Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
London Outer Orbital Path
The London Outer Orbital Path — more usually the "London LOOP" — is a 240 km (150 mile) signed walk along public footpaths , and through parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London, described as 'the M25 for walkers'.
The walk was first proposed at a meeting between ramblers and the Countryside Commission in 1990. It was given an official launch at the House of Lords in 1993. The first section was opened on 3 May 1996, with a ceremony on Farthing Downs , Coulsdon. Other sections have followed at the rate of two or three per year as signs are installed and leaflets for individual sections are published, with the route becoming fully walkable in 2001.
The route is divided into 24 sections in three groups: the 'Blue' section in south London, the 'Green' section in north west London, and the 'Yellow' section in north east London. Each of the 24 parts is designed for a day's walk between public transport nodes.
The walk begins at Erith on the south bank of the River Thames and goes clockwise through Crayford, Petts Wood, Coulsdon, Kingston, Uxbridge, Elstree, Cockfosters, Chingford and Upminster Bridge before ending at the Rainham marshes, directly across the Thames from its starting point. Unfortunately, there is no way to cross the river there and complete the loop.
Signposts, waymarks and information boards should direct the walker along the route. In countryside locations they consist mostly of a simple white disc, mounted on wooden posts and containing a directional arrow with the flying kestrel logo in blue and text in green. However, local authorities are responsible for funding these signs, and so the quality varies from borough to borough, with some sections not being signed at all. The 54-mile southern Blue section from Erith to Kingston is maintained by the Downlands Countryside Management Project , a joint initiative by several councils, and is complete with signs and information boards, in addition to maps available from Tourist Information Centres.
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