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Bristol Greenground Map – connecting parks and open spaces in and around Bristol

Bristol map is the third map of the Greenground Map series and connects the parks and open spaces to inspire walks (and bike rides) inside and further out in the city. With 10 inspiring green lines and around 250 green spaces to explore, the map does not only include the inner Bristol, but expands to other areas such as coastal town Portishead as well as links to surrounding countryside; also including the Bristol and Bath railway Path – a walking and cycling path to neighbouring city Bath.

Bristol’s most famous and recognisable landmark is River Avon, which also becomes the first line on the map. River Avon Trail is also the most easiest line to navigate, running from Avonmouth to Bath. I’ve included two more river lines – Frome and Hazel Trym that offer nice walks along the riverbank, if not all the way then at least on some sections on the line. The Woody Line in the West of Bristol covers the leafiest area – Leigh Woods and Ashton Court as well as some of the nature preserves further away.

As Bristol is very creative city and the street art has become a very important scene over the past years I also included a Street Art line which includes some more nature inspired works. The Upfest festival location on North Street is one of the main areas to see murals such as One Love Coral Reef by Louis Masai or Cheeky Seagull near the Greville Smyth Park. Park murals also include Ollie Gillard’s nature murals in the Redcatch Park, a new St George Park mural and Eurasian Lynx by ATM near King’s Square.

Working on this map was an opportunity to take a walk down to memory lane, as I walked and cycled all over and up & down Bristol during my MA. I remember long walks to Bower Ashton from Bedminster on weekends and crossing the misty Avon on the bike on my way to work in the mornings. Although I know few of the routes covered on this map, there are many more I haven’t walked on and making this map has been truly mind expanding. I hope you enjoy using this map as much as I did making it!

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The first Edinburgh Greenground Map

It’s been a while since my last post and I thought it’s about time I created something new! As the London Greenground Map has turned out to be my most successful project so far with 46,000 downloads and 500 paper maps sold up to now, I have decided to keep creating these schematic walking maps, which people like and I love making. So the next map in the Greenground series is another green capital – Edinburgh! 🏰⛰️

Edinburgh is much more compact than London and this map aims to connect most Edinburgh parks and open spaces and some further afield. I have not included Queensferry as I wanted to keep the diamond shape of the map, but I am open to all suggestions & comments to make this map spread wider in future versions. Right now it covers around 220 Edinburgh open spaces and has 9 creative green and blue lines.

Those who follow me on Twitter know I base my maps on Google Maps, which is great tool to work with, but is not always accurately showing all the green spaces. For Edinburgh map I also used Parks and Gardens list of Edinburgh Council to find smaller parks. Some of these parks do not come up on Google maps and can be located using this directory. The Muir line is based on John Muir Way and more detailed maps can be seen on their website.

Edinburgh is a very walkable city and also in a walking distance from the countryside. To show this I extended the lines to south up to Pentland Hills Regional Park, that’s only 6 miles away from the centre or 8 miles via scenic Water of Leith walking path. However walking and cycling from Edinburgh can be challenging due the bypass that divides Edinburgh & the great outdoors as well as numerous golf clubs that are green, but closed off from public.

The Edinburgh map is in chillier tones than London map, reflecting the cool northern vibe. I’ve only visited Edinburgh during low light autumn/winter season and I think it’s a beautiful quiet time of year to walk in the parks & by the seaside and follow the river paths on the bike. As we are heading to this season now I hope the map helps Edinburgh locals to get out and discover new green spaces during this winter. 🚶‍♀️🚴

For closer look see the PDF
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How a Greenground navigation could look like II

If the idea of continuous pavement line network across London seems too out there, then another option could be more traditional wayfinding system with sign-posts in the centre or at the entrances of the green space. As the core idea of the Greenground is to travel through and between the parks, then maybe in the centre rather than at each entrance. Also, I measure the distance between the parks from approximate centre point of the park. As some of the parks are huge and the Greenground diagram shows circles I think this is the only way to do this if the walkers and cyclers aim to travel from park to park.

Royal Line signpost in Kensington Park

However the ‘park pole’ should still be on a used path, not for example in the field or woods. It should have a park name, on which ‘line’ this park is and which are the closest parks on the line. It could also have the time it takes to walk or cycle to the next green space and what outdoor activities the park has. This solution is not as easy to navigate than the robust pavement lines, but it is more discreet and would still help people to discover their parks. Even if you are not familiar with the Greenground concept, seeing one of those green poles makes you take notice of the parks nearby. Technically these signs would also work without the ‘line’ attached just as a guide for nearby parks.

Grand Regent/ North Line signpost next to Victoria Park

The park pole could also be at the edge of the park if it’s on a quiet way by the river or canal, where lot of people would pass. I think there is no particular rule either than being somewhere central, where it is seen. For example Victoria park runs along the Regent Canal, but its true centre is quite far – if you walk by the canal, you wouldn’t come across the pole. It’s also possible the park is connected with several ‘lines’. Victoria park on the Greenground map is on Regent Line, but is also nearby to other significant North London parks ‘connected’ via North Line. The alternative could be Victoria park having two park poles for each line.

Royal/South Line signpost in Richmond Park

In more ‘rural’ settings the park pole could be made of wood instead of metal and stand on main path or on a crossroad somewhere close to the centre point, where people could rest and decide which path to take next. In a way it is like a ‘station’, where you can plan your next part of the journey, check the distance/time to next stop and maybe change lines if you wish to. You can also ‘get off’ from the line, explore the park and continue the journey later. The sign in this setting might look intrusive, but at the same time it is clearly visible for everyone.

City Line signpost in Festival Gardens

To sum up the whole idea of ‘park pole’ approach is to find a central place that becomes a station for slow commuters. It can be either in the geographical centre or near a resting area in the green space. This more traditional wayfinding system points from park to park, however it’s up to commuter to find the exact way. I think this approach would work in certain areas, but may be more challenging to establish in rural settings, where is more concern for keeping the integrity of the landscape and in city centre parks where the space is limited.

Would this work? Would be great to hear, what you guys think in Twitter!

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Green ways for all

London is one of the greenest cities in the world and not only because of its traditional parks and green spaces, but also for some magnificent greenways. The canals and rivers are long linear parks often aligned with trees and greenery for walkers and cyclers to enjoy. The abandoned railway lines such as Parkland Walk is another way to convert a linear space to a park.

The green ways often connect bigger parks and provide safe and quiet routes from one green space to another. If all the parks were connected by greenways, cycling and walking would be much more enjoyable and tranquil experience. These paths can get busy too, especially on weekends, but they are still much better option than walking or cycling next to traffic lanes.

The benefits of linear green walking spaces was obvious already in 1970s when four east London boroughs came together and created a Green Chain that is a system of 300 linked parks. This protected the parks from development and provided 50 miles (80 km) of green walking routes. Thanks to their insight this part of London is still particularly green.

As someone who always takes a green way when she can, Green chain is one walk that is definitely on my bucket list! 🌳🔗🌳🔗🌳

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London Greenground map with distances

The newest of London Greenground maps has more fluid lines, especially for Thames line that now follows the river more naturally, includes 100 more parks with 400 parks and open spaces total and as a new feature shows the walking distances between parks. I have also began to locate the green ways that are long linear parks usually by the waterway or railway tracks and sketched in some new suggestions for creative walking loops. 🚶‍♀️♾️

This diametrical map does not show the exact routes, but rather acts as a starting point in planning more precise journeys. The distance line lengths between parks and open spaces vary as the walking routes are not always straightforward and at times can be quite winding. This is why a mile on a map is represented with considerable difference. However I hope the map gives a larger scope for someone planning a green route in Greater London.

In most cases the distances are calculated from park centre to park centre and sometimes, especially with large parks, the walking distance between differs. For example Kensington and Hyde Park are next to each other and could be crossed over in minutes, but walking from centre to centre is a mile long route and takes considerably more time. As no one would be walking only to the edge of the park I thought centre distances would make more sense.

The loops and lines that make up the map are suggestions rather than fixed routes and the main intention of the map is to show London as one connected green network and encourage active movement between parks and along the waterways. Currently not all the London roads are quiet or safe because of traffic, but hopefully this will change soon when more people are becoming interested in active travel. 🚶‍♀️🚴‍♂️

For closer exploration see the PDF
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Green Bus Stop Map

Green spaces and bus stops in Greater London

This minimal map shows only parks and green spaces as point of interest as well as all the bus stops in Greater London. You can either search for a park and see which bus stops are closest or alternatively, if you know the bus stop you’re going to, you can look out for green spaces nearby. For example you can enter Brockwell Park in the search box and have a bird-eye view of all the nearby stops.

Some parks only have one or two bus stops nearby, but most bigger parks have several stops to choose from. For example Alexandra Park does not have just one Alexandra Park stop, you can go to Garden Centre, Palm Court, Ice Rink or Alexandra Palace Park.

Bus stops in Alexandra Palace Park

Battersea Park similarly has more than one station as entry point to the park. For example, if you are planning a walk by the Thames starting from Battersea Park/Chelsea Gate and finishing in Albert Bridge stop across the river might be the best route for you.

Bus stops near Battersea Park

Of course Google Maps is more practical for journey planning, but the aim of this map is to give uncluttered overview and a start-point for exploration. Especially if you are someone who likes to spend time in green spaces and also really happens to like bus stops.

Explore: Green Bus Stop Map in Mapbox

Dataset from London Datastore (TfL Bus Stop Locations and Routes bus-stops-10-06-15.csv)

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Advent park explorer calendar

Tomorrow is the first advent and I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the start of December with an advent calendar of parks and green spaces for a walking enthusiast. The calendar has a selection of 24 parks to go for each day up to Christmas and one special treat for Christmas Day. I hope it inspires to revisit few old favourites and perhaps discover some new green spaces and sights this holiday season! 💫

The map based calendar starts from North West and works its way through London, finishing in South East. There’s one park, farm or sight to go on each day of the month and although it is unlikely you’ll visit them all, I hope the calendar gives inspiration to embark at least on few adventures. For example Morden Hall Park or Beckenham Palace in South are both great to visit on the season as well as woods, city farms and wetlands of North.

Some of these parks run Christmas activities such as fairs and ice skating, craft workshops and light walks. Kew Garden has a renowned light walk. Check out before to see what’s on or just go with the flow.. there’s plenty going on. Others are quiet places where you can walk around, enjoy fresh air and look out for wildlife. Wherever you visit I’m sure you have a different experience on each day. You could even brave it and have a winter swim!

And of course.. when you’re finished exploring don’t forget to give some special love to your favourite local park 🙂 💚