City of London Pedway and Thames Riverside

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Nowhere has the urge to control walkers been stronger than in towns, beginning in the 19th century with the construction of pavements designed to make walking along a Victorian street slightly safer and less grubby, and eventually reaching its zenith in the planning dictums of the 60s that aimed to separate pedestrians and traffic in the belief that the two could never get along together.

The epitome of this philosophy was (or very nearly was) The City of London’s Pedway scheme, initiated in the mid 60s, envisaging a 30-mile elevated walkway network around the City, from Liverpool Street to the Thames, from Fleet Street to the Tower. Parts of the network were built, notably the Barbican section, and several footbridges across major roads. And developers had to provide walkways as a condition for planning consent.

But the plan started to fade away by the end of the 70s due to various objections, notably from conservation bodies. And in the last decade or so the policy of segregating pedestrians and traffic has gone into sharp reverse with the new emerging philosophy of the ‘naked street’, where the dividing lines between pedestrian and motorist (barriers, signs, pavement edges, material changes etc.) are deliberately ‘smudged’ in the belief that this will make motorists take much more care and attention.

Walk around parts of the City of London today and you stumble across strange walkways, stairwells and bridges, all seemingly heading nowhere. This walk takes a look at these bits and pieces of the Pedway that did make it to the light of day, notably the Barbican section which is still used today. But it is also a look at many other famous landmarks old and new, including the Gherkin, the Lloyds Building, Leadenhall Market, the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The route here is best followed with a London A-Z map showing the street names. Note: the map provided on the website doesn't show street names but can be used to orientate yourself.

This walk features in the 'Pathways' book - for more information click on the link on the Walkingworld homepage.

England - South England - London - Town or city


Ancient Monument, Cafe, Church, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Mostly Flat, Museum, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Toilets
2/17/2019 - Kirsti Smith

I found this really difficult to follow - I suspect it probably needs to be updated. There were bits that didn't seem to be there and a right turn that should have been a left.

6/19/2013 - Victoria Belovski

This is an excellent walk - I've done it twice and really enjoyed it both times. The directions are easy to follow and the architecture and views are very interesting

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