Route Summary

This page is a narrative overview summary of the route. Full details are on the Route Description page and for an interactive map of the route with points of interest and visitor information see the Route Map page.

The 100-mile event route links up many of the major London 2012 Games venues, together with sites with Royal significance, and not least visits several sites in Surrey that have long been associated with the LDWA's Founders, since its formation in 1972. As a 'route wth a purpose' the walk makes an arc south around London, passing through strongly contrasting landscapes, and taking in many landmarks and heritage sites, themselves well worth a more leisurely return visit.

London 2012 Games venues come quickly into focus on the 100's initial urban section that uses many walkways that have been upgraded for the Games spectators who will flock there a few weeks later. Linking from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park area, skirting Victoria Park (with Queen Victoria the only other British monarch to reign over 60 years) it includes some of the Jubilee Greenway walking route along canals to reach the main Thames waterfront, with views away west to the London skyline. It then passes among the soaring towers of Canary Wharf, London's 'Manhattan on Thames', a private estate whose planners very much had walkers in mind, here touching the London Marathon route. Reaching the Thames again opens the classic view south across the river, to the World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich where the London 2012 Games equestrian events will be held in Greenwich Park - Greenwich is to become a Royal Borough in 2012. Then passing the Cutty Sark that re-opens in March 2012, and onwards along the Thames, another Games venue, North Greenwich Arena, soon comes into view. Passing the Thames Barrier, the route then links to the new London 2012 Olympic shooting and Paralympic archery venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks, via two more walking routes forming parts of London's network of promoted routes. These are the Green Chain Walk and the Capital Ring, both joining suprisingly green islands of parks, commons and ancient woods, passing Eltham's Palace, and its nearby College, where Chariots of Fire Olympian Eric Liddell went to school, and heading out into the country touching on the London Loop to walk in Darwin's footsteps across his meadows and pass near to the home of Charles Darwin, itself a World Heritage Site applicant.

Reaching Surrey, the route now includes some of the downland ridge traversed by the North Downs Way national trail, to reach Box Hill, soon to be part of the most challenging section of the route of the 2012 Olympic Road Cycle Race, that will use its switchback zig-zags. Now in the Surrey Hills AONB, the next section links four of the LDWA Founders' sites: Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel, with its seat in memory of Alan Blatchford; Steer's Field named after Chris Steer; the small shop in Peaslake village that was once the Old Post Office and where a small notice advertising an early challenge event, the Tanners Marathon, brought these two Founders together; and finally Pitch Hill, where a toposcope remembers them. There are distant views also to Blatchford Down, the fifth Founders' site, off-route. On the event, many will traverse these chalk and greensand hills and forests at night, often on intricate paths, providing a navigational challenge. This section uses some of the Greensand Way along the ridgelines. While in the Surrey Hills, the 100's breakfast checkpoint is at a welcoming and well-equipped small school nestling in the hiils near Holmbury St Mary. No Surrey Hills section would be complete without the hilltop downland church of St Martha's, again on the North Downs Way.

Flatter terrain then crosses the Surrey heathlands and the valley of the River Wey to reach Windsor. Here by consent of the Crown Estate, a traverse of Windsor Great Park will be possible in the light for many (with an alternative night route) to end the 100 miles through parts of the designated Royal Landscape and along the Long Walk just before the Diamond Jubilee day itself. Finally to the finish close by at the HQ school in Windsor and a well-earned welcoming cheer from the assembled supporters!

While England's south east cannot offer the greater hills of some recent LDWA 100s, the 2012 route includes some 10,000 ft of ascent and descent, so is no pushover.

In order to provide the best chance for completions, there will be much support along the route, with some 17 main checkpoints as well as a temporary eastern start base and a full western Windsor HQ. Most checkpoints are indoors but several in the middle sections are tented. Checkpoint and HQ locations are shown on the Route Map page, along with London 2012 Games venues and LDWA Founders sites.

For those many not walking the full 100 miles in one go, the walk route will be made available online later as a long distance path (LDP) for anyone to walk at their own speed an in their own way, and individuals and small groups walking this version will not need any special permissions. Options will be included to extend from Windsor both to the Olympic rowing and conoeing venue nearby at Dorney Lake, Eton and to provide shorter walks around Windsor linking to Olympic history - the 1908 Olympic Marathon started from the Castle, while in 1948, the Olympic Road Cycle Race was held within the Great Park. Both the LDP and a parallel programme of related short walks, along with the 100-mile challenge event, comprise the project recognised by the 2012 Games Inspire accreditation - see the Inspire Project page. For information on the many other promoted walking routes in this region, there is a summary of the Long Distance footpaths in South East England here. A separate 'Anytime Challenge' walk, the Founders Footpaths, traverses some of the same terrain as the LDWA Games 100 and visits all the Founders sites in the Surrey Hills. A similar route is the basis of an annual 26 and 16 mile challenge event, the Founders Challenge, organised by the LDWA London Group.

Access notes: Most of the LDWA Games 100 route is on public rights of way that may be walked at any time, day or night, but some sections involve permissive access. In the run-up to the London 2012 Games, access around Games venues and to nearby viewpoints will change as construction work proceeds, and the described 100 route in these areas will be altered as needed to suit available access at the time. Route descriptions are downloadable here and updates will be posted later on this website for walkouts/recces, and updates on access will also be shown. Some parts of the 100 event route are permissive and may only be walked on the event itself, and these will be indicated in the route description. Certain privately owned areas allow use of their permissive routes without formalities for individuals and small groups, while for large groups of walkers and events, specific consents will always be needed. For Windsor Great Park, public access for walkers is in daylight hours only, with an equal length alternative event routing being provided in darkness. Flexible event start times will help the maximum number of walkers to see the memorable Castle views and to traverse the Long Walk in the light. In this Park, large groups of walkers always require a permission.

 Page version information: Updated 08 February 2012 with route track and description links and minor changes to locations (start HQ, checkpoints, etc) and route.