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Edinburgh Green Walk II – Meadows to Grassmarket

This is the second walk of my Edinburgh green walk series and covers around 5 miles of parks as well as some Edinburgh highlights. You could easily spend a full day on this walk, if you want to visit all the sights, but I would recommend at least half a day. Climbing up to Arthur’s Seat takes some time (unless you are very fit!) and I’d plan at least an hour for National Gallery. 

Start this walk with a cup of coffee and a Swedish pastry at Söderberg Coffee Shop by The Meadows. Sainsbury’s next to the cafe is a good place to stock up, if you want to bring some snacks/ picnic lunch for your walk. Continue into the park and walk through it diagonally, turning left at the entrance.

Pass the Summer Hall and turn onto E Preston Street. Near the Lloyds Bank building turn  to Holyrood Park road and enter the Holyrood Park. There’s an information stand near the entrance with paths to Arthur’s Seat. Choose the one you prefer, I recommend middle path for its quiet and great views over valley.

Walk along the path until you meet people coming up from the other side. It gets busier here when you come to main stream, turn right and continue along The Dasses path until it splits. You can now join the crowds and climb up to Arthur’s Seat or continue little longer and have a quiet picnic by yourself.

When you finish admiring the views continue along the path towards Dunsapie Loch. You can see the lake from anywhere and it’s a nice gentle stroll down. If you do feel you need to catch your breath, there’s a bench by the loch you can rest and swan spot. Otherwise turn left and continue along Queen’s Drive.

Where Queen’s Drive splits keep left. There’s another nice viewing spot by the St Margaret’s Loch and more swans. You can also see the ruins of Saint Anthony’s Chapel from here if you look up the hillside. Continue until you reach the roundabout and turn right, passing Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Take the Canongate Street to city centre that has few sights on the way such as Canongate Kirk yard and Museum of Edinburgh. Turn right at Jeffrey Street and keep going until you reach to Scottish National Gallery. There’s a cafe in the gallery or Costa on Princes street with good views over castle.

The highlights in the gallery include known artworks such as The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch and The Monarch of the Glen, but there’s much more to explore including art by Scottish painters. If you have a backpack leave it in the locker or carry it in your hand when you walk.

Finished at the gallery walk up The Mound and turn left up the hill until you reach to Royal Mile. Cross the Lawnmarket and the next house on your left is  National Library of Scotland. It has interesting staircase and a shop if you have time to peek in. It also holds exhibitions and has a small cafe.

When you exit the library go back a little bit the way you came from and turn left to Victoria street leading to Haymarket. Half way down the street you find a The Bow Bar, go in for authentic pub experience. You can rest off your walk, have a drink from wide selection of spirits and take in the quirky interior.

 

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Edinburgh green walk – Waverley to Calton Hill

This is a great walk if you want to get to know the Edinburgh highlights, but also have some down-time away from the crowds. I’d recommend this walk either in the morning or afternoon. With fast pace this walk could be done in less than two hours, but if you want to really enjoy it, allow at least 2 and half hours or even better – half a day.

Start from Waverley Cafe stand, which is a cute coffee box near Waverley station. Bring your own reusable cup for take-away coffee to warm up your walk (especially in winter). Take the News Steps up to Old Town and enjoy the views over Edinburgh New Town.

Turn to St Giles’ Street up to Lawnmarket and walk along the Royal Mile until the Edinburgh Castle. If you have enough time and sterlings to spare, visit the castle, otherwise turn left and take the Patrick Geddes Steps down to Grassmarket Square.

There are few benches you can sit on, if you feel tired of climbing up and down the stairs. When you have had enough rest and people watching, continue the walk towards Castle Terrace. There’s an entry to Princes Street Garden behind the car park. 

Walk through the gardens taking in the views of the castle. There’s plenty more seating if you want to chill out for a while. Gross the road beside The Royal Scottish Academy and you are in East side of Princes Street Gardens with great views and Scott Monument.

Turn to busy Princes Street and continue walking until you reach Calton Hill. Take the steps up and walk around the Observatory for great views all around. When you finish exploring take the Regent Walk back down (you can also reverse the steps and walk).

Walk to The Conan Doyle for after walk rest and pub food. It’s a chain pub named after famous novelist, but quite nice to finish the walk. Note there are construction works happening in the area and continue to find somewhere quieter if you like.

 

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Tree Types of The World map

World map of tree types is crafted from data of more than 60 000 species recorded in the Botanic Gardens Conservation International database of all known tree spaces. The database is fluid and evolves as new information is recorded. I accessed the information on 22/09/2019 and although an attempt is made to include all the species on the graphic, some were excluded to achieve the aesthetic effect.

Working with more than 60 000 entries on the graphic has its own challenges that first involved cleaning up the data and converting it into importable text. Once I had the whopping 260 pages thread text file I placed it into graphics software on top of the contour of the world map and formatted as best as I could.. which was a slow going.

With font size of 12 pt a printed out version of this densely knitted type map would be legible covering about 3 metres by 2,5 metres wall…… Luckily the magic of digital version allows to zoom in the data to look for single entries! 💫

See the Tree Types of The World Map PDF (zoom in to see the data)

BGCI. 2019. GlobalTreeSearch online database.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Richmond, UK.
Available at http://www.bgci.org/globaltree_search.php
Accessed on (22/09/2019).

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Leafy Southwark Walking Map

Southwark district is not the greenest of the neighbourhoods, but it is very walkable and riverside adds a lot to the area. When I lived in the area I used to walk to Borough Market on Saturdays along the riverbank. This was my weekend treat and making this map has a been another stroll down the memory lane.

I base this map on the previous design so I don’t need to make the full sketch again. Instead I start with planning my route and as I know the area well this part of the process is like ‘a walk in the park’!

Working on this this map is not as phased as previous one -I work simultaneously on all layers, roughly sketching in the map. By the end of the day I have solid base map with some landmarks.

Next morning I’m filling in the rest of the map – finishing the grid, adding street names and adjusting the trail. I’m also adding some street trees by the river to make it ‘leafier’.

And it’s finished! Hope some of you will enjoy this walk as much as I enjoyed making it. 🤞🍃

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Green Clerkenwell Walking Map

Since it’s been a while I made a proper walking map I felt it was about a time to get back into map making! I chose Clerkenwell as it used to be inside my lunch radius and I spent many happy hours exploring the area over my lunch breaks. Some of the breaks got longer than intended, but I like to think I made it up by staying late.. on most days. 😉

I am starting the map with a research on internet and making a rough area sketch with some landmarks on my sketch pad. This is a nice task and I’m really enjoying it, spending most of my morning doing this. The area hasn’t changed a lot, but I want to make sure I’m including everything important and my map is up to date.

It’s Saturday so I’m going for a little walk after lunch to a book festival near local park. It’s quite nice and I’m inspired to tackle my next task after I return. I open the Google Maps and roughly sketch out the walking path. It doesn’t have to be accurate at this point as I can always adjust it later.

I continue on Monday. My research done I now need to digitalise the map. After a late start (I’m out of coffee so I need to refuel!) I spend the noon tracing in the base map. I work from Google Maps screenshot and first trace in the green spaces and main streets, then smaller streets. I’m also deciding the colours for the map.

I continue filling in my map on afternoon and it’s going well for couple of hours. I add the walking path and some street names on my base map. I also start adding the landmarks, working on Google maps simultaneously. I decide to expand my path further north and need to work out the extension. At this point I’m also adding the title and it really starts to look like a proper map!

I take a coffee break at four and keep working, adding some icons. At around 8 I compare the map with the earlier version and don’t think it’s going on right direction.. It feels too heavy, so I’m reverting back to 4 o’clock version. I want to keep the map light and airy and to save the day I’m adding lines under landmarks instead. At this point I also decide to add a legend and make the title more prominent. I’m finishing around midnight. 🌙

Next morning I am finalising the map. I’m deciding to add more street names as my map should be actually walkable, not only an illustration. I’m also adjusting the trail and making little fixes here and there.. Finally I’m adding some texture to ‘age’ the map and it’s done! And here’s the final version of the Green Clerkenwell Walking Map.

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London Street Trees type map

This typographic map shows the street trees in greater London. As Google didn’t give lot of information about the main tree species in all 32 (+city) boroughs I had to dig a little deeper and luckily found an incredible 700 000 list of street trees in London Tree Map website. None of my own tools was able to open the giant file, so I downloaded Tableau Public to check out, if there is a way to analyse this tree data. 🌳

I haven’t used Tableau before and turned out it was easier that I expected. It loaded amazingly quickly (considering the size of the file) and felt really intuitive to use. After setting couple of parameters I ended up with a funky table showing me the number of trees by species in boroughs. It even highlighted the values by colour which made it easier to follow. Magic! 💫

My next step was to sketch out the map based on data. Unfortunately the information for 7 boroughs are missing from the list, but I was still able to fill out most of the map. As the information is 4-5 years old, there might be some new developments, which I might be able to fill in later. Hoping to get some valuable information from experts on Twitter. 🤞

The pre-work done I found an open vector base map of greater London, which I modified slightly, and started to fill in the map digitally. This was straightforward but time consuming task and took me most of the second day to fill out the whole map. I decided to go with primary green colour to keep it clean and fresh. 🍃

After letting the map settle for a night I returned to it in the morning with fresh eyes to make some final fixes and adjustments. 👀

And here it is – the type map of London Street Trees by each borough.

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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

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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!

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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! 🤞

 

Greenground Map v3

Larger version: Greenground Map v3 PDF

Inspired by National Park City

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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.🤞

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 TiCL.me 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. 🌱

 

Greenground Map v2

Greenground Map v2 PDF