How is your resolve? 5 days into 2018

How is your resolve? 5 days into 2018. The Museum of Walking is here to help – whether it’s starting something new, trying to get fit, or just being determined to be more worldly wise – we have something for you in the next few weeks – join in..

Be an experimental drawer and get to grips with London’s famous skyline – with encouragement and top tips from Museum Co-creator Ruth Broadbent.

You can read more and book from this web page or if you fancy, you can use FUNZING to book your place.  We are running Drawn to the Skyline walkshops in January and in February – booking is only available for Saturday 20 January at present, but make a note in your diary Saturday 24 February – a date etched in mine as it’s my mother-in-law’s birthday!

We are popping with excitement over the news that Time Out, London are as mad about street trees and Exploring the Urban Forest as we are.  This month, you will be able to pick up a copy of Museum’s Co-creator  (Guardian Nature writer of 2017) Paul Wood‘s handy map of street tree hotspots in London or spot one on-line, and you’ve guessed it we are going to be visiting each of them on future explorations.  The great news is that we already have 3 Explorations lined up in Peckham (Sun 21 January), in Haggerston (Sunday 4 February) and in Pimlico (Sunday 25 February).  We are also looking to develop a street tree cherry blossom series of walkshops from mid March when the pavements are lined with pretty pink petals.

Over the Festive period a lot of listening goes on in our household, in part that’s because I am trying to catch up with my editing backlog of Talking Walking interviews, but it also in part as there are some fantastic radio programmes and podcasts to listen to.  And with New Year resolutions in mind, did you hear the one about how exercise is a MUST for a healthy life, but it can’t help with weight loss without a change in your eating habits.  Dr Michael Moseley in Radio 4’s You and Yours spells it out, that Sunday stroll is just enough and even regular brisk walking has to be maintained over considerable distances to be of much benefit.

New look London Bridge station

Here in London, we are known for walking further and often faster than fellow Britons around the country, and now Network Rail is helping us even more, by opening the cavernous London Bridge station.  So vast and so far to walk, you have to leave at least 10 minutes to change from the Underground to National Rail, so far it is to walk. Do that twice, 5x a week, you are well on way to the recommended weekly dose of exercise.

At the Museum, we try to support the endeavors of as many walking activists and artists as we can, and with our limited resources, that often means collaborations, support in kind, and generally raising awareness and publicity.  Our plan is to invite guest bloggers help raise the standard of the content that you are reading here and publicise walking initiatives, pieces and events as we come across them.  Please do let us know about walking events etc. by using our Contact form.

So from our Co-creator community, stalwart Tim Ingram-Smith is continuing his Spiral walk around London – you can join him on Sunday 14 January at 1.00pm at Chingford station with a walk through Epping Forest.  The walks are free to join and you may find someone walking soul mates and you are sure to discover something new. Find out more here:

We are also collaboration with the Architecture Foundation and their Tales of Three Cities architecture walks – we are joining them on Saturday 13 January for the Architecture of Money – you can too – and as an incentive if you use this code (afboxingday) you can get a 20% discount. Book here

Now our influence is never more broader than through our Talking Walking podcasts.  Even I find it hard to believe that it is ten years ago since I started interviewing people from the world of walking – artists, activists, professionals  and those who just have a passion for taking a walk…. – how many times have I said that? – well, at least 85 times as this week marks the 85th podcast episode.  Unlike many of them, my conversation with Professor Maggie O’Neill, a criminologist and

And searching for asylum – women walking and wellbeing

sociologist who using walking as a key element of her ethnographic research into the more vulnerable in our society, this one takes place in a hotel lobby and not out on a walk.  Our efforts to go for a walk were disrupted by a terrific downpour, and with Maggie, strapped for time between speaking engagements, we sort shelter in a hotel.

Words to navigate by – finger post in Queen’s Wood Highgate

Shelter wasn’t necessary this week, but careful foot placement to avoid slippery leaves and deep mud, as I recorded and interview with sculptor Grace Adam, whose intriguing “Out of the woods – words to navigate by” installation (or should we call it intervention) adorns Queen’s Wood in Highgate.


Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in not too distant future.

All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..




I looked with new eyes at things I had not noticed before

Level 10 of Tate Modern‘s new Blahvatnik building  offers 360 degree views of London’s skyline. To the north with St Paul’s Cathedral directly in your view, on a winter morning, with low light, colours are muted and yet the eye picks out shapes, lines and things one may not have noticed before. Under the careful guidance of Ruth Broadbent, our first ‘Drawn to the Skyline‘ workshop participants, began with experimental drawing using a technique, Ruth calls ‘Till roll skyline’ in which we were encouraged to deconstruct and reconstruct the skyline view in front of us.

Descending to ground level, we then undertook a ‘Scribble walk’ using a drawing machine that included a ‘Heath Robinson’ requisite rubber band, in which we walked over the Millennium Bridge, getting the movement of our body to trace lines. It was surprising how quickly we created art work of which we were proud, and Ruth encouraged us to share our work.  There followed a period of time during which we not only drew where we were walking but undertook a performance in which we we walked the lines each other had drawn.  That and learning a technique to slice the view to make it easier to sketch on the move, we were brimming with our success and didn’t want the walkshop to end.  We also tried more traditional drawing techniques including using the built environment to frame our view and looking back and forward to observe from different perspectives.

As one participant wrote in her feedback “Thank you for making this morning’s expedition such fun! I looked with new eyes at things I had not noticed before. Ruth obviously has so many good ideas and such a friendly way of communicating them.

However confident or novice you are in drawing or sketching, our Drawn to the Skyline walkshop is a must – our next one is on Saturday 20 JanuaryRead more or Book now

If you want to buy a couple of spaces as a Christmas Gift – drop us a line to arrange this

What would make your perfect neighbourhood in which to live?

Easy to get around on foot, a variety of destinations within walking distance, quintessential charm  with little traffic and places to sit, contemplate, chat to neighbours and friends, or play out with your children, would probably be the key factors we would choose.  Terence Bendixson believes his local London neighbourhood of Chelsea fits the bill – he has lived there since he was 11, when he used to walk to school, and since then he has walked his children and grandchildren.  It is all about street pattern and layout apparently – just don’t invite cars to come, instead make it known that it is difficult to get around by car, and they will stay away. As some will already know, Terence is President of Living Streets, and possibly the longest serving pedestrian activist in the world, so it was a great pleasure to walk his local neighbourhood and talk with him about his passion for walking in city neighbourhoods.  You can listen too with our latest Talking Walking episode.

A-Z in blue c/o Planet International Lettings, Crouch End.

Blueprint for walking? Examples of intriguing ways to navigate.

Just this week, on a bright sunny morning, I met up with the Museum’s Co-creator Simon Waters to walk from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace in a roundabout route via the Parkland walk to Highgate, and then Queen’s Wood and up to Muswell Hill.

The Parkland Walk is a disused railway line through Haringay that links parks that we have used for the Mayor of London’s London Tree Week in May this year.  We Stalked Trees in Highgate Woods (commissioned by The Woodland Trust), composed haiku in Queen’s Woods and ran Mindfulness walkshops in Finsbury Park. For Simon and I these, off-road routes were actually fairly icy and one had to pick ones way with care.  Frustratingly that was the case too, on tarmac footpaths and footways, and we had to resort to walking on the roads….why, oh why is this still the case in when London claims to be a ‘walkable city’?

Our curiosity was piqued after we stopped for coffee at the Queen’s Wood community cafe, by some intriguing finger posts, with quotes, from Dylan, Shakespeare and others, it wasn’t until we got through to the far side of the woods that we found out about “Out of the Woods – Words to navigate by” by artist Grace Adam.  Thanks to the Friends of Queen’s Wood for commissioning her.


Listen out next week when BBC Radio 3’s slow radio champion Horatio Clare sets off in the footsteps of J S Bach on five “Bach Walks” and if you are looking for a stocking filler, look no further than Adam Ford‘s wonderful book ‘Mindful Thoughts for Walkers‘. Both highly recommended!

When the WOOD stands out from the trees

Congratulations are in order for the Museum of Walking‘s Co-creator, author Paul Wood who leads our Explorations into the Urban Forest walkshops that we launched back in September. 

Chosen by the Guardian as one of 2017’s best Nature books, Stephen Moss wrote “London Street Trees by Paul Wood (Safe Haven), .. adds a fascinating new dimension to any walk through the city.”

We still have a handful of tickets left, if you would like to join Paul leading our next Expedition from the Embankment to Holborn on Sunday 10 December from 10.30am at Embankment tube. Read more or Book now

Do you blog about walking?

We asked contributors to the Walking Artists Network if that’s what they did and we had over 50 responses – blogs are great for documenting walks, but they are also often used a part of the project planning process too.

Fine – we had a list but it wasn’t until Babak Fakhamzadeh created that aggregates walking blogs into a fabulously easy to use website that we realised we were onto something.  What Babak has created is a great way for anyone researching walks, contemporary walking literature or walking art to find a source of inspiration.  And you too can now contribute your walking blog, simply by submitting it here.

So Babak has earned his spurs as a Museum Co-creator, and we are delighted to welcome him on board.  We are hoping to harvest his considerable skills in a reprise of Sound Walk Sunday and other adventures we are planning for the Museum and for our Talking Walking podcasts.

Talking  of Talking Walking podcasts, our latest episode of Talking Walking is an interview with Julie Poitras Santos.  She is currently exploring people’s sense of getting lost and the techniques they use to find their way again, both physically and metaphorically. In part she uses a labyrinth, and in our conversation, we discuss how group walking of labyrinths can bring clarity in thought and a strong sense of camaraderie, amongst strangers. The interview was recorded in August 2017 as part of “Made of Walking” at La Romieu in south west France.  We are walking on a warm summer’s day close to one of the entry points to the long distance pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago. 24’ 31” 11.5MB

From the the wider Museum of Walking community, Sound Walk Sunday contributor Nathania Hartley invites you to Tapping in to the City on Sunday 10 December from 2.00pm (so you can join her once you’ve Explored the Urban Forest!). Just click on the image below to find out more….

And finally a couple of nuggets from the world of walking…..

You have heard of Google Streetview – well why not give Forestview a go to plan your route through the New Forestsee the woods from the trees without leaving your desk.

Devised by Transport for London there’s a new toolkit to help implement Healthy Streets Consisting of three resources, the toolkit covers the whole process from initial assessment, through implementation, to evaluation.


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..