Derek HarwoodThe Leisurely Walks Group has half-day walks of up to three miles.

Group Coordinator: Derek Harwood (click to contact)       

We will start with one walk each month on varying days of the week. If there is enough support and others are prepared to lead some walks, we will then increase the frequency.


All walks will be fairly local but with some public transport (to the start or from the finish).

Since Spring 2018 iU3A has had a Leisurely Walks group (in addition to the current Shorter and Longer Walk groups). This group offers a monthly half-day walk (on different days of the week) of up to three miles. The pace is leisurely, with pauses along the way. The start and end points are easily reached by public transport and are in the Freedom Pass travel zones. Some walks are local, e.g. Clissold Park and the New River Path; others are sometimes further afield, e.g. Trent Park. The walks may feature river or canal towpaths, parks and nature reserves, while others may be more urban and explore a London 'village’. They are ideal for members who like gentle outdoor exercise at a slower pace than the existing walking groups. If you are interested in joining this new group please use the email link above to advise the Group Coordinator or join online through the Members' System ('Beacon') here.

Our experience of running walks has suggested a few common-sense guidelines, to ensure everyone’s enjoyment and safety on our walks. You can see them here.

We won't have sign ups per walk you can just turn up on the day. But if you are late we won't be expecting you so we won't wait for you.

Our Next Leisurely Walks
The programme of walks will also appear in the Members' System (ie 'Beacon').

Full walk details including meeting points and times will be available a week or two before the walk. You'll be able to see them (and print them if you like) from a link on this page. Where it says 'Details here', click on 'here' when it is highlighted in blue.

Happy New Year to all our members! Dates for our next leisurely walks are:
  • Monday 27 January just turn up if you want to attend. Details here
  • Tuesday 18 February just turn up if you want to attend. Details here
  • Tuesday 03 March details to follow
  • Friday 17 April
  • Tuesday 05 May
  • Thursday 18 June
If you want to volunteer to lead one of these walks (help will be provided regarding the admin., etc) please use the contact link at the top to drop Derek an email.

Recent Walks
Our recent walks have included:
St PaulsSt Paul's to Tower Bridge: again not many came on the walk. While it was a cold day it was bright and clear. The walk set of from St Paul's Cathedral then crossed over the Millennium Bridge and proceeded down the river and along to Tower Bridge. See full details here.

Regents CanalRegent's Canal:
this was a gentle walk along the canal on a cold but clear day. Not many turned out for it — was it too cold? We started outside Angel Tube Station and walked eastward down City Road then along Duncan Terrace Gardens to the Canal Towpath, walking eastwards. We stopped for coffee at Kingsland Basin. See full details here.

Alexander PalaceHighgate to Alexandra Palace: We had a dry and mostly sunny morning thankfully, for our walk, after the rainy week. The beech trees in Highgate Wood were just turning colour. The illusion of being almost in the countryside continued as we proceeded along the northern branch of the Parkland Walk accompanied by birdsong, mercifully without a chorus of parakeets’ screeches, until we reached the St James viaduct and enjoyed far-reaching views across the city, spotting the Shard, Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park. We were rewarded by further extensive vistas from Alexandra Palace, where we paused to take a peek into the elegant Palm Court, before continuing through the gardens to the train station. Details here.

Abney ParkClissold and Abney Parks: a stonger attendance for this walk: was it the good weather that enticed more out? We set off from Highbury by bus then strolled through Clissold Park to meet others at the Main House for coffee. After that we went round the lakes before leaving that park along Stoke Newington High Street, then dropped into Abney Cemetery Park. Abney is one of London's ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries. We did manage between us to name the other six. We rambled around spotting quite a few famous people's gravestones. More info on the park here. Details here.

Hyde ParkHyde Park: A disappointing attendance for this walk, which was surprising. We started by looking at the Queen Elizabeth Gate and the Achilles/Wellington statue and then headed north to the Joy of Life fountain before cutting across to the old Police Station and Epstein’s ‘Atrocity in the Park’. We crossed the bridge to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and stopped for a break at the Lido Café. Then we walked back along the south side of the Serpentine, through the Rose Garden and back to Hyde Park Corner. Details here.

EppingChingford, Epping Forest: This walk was designed to show just how close we are to real countryside and how accessible Epping Forest is to leisurely walkers. Within five minutes of leaving Chingford station, 10 intrepid walkers meandered past cows grazing peacefully just below the Visitor Centre. After a gentle climb, offering stunning views over Chingford Plain, we followed the boardwalk walkway around Connaught Water, taking time to enjoy spotting birdlife and yellow flag irises on the way. We retraced our footsteps to the Visitor Centre, with time for a whistlestop visit to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge before our lunch stop. Details here.

May — Woodberry Downs: this was a walk from Manor House up the New River to Woodberry Wetlands (the bird reserve). A bonus was hearing from one of our members that it was her son who was the Project Manager for the redevelopment of Woodberry Wetlands. So we gleaned some inside information of its development. After a coffee stop at the Coal House we retraced our steps, down the New River, past the old pumping station on the West Reservoir and then past the Castle (now a climbing centre). After a short stretch of road we were into Clissold Park and alongside a stretch of the New River again. From there it was an easy bus ride back to H&I. A glorious sunny day made this a very pleasant stroll. Details here.

St Peters, WappingApril — Wapping: An easy journey to Wapping on this walk allowed 12 of us plenty of time at the start to enjoy a coffee and chat in the quirky surroundings of the Turk's Head café before setting off along historic Wapping High Street, eventually joining the Ornamental Canal where there were ducklings and coot chicks vying for our attention from neighbouring nesting sites. We briefly visited St Peter's Church, originally built for the poor, with an unusually ornate interior before continuing to Shadwell Basin. We then walked through the Edward VII Memorial Park, part of which is blighted because the Thames Tideway Super Sewer is being built. It will take sewage direct to Abbey Mills Treatment Centre rather than discharging the surplus in the Thames Estuary. This was explained to us by a helpful employee as we navigated back to the Thames Path and the Prospect of Whitby pub where six of us lunched, as had Samuel Pepys in earlier times. The rain held off as forecast and we made it back to Wapping station with just a sprinkling of sleet. Details here.

March Tower Hill to Limehouse: nine people started the walk from Tower Hill on a rather grey morning. We passed Royal Mint Court, site of the Royal Mint from 1809 to 1967, which the Chinese government has acquired for its embassy. Behind this, walking through an early social housing development (Improved Industrial Dwellings and Peabody Trust) we came to Cable Street, the Jack the Ripper Museum and went on to Graces Alley and Wilton's Music Hall. Much of the area here was cleared in the 1960s but, in Wellclose Square and Swedenborg Square, the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian community flourished in the 17th century. The first Swedish church in London was built, timber merchants imported pine for the shipbuilding industry, and Swedenborg lived and was buried here; likewise Daniel Solander, a Swedish botanist on Cook's first voyage. We saw memorials to them. Details here.

LimehouseNext was St George in the East, one of Hawksmoor's six London churches, severely damaged during the Blitz but, within its former shell, beautifully made into a modern space for worship in 1964. Cable Street Mural, depicting the anti-blackshirt battle of 1936 and painted on the wall of St George's Town Hall, followed this and we continued along Cable Street to Shadwell. Here we stopped for coffee and then walked through Watney Market and east along Commercial Road, diverting into Steel's Lane past the "School on Stilts" to see Havering Steet, an unspoilt Georgian Street which most of the streets here would have been like. Back on to Commercial Road past Albert Gardens towards Limehouse we got caught in an absolute downpour. Had we spent less time having coffee we would have reached the Yurt Cafe dry! However the three remaining walkers enjoyed a good lunch there and warmed up. Details here.

  • Two cathedralsFebruary — Two Cathedrals: A dry but grey day dawned for our exploration of the South Bank between Southwark Cathedral and St Paul's, which allowed our group of 15 to saunter a little and study the area's history. A common theme was looking up: Mark Titchner's new artwork suspended from the ceiling in the new Stainer St tunnel at London Bridge, unusual angles of the Shard from the courtyard of Guy's, statuary in the gardens of St Paul's. Eschewing the enticing foodie smells at Borough Market, we found greenery in the herb garden beside Southwark Cathedral, where the memorial to Native American tribal chieftain Mahomet Weyonomon was a surprise to many of us (see photo). Onward past the Golden Hinde and the Clink, we joined the tourists crossing the Millennium Bridge en route to St Paul's. Cafe 101 at the Salvation Army HQ just before the end of the walk provided a welcome refreshment stop with seats for all, to the leader's relief. We ended, as we had begun, with an art work, Elizabeth Frink's Paternoster sculpture of shepherd and sheep, in the square of the same name. Full details here.

    JanuaryRegents Park: This was an easy stroll on a cold but bright sunny day, which was possibly why record numbers took part. The ‘secret’ St John’s Lodge garden was a new discovery for many of us and the gardeners there were a fund of interesting information. We were glad to see hints of spring in the aconites and snowdrops and even early narcissi. We may have seen a flock of winter-visiting fieldfares too, but didn’t have binoculars to make sure; however, we definitely saw Egyptian geese and herons — no binoculars necessary for those! Details here.

  • St Pancras WW! memorialNovemberAround King's Cross: This was a 2¾ miles stroll around the new developments of King's Cross. We started by exploring the artworks at St Pancras, including the brand new WW1 war memorial (pictured) listing the quirky job titles of the railway workers it commemorates. From the station, we headed across to the Francis Crick Institute for a warming coffee stop before visiting St Pancras Old Church and its cemetery, spotting memorials to Sir John Soane and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as Hardy's Tree — a peaceful contrast to the bustle of the station. Over the canal bridge to the King's Cross development, where the sun sparkled on the mirrors of Gasholder Park and warmed us as we ambled through Coal Drops Yard. The new Thomas Heatherwick-designed roof connecting two Victorian warehouse buildings looked stunning, drawing the eye upward to the cloudless blue sky. We finished with a short walk along the canal to Granary Square, with plenty of ideas for when we revisit the area on a warmer day. Details here.

    October Kenwood to Gospel Oak. This was a very pleasant walk in autumn sunshine through Hampstead Heath and around Parliament Hill, ending up at Gospel Oak Overground station. Details here.

    September Finsbury Parkland Walk. Details here. The walk started at The Highgate Café which we all agreed served very good coffee for an excellent price. We then set off to the entrance of the Parkland Walk which was only about 100 metres downhill. Everyone immediately felt relaxed in such a pleasant green “avenue” of trees. This walk is on the the old railway line, which in the 1930s was never converted from steam. There is still evidence of platforms and bridges but these blend well into the Parkland setting. Today’s leisurely walkers set a cracking pace and with a pleasant environment and good conversation it didn’t seem long at all before we were at Finsbury Park, which we skirted, to finish in the back walled garden of Lara’s Café for a snack/lunch and a final chat.
  • Parkland Walk
    August Bethnal Green to Hoxton.

    July — Kensal Rise. Details here.
    June — Regent's Canal. Details here.
    May — Finsbury Park to Woodberry Wetlands. Details here.
    April — Highbury Fields to Finsbury Park. Details here.


site designed by Gill Hopkins 
logo designed Tattersal Hammarling & Silk
registered charity number 1157067