Unless otherwise stated, walks run for 1.5 – 2 hours and cover 2 – 2.5 miles.
Group size usually a maximum of 15 (far less with COVID, see below).
Cost £15 per person. Please book through Eventbrite.
As the pandemic lockdown and restrictions gradually ease, I have set up a few initial walk dates in late May and June. Please note that currently these walks are for a maximum of 6 attendees only, suitably socially distanced, but the numbers allowed will hopefully increase if the rules are relaxed further. More dates and booking links will become available when we can safely and legally walk again.
A selection of possible routes follow below for inspiration and in anticipation!
‘Beating the Bounds’ I – the border between Islington & Hackney around Dalston and De Beauvoir
‘Beating the Bounds’ to mark and confirm the borders between parishes is an ancient tradition, where the border was literally paced out, agreed and marked with stones each year. This is the first of a series of planned walks exploring the borders of today’s Islington Borough, looking at how this has evolved over the centuries due to a mix of changing land ownership, parish church catchments, significance of early settlements and roads, and natural features such as springs and ponds.
This first walk between Islington and Hackney boroughs follows the lines of Balls Pond Road and Southgate Road. There’s a wealth of interest on either side of the border, including a leper hospital, almshouses, inns of pleasure and ill repute, pretty 19C residential roads, market gardens, a livestock market, vanished churches, factories and a manor house.
This walk starts and ends in De Beauvoir Square (5 minutes from Haggerston Overground).
Upcoming date: Sunday 30th May 2021 at 11am, please book here
‘Beating’ the Bounds II – Islington & Hackney Border south from the Regent’s Canal to the City
Continuing our exploration of the Islington and Hackney border, walking from De Beauvoir and the Regent’s canal to Finsbury, Shoreditch and the edge of the City in Moorfields. A varied mix of City Livery Company history, ironworks, canal basins, WWII devastation, the lost hospitals quarter, a natural swimming pool and a mediaeval well.
Starts at the Rosemary Branch by the canal and ends near Old St Station.
Upcoming date: Saturday 5th June at 2pm, please book here
For a built-up urban area, Clerkenwell has a perhaps surprising number of green spaces, many of them named as ‘squares’, but not always square in shape. Some are ancient open spaces dating back centuries, particularly in the south of the area closer to the City. Many others closer to Pentonville are the result of tremendous residential building, by three main landowners, from 1800 onwards. This walk tracks north through Clerkenwell, looking at both types of squares and their histories.
Starts at Barbican tube station, ends at the Angel.
Upcoming date: Sunday 13th June 2021 at 11am, please book here
A Watery Wander around the Angel Islington
A circular walk from Angel tube, exploring lost and hidden rivers, springs and wells; a manmade canal and reservoirs; the New River – an astonishing early 17C waterworks scheme; risqué pleasure gardens; a famous theatre; Georgian and Victorian squares and streets; an eccentric estate owner; a lost cricket ground; and all ending in a historic market.
Canonbury and Central Islington Highlights
This walk winds either side of Upper Street and explores the coming of the railways, a 16C manor house, a 17C water course, theatres and music halls, two churches, cattle sheds, agriculture, literary figures, pretty Georgian terraces and squares, an art gallery, at least three romances and more.
Starts at Highbury and Islington station, ends at the Angel.
Cloudesley – from fields and Livestock to Genteel Living
The Cloudesley Estate in Barnsbury originated from a bequest of two fields in 1517 from Richard Cloudesley to the Parish of Islington. After three centuries of agricultural use, the residential estate was developed from 1820 onwards. This walk highlights the social and cultural history of the first half of the 19C in Islington and is enlivened by histories of those who were buried in the crypt of Holy Trinity church. You will meet the great and good of the parish, hear of a huge fraud and scandal, learn of residents who travelled the world and those closer to home.
Starts and ends in Cloudesley Square (5 minutes from Angel tube).
Clerkenwell Crime and Punishment
The Clerkenwell area lies just outside the old City, originally the location of the monastic houses from the late 1100s. The Industrial Revolution led to a massive increase in population as people came looking for work, and in turn the area became overcrowded, crime-ridden and squalid. As it lay outside the City’s direct jurisdiction (part of Middlesex), the area attracted radicals, rebels and criminals. The local system of magistrates, judges and parishes in turn built prisons, courthouses and workhouses.
Starts and ends at Farringdon station.
Now part of the borough of Islington, this area and adjacent Clerkenwell formed the old Borough of Finsbury until 1965. Finsbury was originally the religious parish of St. Luke’s just outside the City walls. This walk explores several centuries of history including archery fields, Elizabethan theatre, a noted artillery regiment, a plague pit, the birthplace of Methodism and a radical early metropolitan council.
Starts at Old Street station, ends at Moorgate station.
Payment and refunds
Payment in advance via Eventbrite secures your booking.
Cancellations up to 48 hours in advance are refunded (minus Eventbrite booking fee); within 48 hours of the tour, no refund. Walks will go ahead whatever the weather, please be prepared to dress accordingly.