The London Countryway

A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick

Cricketers at play, West Wycombe

Cricketers at play, West Wycombe


In A Walker’s Alphabet I noted that many of our long-distance routes exist only because there is a guidebook describing them – for there may be no continuous footpath at all and very little waymarking on the ground itself. In addition, I expressed grave doubts about the future of such routes – should the guidebook in question ever fall out of print. Such, I’m afraid, may be the fate of the London Countryway. Devised in the Seventies, it was perhaps the first of the orbital paths surrounding the nation’s capital, the most remote from the center of the metropolis and the lengthiest – when we walked it between 1984 and 1988 we completed 215 miles in twenty-two stages.

The route owed its existence to the Constable guidebook by Keith Chesterton – but the second (and most recent) edition (1981) seems to be out of print now – though used copies are still listed on the Amazon website. All of this is a very great shame – for this is a splendid enterprise and one that should still offer days of pleasurable recreation for city dwellers. It might be possible to recreate your own version – utilizing the notes I have recorded for each of the stages and the latest OS maps. The LDWA lists the relevant Explorer sheets as 145, 146, 147, 160, 163, 172, 174, 175, 181 and 182.

You will need to improvise just a bit ­– but then we had to do this when we were following Chesterton’s text as well. Let me know how you get on by using the Contact Page.  Incidentally, A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain is in print and can be obtained directly from the publisher at or or from any of the other online booksellers – including Amazon.

Day 1: Westhumble to Horsley – 10 miles

Day 2: Horsley to West Byfleet – 9 miles

Day 3: West Byfleet to Sunningdale – 9 miles

Day 4: Sunningdale to Windsor – 9 miles

Day 5: Windsor to Marlow – 13 miles

Day 6: Marlow to West Wycombe – 8 miles

Day 7: West Wycombe to Great Missenden – 10 miles

Day 8: Great Missenden to Berkhamsted  – 9 miles

Day 9: Ashley Green to Kings Langley – 8.5 miles

Day 10: Kings Langley to St. Albans – 7.5 miles

Day 11: St. Albans to Brookmans Park ­– 12 miles

Day 12: Brookmans Park to Broxbourne – 12 miles

Day 13: Broxbourne to Theydon Bois – 11 miles

Day 14: Theydon Bois to Brentwood ­– 13 miles

Day 15: Brentwood to West Horndon – 6 miles

Day 16: West Horndon to East Tilbury – 9 miles

Day 17: East Tilbury to Sole Street – 10 miles

Day 18: Sole Street to Borough Green – 10 miles

Day 19: Borough Green to Knole House – 8 miles

Day 20: River Hill to Hurst Green – 13 miles

Day 21: Hurst Green to Merstham – 9 miles

Day 22: Merstham to Westhumble – 9 miles