Harefield West?

The Unexpected:

The Moor Park Estate is almost comical in how exclusively it presents itself. So many signs, including an electronic one just to animate “No Through Road”. The estate sums up the vibe of this section for me, rather lovely yet deliberately unwelcoming.

14 - Moor Park to Hatch End

Rating: 8/10

The Good:

This section was great all the way through, featuring a golf course, expansive playing fields, quiet roads, lush woods, and a farm. Just when I thought it was a shame it lacked any really notable sights, the gorgeous Pinnerwood House appeared.

The Bad:

The anti-bike measures deployed throughout the section were both ineffective and slightly annoying. Towards the end, the stiles were in various states of disrepair.

The Unexpected:

I got stuck behind a family whose matriarch refused to cross a stile with a horse blocking the other side (not the same place/horse as pictured). The others tried to shoo it off but it wouldn’t budge. Eventually I got tired of waiting and climbed over, squeezing right past the horse, and after I politely said “excuse me” it moved away!

15 - Hatch End to Elstree

Rating: /10

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The Bad:

The Unexpected:

16 - Elstree to Cockfosters

Rating: /10

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17 - Cockfosters to Enfield Lock

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The Unexpected:

18 - Enfield Lock to Chingford

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19 - Chingford to Chigwell

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20 - Chigwell to Havering-atte Bower

Rating: /10

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The Unexpected:

21 - Havering-atte-Bower to Harold Wood

Rating: /10

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The Bad:

The Unexpected:

22 - Harold Wood to Upminster Bridge

Rating: /10

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23 - Upminster Bridge to Rainham

Rating: /10

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24 - Rainham to Purfleet

Rating: /10

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The Unexpected: