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Ramblers in London get up to lots of activities. Check out the individual groups' sites to see what they are up to.

You can see some of what we're up to on Twitter on the side of this page and the articles, below give a bit more detail about what's been going on or is planned in Inner London Area.

Inner London Area Ramblers has backed the feasibility study into The Peckham Coal Line, a proposed elevated urban park built on disused railway coal sidings to form a natural, physical and social link between two high streets.  

The 900m-long route will run on disused coal sidings alongside the railway line through the heart of Peckham. It will complement the urban setting and frame views across London, passing through beautiful Victorian brick viaducts before dropping down to a little-used nature reserve.  It will bridge the gap in a wider network of cycling and walking greenways between Brixton and the Thames.

The Coal Line will transform walking and cycling connections around Peckham, changing the lives of residents and businesses by bridging busy roads and creating a more direct link between two high streets.

Now that funding is secured for the feasibility study, the brief will be drawn up and will go out to tender. The team behind the project hopes to have something to share by next spring.
 
In the meantime, they are hosting some events with schools, colleges and the public to feed into the feasibility study.

We are planning to include the site of the project in some upcoming walks in 2016.

Find out more about the project here.

 Coal Line

 

 

 

On the 15th of July 2015, one of the Inner London Ramblers members who sits on the national Board of Trustees, Moira Fraser, and the Ramblers' Chief Executive, Benedict Southworth, appeared on Radio 4's Today programme to talk about the Big Pathwatch.

Click here to hear what they said:

It's taken 13 years but there is, literally, now light at both ends of the Brydges Place tunnel.

This long-running saga started when in 2002 a local businessman was alarmed to see work to gate (or in this case door) the north/south spur of Brydges Place.

Reputedly the narrowest footpath in London (15 inches at its narrowest point) Brydges Place near Charing Cross runs between Bedfordbury and St Martins Lane and down to Chandos Place. In 2000, a local resident living next to the path obtained planning permission from Westminster City Council to `door' the passageway to Chandos Place, claimed it as private property, and started using it as a parking garage.

This narrow public right of way runs east/west between Chandos Place and St Martins Lane adjacent to the London Coliseum, just up from Charing Cross. It's been in existence, under various names, since early in the 19th century, and whilst it had not necessarily been the most attractive short cut it did serve a number of homes and businesses, as well as an emergency exit route for the Coliseum.

Westminster City Council policy is generally against gating, and previous applications to door this passageway had been refused on the grounds that it was part of the highway and public right of way.

Brydges Place signageHow this application was granted is unclear, but it soon became obvious when Dominc Pinto, one of Inner London Ramblers' campaigners, first got involved in the spring of 2009 that there were some singular features.  Key papers, including the details of previous applications were missing.  Dominic was able to supply copies of those from the local community association files.  That, together with searches of the St Martins Vestry minute book in the archives, backing from the community association, and advice from the Open Spaces Society, got his work on the way. The collection and submission of local residents statements as to the open nature of the alley and passageway, and uninterrupted use going back to at least the 1950s, and the City Council's own highways department also asserting the passageway as highway going back at least 60 years, were all material in getting the matter looked at in detail.

With local councillors involved, and endorsement by the Inner London Area Council to pursue the campaign, Dominic and the local businessman kept the pressure up, working in parallel and co-operation. This culminated, eventually, in a lengthy meeting with the cabinet member and lawyers, and a further review.  Finally, in 2013, the City Council decided to assert that Brydges Place was public highway and gave notice that unless the obstructing doors were removed by the property owner they would take action to remove them.  Early in 2014 the doors came down.

We then pressed for street name signage, that had existed prior to 2002, should be restored, and the private property signs removed. It has taken a further almost 18 months and in June those signs went up.

The proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges was initially supposed to be a pleasant park and additional way of crossing the river, paid for from private funds.

In spite of the on-going public sector austerity that continues to reduce funding for existing parks and public spaces and prevents the development of new pedestrian and cycling bridges where they are actually needed for Londoners, such as between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, more than £60MM has been promised by TfL and the Treasury.  In spite of this level of taxpayer support, the bridge will be a private space, closed at night and for at least eight weekends a year.

Further, the bridge and, particularly, its access points, will narrow an already crowded part of the Thames Path National Trail and will block the existing views of St Pauls and the City that open up as walkers emerge from under Waterloo Bridge (image from Thames Central Open Spaces).

Downstream view from the South Bank 

As the Observer editorial (24th May 2015) says "It requires much trust to think that the proposed Thames garden bridge will be an asset for Britain. You have to believe that within a confined area it can simultaneously be a haven of peace, useful transport infrastructure and an attraction with more visitors than Disneyland, that it will not push the overcrowding on London’s South Bank, already bad, beyond endurance and safety, and that the failure to provide lavatories will have no unfortunate consequences."

As reported in this further Observer article, the Ramblers in Inner London oppose the building of bridge.  We support Thames Central Open Spaces in their campaign to prevent it.  For more details, check out their web site at www.tcos.org.uk.

Find out how to stop the bridge at our campaign page.

"David Sharp—designer, illustrator, writer, campaigner, organiser, walker, vice-president of the Ramblers and much else—has died aged 89.  He was a great man in many respects—and all the greater for his self-effacing modesty." - Kate Ashbrook, President of the Ramblers.

Amongst a great many other things, David Sharp designed and wrote the first and the official guides to the Thames Path - the national trail that runs through our city and includes, according to the Lonely Planet, the second greatest city hike in the world.  Not many people can leave a mark on our city like that.

Read Kate Ashbrook's fuller appreciation of him here.

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South East Walker newspaper is produced quarterly by a small team of volunteers.  It's distributed to Ramblers members across the South East with the glossy Walk magazine and contains more local news and updates about what volunteers and groups are doing across the region.