While London may not have the mountains, glens, and coastal scenery of other parts of the UK, it does have a huge area of green open space varying from formal parkland to heaths and commons. These spaces often have the added benefit of fascinating history and architecture. It is also easy to get away from the metropolis by train to all the surrounding counties, including areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the South Downs, the Kentish Weald and the Chilterns.
A great advantage of London is its comprehensive public transport system. All of our walks start and finish at railway stations or other public transport stops, which make linear walks a feasible and attractive option.
GOC London's programme of activities comprises a programme of one walk per month. Following feedback from members, we have recently shifted these to generally take place on the 1st Saturday of the month, which reduces the impact of rail engineering works. Our programme varies between urban walks linking London's many green parks and open spaces and walks in the countryside in the Home Counties around London.
Some events are undertaken jointly with neighbouring GOC groups which whom we maintain friendly relationships. GOC is a nationwide federation of local groups. Members have the opportunity to join other groups' events, some of which are accessible by public transport, notably many run by the East Kent group. Other nearby GOC groups whose walks can sometimes be accessible or who may be able to offer lifts from railway stations are the West Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hertfordshire and Essex groups. Some of us also attend weekend events further afield such as those undertaken by Transpennine and Adventure Out groups. If you are interested in any of these, please do contact me.
We like to welcome new members. We encourage those coming by train to travel in the second carriage from the front if they wish to meet other GOC members before the event. There is also sometimes an optional breakfast or tea/coffee before the start of the main event. We usually bring a packed lunch as numbers can make service slow in pubs. We often end the day with tea and cake or a beer which is a great chance to socialise with other members.
Given such a large and populous city there is the potential of expanding our offer; this will depend on more walk leaders coming forward. Walks and hence walk leaders are the lifeblood of the group. Training and support is available. Thank you to all those who have led walks and come forward. If you have any ideas for new events, please let me know.
To get an idea of what goes on during an event please have a look at our event reports.
GOC London Co-ordinator