The largest city in Western Europe (west of Istanbul), Greater London covers an area of over 600mi² (ca. 1,600km²) and has a population of almost 9 million. Unlike more modern cities, London wasn’t planned logically but grew organically. From its beginnings as a Roman trading port some 2,000 years ago, it has mushroomed into the metropolis we see today, swallowing up thousands of villages, hamlets and settlements in the process. Many former villages – like Bloomsbury and Notting Hill – are now bustling cosmopolitan neighbourhoods, while others, such as Barnes and Dulwich, retain much of their original rural charm and character.
You might dispute some areas’ village status nowadays, but back in the 18th and 19th centuries, people were farming in Islington, fishing in Chiswick and building country piles in Hoxton. Patronage from royalty and wealthy merchants helped to boost the profile of some villages, while new migrants set up home-from-home ‘villages’ in areas such as Spitalfields. The city began to grow in earnest in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the pace increased ten-fold with the advent of the railways in the 1840s, which saw dozens of villages devoured by the advancing city. Between 1801 and 1891, London’s population increased from barely a million to over 5½ million.
Nevertheless, if you’re seeking a village vibe – a green on which to watch cricket, lots of small independent shops, a market selling local farmers’ produce, an ancient church and graveyard to explore, a pub with a warm welcome (and local ales and ducks paddling in the pond outside) – you can still find them if you know where to look. Scratch beneath the surface of modern London and you’ll find a rich tapestry of ancient villages, just waiting to be rediscovered.
London’s Village Walks explores 20 of the city’s most interesting and best preserved ‘villages’, where – with a little imagination – it’s still possible to picture yourself living in a bygone age. The walks are between two and 6½ miles in length, with the average around four miles. However, it’s best to allow a half day for the shorter walks and as much as a full day for the longer walks – particularly if you plan to partake of the many excellent pubs, restaurants and cafés along the routes (for your author, a good lunch is a prerequisite of a good walk!) – not to mention the many diversions along the way, such as museums, galleries and churches. The aim is to take the ‘scenic route’, visiting as many interesting landmarks as possible, rather than simply getting from A to B as fast as possible.
Writing London’s Village Walks has been a fascinating, educational and enjoyable journey of discovery. We hope that you enjoy these walks as much as we did; all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, a sense of adventure – and this book!
Download the PDF Sample now FREE of charge (including the Table of Contents) and see for yourself how beautiful this book is.
|£9.99 Survival Books
|31st Jul 2018
|Number of Pages: