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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Capital Ring: Introduction

After enjoying the excellent London Loop, I wondered how the Capital Ring would compare. While the London Loop encircles the city at a fair distance, sticking to zone 6 and the green belt, the Capital Ring is much more urban, winding around the capital via zones 2, 3 and 4. The Ring doesn't pretend to be anything other than an urban walk that joins up London's many green spaces, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Loop is surprising because it's so green; the Ring is fascinating because it winds through parts of London that you wouldn't otherwise visit. For Londoners, the Ring is possibly more interesting than the Loop, even though its walking isn't as traditionally appealing as its big brother's longer days through the green belt.

As with the Loop, the Ring has been brilliantly planned. Each section begins and ends at public transport, and because it's much closer in than the Loop, it's a lot easier to get onto the Ring; indeed, most suburban Londoners have probably spotted a Capital Ring sign while wandering around their home patch, which makes it even more satisfying to join up all these different suburbs by foot. Meanwhile, for non-Londoners, the Ring provides an introduction to the real capital, away from the bright lights of the West End and the affluence of the City.

That said, the Ring is an urban walk, and if you don't like your long-distance paths to be busy, populated and built-up, you're better off avoiding both the Loop and the Ring and sticking to the countryside. However, if you're like me and find urban walking strangely compelling, the Ring is another great London walk, and together with the London Loop, provides an opportunity to really get to know the UK's largest city.

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