Greenground Map in Forbes article of London National Park City

Forbes article of What Is London’s National City Park Status And Which Other Cities Will Follow? is a story of London’s journey of becoming a National Park City and the people and ideas behind it. I was very happy to see it also features the Greenground map alongside the Urban Good‘s official National Park City map.

The author, Alex Ledsom, covers the Greenground Map’s concept later in the article.

A key part of the campaign has been to restyle London as a green city in the maps its residents and tourists use every day. The Greenground Map by Helen Ilus follows the layout of the iconic London tube map but it links green spaces instead of transport hubs. It is hoped it will encourage sustainable and healthy commutes around London by linking its green spaces, paths and cycle routes. The map also includes kayaking routes and birdwatching spots. 


I love Alex’s quote of restyling London as a green city through maps. This shows sometimes we do not need a lot to make a change – we just need new eyes to see things differently!

The Greenground Map on National Park City website

Last week saw London becoming National Park City with various events taking place around London, including opening ceremony in London City Hall as well as the launch of National Park City ‘Maker’, 64 pages paper the guys at National Park City have worked very hard for last months. The Greenground map gets a mention on the online post as supplement idea to enjoy!

Furthermore the Greenground Map is now displayed on National Park City website alongside with the amazing Urban Good’s National Park City Map and Kabir Kaul’s Nature Reserves of London. The post includes short description of the project and some ideas for further development. I especially like the ‘Explore’ button on homepage.. this is what this experimental map is all about 🙂

Read about Greenground map on London National Park City website

Visit National Parks posters

These three new vintage style posters are inspired by travel advertisements that were used to promote travelling to British countryside in early 20th century, when the train travel for many was nearly the only option to have access to great outdoors. Although the times have changed and travellers may prefer to explore the countryside on a car, taking the train is still one of the most sustainable and comfortable way of travel, as well as sometimes even a more scenic option.

The fictional art posters invite to visit Britain’s fifteen national parks by train and include a stylised map of train stations that are access points to the national parks. The 38 stations can be travelled from towns and cities or even act as connections between parks. Why not to travel the Tenby to Taunton coastline or take a train from beautiful Windermere to Ribblehead Viaduct? The golden age of railways may have passed, but the the new age of train travel is now!

London nature walking week – in photos

Location: London National Park City*  (London becomes NPC in July 2019)
Travel Dates: 18.06 – 25.06
Walking distance: ~120 km/75 miles

Looking back to this week in London I covered around 120 km of streets and paths (140 km according to my walking app and 100 km according Google maps). Overall I visited approximately 36 parks and green spaces, walked by Thames and Regent’s Canal, passed many green squares and gardens and saw large variety of nature and wildlife.

This week helped me to really appreciate the variety of London’s green spaces and accessibility to outdoors and wildlife as well as understand the challenges of nature walking in city environment. It also provided valuable research for my walking maps.

I also met many interesting and creative people…. thank you all for inspiration!

Day 1 – Central London/Thames Path (North Bank) (21 km)

AM/noon – Brompton Cemetery and Barbican Estate
PM – From Charterhouse Square to Somerset House

Starting from Charterhouse Square, now open for public

Found a green rounded garden with seating next to Museum of London

Looking at lush foliage in Postman’s Park, quiet green space near Barbican

Walking through St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard Garden greenery

It’s getting really wet now, so I’m hiding under the umbrella

Peeking into Middle Temple Gardens, not open for public (at least not from Thames side)

Day 2 – Central London/South Bank (20 km)

AM – Kensington/Hammersmith
PM – From Waterloo to Barbican

One of the many private garden squares in Kensington

Walkway in railway tunnel at Waterloo, South Bank

Day 3 – North London (32 km)

From Golders Hill Park to Canary Wharf

At the start of the walk by gates of Golders Hill Park

Passing the Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath 

The impressive sign in Highgate Wood gates

Entering to Queen’s Wood Nature Reserve

Walking along Parkland Walk that runs along a railway line

From here I left the path and continued in Hackney Downs

Impressive London Plane trees in Hackney Downs Park

Passing beautiful wildflower meadow in London Fields Park

Spotting this beautiful brick building covered with foliage on Regent’s Canal

Taking a detour from the canal via Victoria Park

Back on Regent’s Canal path and surrounded by greenery

Modern landscaping of Mile End Park, running along the canal

Finally arriving to Limehouse Basin.. tired, but happy!

Colourful boats mooring at Limehouse Basin

Quirky seagull statue on Ropemakers Field

Turning to Thames Path for a ferry back to Central London from Canary Wharf.. It’s been a great day!

Day 4 – Central/Royal London (21 km)

From Victoria Tower Gardens to Primrose Hill

Starting the walk today with coffee and green view in Victoria Tower Gardens

Found a quiet space in Jewel Tower gardens in Westminster

Spotting marching pelicans in St James’s Park

Walking path just for myself in Green Park.. look at the crowds on the left!

Lovely and tranquil Queen’s Meadow in Green Park.. next to busy junction

The Italian Gardens Cafe with living roof, taken over by nature

Henry Moore’s nature inspired Arch in Kensington Gardens 

Arrived in Regent’s Park wilder area

Regent’s Park’s wildlife garden with useful tips for gardeners

Passing wildflower meadow in Regent’s Park

Crossing the bridge over Regent’s Canal next to London Zoo

After a short climb the view over London from Primrose Hill. This is the end of my walk!

Day 5 – South London (27 km)

From Wandsworth Park to Bushy Park

Starting the walk from Wandsworth Park by Thames

Walking through the nature on Putney Heath

Spotting a windmill on Wimbledon and Putney Commons

Arriving to Richmond Park… hooray!

Fallen trees in Richmond Park providing shelter for Stag Beetles and rest for walkers

Half the distance done and feeling great!

Winding trail ahead in Richmond Park

Richmond Hill/Terrace Field with stunning views over Thames towards Surrey

Back on the Thames Path for the next 10 km

After a while passing the Teddington Lock

Approaching Kingston Bridge in the distance

Passing quiet Canbury Gardens, it’s late on Sunday evening

Made it to Kingston Bridge..

.. and looking exhausted. 5 km to go!

Finally in Bushy Park at Hampton Wick Gate!

In leafy and quiet Bushy Park and breathing in the freshest air in London

Meeting the herd of deer in Bushy Park.. a perfect end of the day!

Day 6 – Central London/South Bank (15 km)

From Tower Bridge to Waterloo

100 km behind me and on one of my favourite Thames walk

Tranquil wilderness spot in Potters Fields Park

Detour through Borough Market

Crossing Waterloo Bridge with green views over South Bank. The walk is done and my week in London is finished.. until next time!

Conclusion: My walking week in London proves London is great destination for walkers, who appreciate the variety and culture of the city, but still want to see nature close by. London has many species of wildlife and provides unique environment for wildlife spotting. However navigating in urban environment can be stressful at times and the routes are not always straightforward. Large parks have plenty of space to enjoy nature, but the main paths are often crowded and traffic can be heard nearly everywhere. I loved to see few smaller squares and parks in city centre opening up for public in recent years. I sometimes felt unwelcomed outside city centre, yet again few people stopped to help me. Some paths lacked facilities such as fresh drinking water or toilets. If not to account these few issues, London’s urban forrest is very special city environment and I hope more people will choose London as nature walking destination.

Next: I would explore certain area, instead of taking linear path. London has lot of cultural variety and North feels completely different than South or Docklands. I would love to take time discovering different areas in depth as each area is unique.

Expanded London Greenground Map

Unofficial London Greenground Map is expanded Park Connection Map covering more green and blue ground across Greater London. The focus of the experimental map is to connect parks and open spaces into one walkable and cyclable network. This is an independent creative project that started from an idea to propose an accessible map that would help navigating London via parks and waterways.

The third version of the map has two more river lines – Crane and Wandle, connecting parks along the river banks. The long distant LOOP line is based on a real TFL London LOOP walking trail, a 150 mile (242 km) circular walk around London that includes many open spaces and in some sections runs along the rivers and canals. I have also added bird watching places and viewpoints.

As the map grows the legibility also grows more complicated. The new map has around 300 parks and open spaces that is 10% of the 3000 parks and green spaces of London.  It is now obvious it’s not practical (or even possible) to include all green spaces to one legible map, but the further development could see one large map with main open spaces and smaller area maps with local park connections.

My map also does not take account specific street conditions and may not suggest the best walking or cycling routes. The map does not suggest specific streets as it assumes every park or open space does have a reasonably walkable street to the park next to it. Some of the paths are recognised trails, but part of the fun  for me was also to suggest made up lines, that does not currently exist.

The main goal of the Greenground map is to look at London from the different point of view,  inspiring Londoners to see connections between parks and making up their own walks and cycle loops for recreation and commute. London is a green city and walking from park to park or by the river or canal path could be the best part of everyone’s day.

I very much hope this map could become reality in London transport system one day!Â đŸ€ž


Greenground Map v3

Larger version: Greenground Map v3 PDF

Inspired by National Park City


Park Connection Map second version

As the first Park Connection Map received lot of positive feedback and many wonderful suggestions to include more parks, I designed the second map with 80 additional open spaces and three new lines. I would have liked to fit in even more suggestions, but as you can see below, the map is getting quite busy! Maybe next version will cover even more green ground.đŸ€ž

For those who did not see the first version, this is a creative park connection map connecting parks, open spaces and waterways. The idea of the map is to create a green ground network that can be cycled or walked, based on the idea of classic London Tube Map. The aim of this map is to inspire people to spend more time overground and on healthier green infrastructure. 🍃

The six original ‘lines’ connect Royal parks and City parks, link open spaces in North and South London and follow Thames and Regent’s Canal. The three new lines run along Lea and Brent river and create a BeeLine. Suggested by map makers, BeeLine is a corridor of safe havens for pollinating insects linking London’s green spaces and gardens. 🐝

As a seedling of an idea the Park Connection Map gets watered by the inspiring ideas of National Park City and its aim of making London greener, healthier and wilder, with contributing suggestions from outdoor lovers and green organisations. đŸŒ±


Greenground Map v2

Greenground Map v2 PDF