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Trail talk: the Jubilee Walkway-resources

Panoramic panel on the Jubilee Walkway
Panoramic panel on the Jubilee Walkway

When Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977, a new signposted trail was created in London. Plenty of cash from various corporate sponsors permitted a Silver Jubilee Walkway leaflet to be produced and distributed free of charge in 1977. The walkway was so popular that a reprint of the map was produced in 1993. There have not been any reprints since. I used to possess the original, in fact I think it still languishes in a drawer or boxfile somewhere about my house. Unable to find my original, I simply purchased the reprinted version off eBay for not a lot of money.

When the Silver Jubilee Walkway was first opened, over 400 aluminium discs were set into the pavement, these are augmented by smaller discs to indicate changes in direction, particularly useful for those following the original and shorter route. Various information boards, similarly sponsored, were erected along the trail’s length.

One of the original stainless steel Silver Jubilee Walkway plaques set into pavement
One of the original Silver Jubilee Walkway discs set into the pavement
The London Silver Jubilee Walkway leaflet, 1993 reprint
The London Silver Jubilee Walkway leaflet, 1993 reprint

The trail’s name changed to the Jubilee Walkway on the occasion of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the full length increased to 15 miles, though that does not include inevitable wandering off to look at things. A further loop taking in Camden was added in 2003. As well as the free map leaflet shown here, a couple of printed route descriptions have been produced over the years but these are all commercial offerings with a cover price to match.

Of all the available practical resources, the leaflet shown here is still the best by far, if only for the original Silver Jubilee route. On the two-sided map and guide, it shows the highlighted route and points of interest in clear and interesting detail. It hasn’t been reprinted in decades but is still easily found second-hand on eBay. How long that will remain the case, remains to be seen. If you have any intention of walking this trail, snap up a copy while you still can.

Detail from London Silver Jubilee Walkway leaflet, 1993 reprint
Detail from London Silver Jubilee Walkway leaflet, 1993 reprint

Some of the original information and panoramic panels still survive on the Jubilee Walkway, others have been removed. Additional or unassociated panels are also encountered along the route
Some of the original information and panoramic panels still survive on the Jubilee Walkway, others have been removed. Additional or unassociated panels are also encountered along the route

The Silver Jubilee Walkway

Coinciding with the opening of the original Silver Jubilee Walkway, the Civic Trust had this limp-back volume published for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee London Celebrations Committee in 1977. It is a guide book, however the included maps, strangely, do not have the route shown on them. The route and detail on what is encountered could easily be followed and identified by taking this slim 72 page guide on the trail, however the guidebook’s awkward shape does not lend itself to that at all.

The Silver Jubilee Walkway, official guide from 1977
The Silver Jubilee Walkway, official guide from 1977

Costing £1.50 on first publication, passably good second hand copies can still be located fairly easily on eBay and through second hand book resellers. If you are planning on walking the route, obtaining this guide first would provide some additional interest to the route but is by no means an essential purchase. I found it most of interest in pointing out the additions and alterations that had been made to actually create the route.

The Silver Jubilee Walkway, Civic Trust. 1977. SBN 900849 86 X

The Silver Jubilee Walkway guide, inside
The Silver Jubilee Walkway guide, inside

A Walk for The Queen

A Walk for The Queen volume is poorly named for it actually covers two different walks, three if you include the earlier Silver Jubilee route. The other walk included is the Jubilee Greenway, a 60km route created in 2012 that takes a greener route through London as well as many of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venues.

A Walk for the Queen, by Hugo Vickers
A Walk for The Queen, by Hugo Vickers

The author worked for the London Celebrations Committee for The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and assisted with the production of the first guide book. Hugo Vickers went on to become the chairman of the Jubilee Walkway Trust in 2002 so naturally had access to many of the primary files relating to the route’s creation. A Walk for the Queen can not really be described as a guidebook, more a lavishly illustrated full account of the paths creation. Laudable as the publication of this type of volume is, they can be very much a creation by committee and eveyone involved wants input and mention, so we get over laboured detail on the Trustees, the sponsors, creation of panoramic panels, the awards received and so on ad nauseum. Get beyond that and this book is a handsome product with excellent photographs and detail on many of the sites of interest to be encountered along the trails route. Contemporary photographs are interesting and probably not to be found anywhere else. Originally priced at £15, this 128 page hard back book with dust wrapper is still easily found through book resellers.

A Walk for The Queen, Hugo Vickers. The Dovecote Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1-904-34999-0

A Walk for the Queen, detail from inside
A Walk for the Queen, detail from inside

Online resources:

It can be a little difficult tracking down much on the Jubilee Walkway in it’s various incarnations online. Thankfully, some of what there is, is pretty good. The official Jubilee Walkway website is still accessible via waybackmachine. It doesn’t really provide too much of interest or use, but simple maps can be found there. Of much more use is the Walkway’s Wikipedia page. This page also provides a link to an interactive map of the route. There is a dedicated unofficial Jubilee Walkway site, however some of the page links are now broken. A Transport for London (TfL) page provides maps of the various loops on the Walkway. These last are about the best available online and also include a little information of sights of interest found while walking the route. Go Jauntly also include the routes but that entails downloading their app. There are a few YouTube films of peoples walks, most that I have seen are pretty dire, but spend some time with The Walking Man who provides us with an entertaining contemporary film on the Walkway’s opening.

Many thousands of people will have completed some or all of the Jubilee Walkway, just a few have blogged on their expoits. This list is in no way complete.

She walks in England

Andrew’s Walks

Mappiman’s Real Ale Walks

The Queen's Walk was part of an opening up and redevelopment of the South Bank and was incorporated into the Silver Jubilee Walkway
The Queen’s Walk was part of an opening up and redevelopment of the South Bank and was incorporated into the Silver Jubilee Walkway

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