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 other 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 organising 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.

In addition to this Group if you don't see what you like here, you might want to look at our Discovering Islington Group here.

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

Post Covid-19 lockdown: in addition to our normal risk assessment for each walk (as recorded by our Details sheet) we have completed a general risk assessment of our group's activity under Covid-19 conditions. This can be viewed here.

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.

Dates for our next leisurely walk is:
Thursday 16 September
— it will be 2.5-3 miles from Brixton to Herne Hill. Walking through Brixton past Electric Avenue and Windrush Square to Brockwell Park to visit the Walled Garden and the Lido plus Brockwell Hall cafe. Home from Herne Hill station or bus back to Brixton. Details here.

Future dates:      
Wednesday 13 October: Whitechapel to Wapping 
Wednesday 17 November   

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:
Trent ParkAugust, Trent Park
— 11 walkers followed the London Loop signpost from the car park by Cockfosters station, which avoided the busy Cockfosters Road by means of woods and fields. From the cafe, after walking through woods to the fishing lake and, at the end of a broad path, turning uphill through more woods to Camlet Moat, we stopped for a rest and photograph at the Sassoon Obelisk. From here we came straight down through the meadow and took a path to the Japanese Water Garden. Some of the new buildings (apartments, penthouses and detached houses), near Trent Park House could be seen from here.

Returning to the broad path we retraced our steps to the cafe. Some members decided to return to the station, others thought that lunch in the nearby pub, The Cock Inn, might be a good idea but we changed our minds when we discovered that only two members of staff were on duty. A great discovery, when we had almost given up on lunch, was Miracles Cafe and Restaurant in Cockfosters Parade close to the station. Thoroughly recommended are an HLT (grilled halloumi cheese with avocado, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and olives etc) and a Lemon Breezer (lime cordial, lemon and mint). Details here.

July, Kenwood
— eight of us walked from Gospel Oak station past the Highgate Ponds — Men's Bathing, Boating and Women's Bathing, but no actual bathing, except by dogs, due to the recent torrential rain. We then ascended the hill up to Kenwood House where we enjoyed a coffee break in the sun at the Brew House after appreciating the herbaceous borders in full flower in the kitchen garden. Next came the Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore sculptures before a descent on a narrow path through the woods to the Viaduct, which survives from attempts to develop the Heath before it came into public ownership 150 years ago. We finished by walking down to Hampstead Heath station past the Mixed Bathing Pond and a large circus marquee.

Tower Hamlets CementeryTower Hamlets Cemetery and Mile End Park —
the quiet, shady paths of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park turned out to be perfect for a leisurely walk on a hot, sunny morning. Only five minutes from busy, noisy Mile End Road, we saw almost no-one and heard only birdsong, following the Heritage Trail past monuments and headstones through this nature reserve. There were wild plants flourishing amongst the many old neglected gravestones and lining the woodland paths. The group photo shows us at the highest point, by the Francis Vault, which had been designed with a brick removed from a wall so that the sun would shine through a wrought iron cross in a door on the western side of the vault at dawn on Midsummer's Day. After an hour or so, we left the cool of the cemetery to join the Ackroyd Drive Greenlink meadows, stopping for coffee outside in the shade at the Bow Brew café, before walking back to the station through Mile End Park.

Regents ParkRegent's Park:
despite the persistent drizzle, four walkers enjoyed a walk around the delightful flowerbeds and magnificent trees of Regent's Park. We visited the St John’s Lodge garden, admiring tulips which seem to be intent on flowering indefinitely this spring. Queen Mary’s rose garden was on the cusp of bursting into bloom with a few brave roses already starting to flower. Somehow, in the rain, the Japanese garden looked even more beautiful than usual. The lake provided bird-life entertainment including herons and coots with fluffy chicks.

Shoreditch High Street to Hoxton (April): this was a pleasant typical inner London walk. After leaving Shoreditch High Street Station we walked along Sclater Street, crossed Brick Lane (not so busy these days) and passed St Matthew's Church. We crossed Bethnal Green Road and turned into Columbia Road (the home of Columbia Road Flower Market, also quiet on a weekday), and then walked through the park next to Hackney City Farm and through Haggerston Park. After a short stretch along the canal path we stopped for coffee at the Chalet Café. We then wound our way toward Hoxton Street, which led us through Hoxton Market and to Hoxton station. It was not the warmest day but at least there was no rain.

Victoria Park (December): during a brief period of no lockdown or other restrictions the Group managed a walk from Hackney Wick to and around Victoria Park.

At the top of Stave HillRotherhithe (October): we started in the heart of Rotherhithe Village with coffee at the Watch House, taken al fresco in the adjoining St Mary's Churchyard gardens. Then leaving behind the narrow, cobbled streets we headed for the river and strolled along the Thames Path admiring the views for a mile or so before turning inland to enter Russia Dock Woodland. We continued on the main path through this extensive area, passing streams, ponds and water birds, and briefly visited the Ecological Park. The high point of the walk was climbing Stave Hill, an artificial hill made by using waste material and rubble. A cast bronze relief map of the former docks stands at the top of the hill. With rain clouds gathering most headed back to Rotherhithe station but some stayed for lunch and more conversation at the riverside Salt Quay pub.

Finsbury Park and the Capital Ring (September): this was our first walk since lockdown and 9 members were keen to get out and get some exercise. It was a pretty hot day but luckily the walk had quite a lot of shade along the route. Details here.

Dollis Brook ValleyDollis Valley Greenwalk (March): a small group of walkers grasped the opportunity of a walk in the winter sunshine along the Dollis Brook in North London. The two-mile stretch was part of the 10-mile-long greenwalk from North Barnet to Hampstead Garden Suburb. Starting at Totteridge and Whetstone station we followed the well-marked trail through a linear park, accompanied by birdsong most of the way, spotting welcome signs of spring. Despite being on tarmac paths we encountered some decidedly muddy sections after the February rain. The surprisingly busy Italian café produced good coffee and a warm break before the last uphill walk to West Finchley station. Details here.

Hyde Park 2020Hyde Park: Half a dozen intrepid walkers braved the aftermath of Storm Dennis and were rewarded with sparkling spring sunshine for a peaceful stroll around Hyde Park. We delayed our start to watch the Household Cavalry heading for duties at the Palace, then strolled around the Serpentine enjoying the spring blossom and the just-out daffodils swaying in the breeze. We enjoyed the ‘art’ we passed including the Queen Elizabeth Gates, Achilles, the Hudson Memorial, Serenity and the Princess Diana Fountain. We were amused by the antics of long tailed tits and amazed at how fearless of people parakeets can be when food is offered. We paused for a welcome cup of tea in the Lido café before heading back through the rose garden to Hyde Park Corner.  Details here.

Canada WaterCanada Water: an intrepid band of leisurely walkers ventured south of the river for a stroll through Grade II listed Southwark Park, with a short detour to the Thames Path to admire the view back home. Despite the challenges of extensive roadworks, we managed to visit three parks — Southwark Park, King's Stairs Gardens and George V Park — passing a motley selection of Southwark blue plaques commemorating the first Blitz raid on Surrey Docks and the homes of social reformer Richard Carr-Gomm and the first President of Uganda. The recently opened Southwark Park café, overlooking the lake and rose gardens, provided a scenic and well deserved coffee stop on our way home. Group photo beside Dr Salter's Daydream on Thames Path. Details here.

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.

For the archived details of previous leisurely walks have a look here:
  • Archive 2018-2019 here.

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