Explore London on foot with TfL’s Streetspace-inspired orienteering challenges.
Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with British Orienteering to create a season of active travel-inspired urban orienteering challenges, giving Londoners the chance to explore the city in a whole new way throughout September and October. The challenges complement TfL’s Streetspace for London plan, which is helping to make space for walking, improve cycling conditions and enable people to maintain social distancing as London recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
From Dalston, to Clapham and Camden, the orienteering challenges will take people on a journey of discovery across the city utilising recently widened pathways and newly completed Streetspace schemes.
Participants can find their way around the city on carefully mapped routes. The challenge is to simply visit the 12 numbered points marked on the map with a circle and match them to their corresponding photo. Participants can find them in any order and completing the task correctly is an exercise of skill rather than speed, testing their map reading skills and ability to plan their route. Each participant who successfully finishes the challenge and submits their results will automatically be entered into a prize draw. Eight winners will be chosen at random to win a special limited-edition moquette picnic set from the London Transport Museum.
The challenges are part of the Mayor’s strategy to encourage more people to walk and take advantage of the additional space that has been created on London’s streets thanks to TfL’s Streetspace for London programme which is transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets.
Walking has been shown to have many physical benefits, including reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease and cancer, but there are wider benefits too. Walking for just 10 minutes twice a day can reduce stress and anxiety and has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 20-30 per cent.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner said: “Walking is a great way to explore your neighbourhood and beyond as well as being good for your mental and physical health, so I’m really pleased that TfL have teamed up with British Orienteering for this series of challenges. Our world-leading Streetspace measures include widening pavements to make it easier to make journeys on foot, which is more important than ever to avoid a damaging car-based recovery from the pandemic.”
Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information, Design and Partnerships at TfL said: “Walking is key to London's green, healthy and sustainable recovery from coronavirus and this challenge is a fun way to enable people to experience London in a unique way and shows just how walkable London is.
“This pandemic has brought home to everyone just how important health is and the Streetspace for London measures have made it easier than ever to walk around London. Walking is great for our mental and physical health and is also vital for improving air quality and reducing congestion, making London a greener, safer place to live.”
Peter Hart, Chief Executive of British Orienteering, said: “Never has the opportunity been greater to promote and enjoy and understand the significant health benefits of being physically active in the outdoors. What better way to enjoying being out walking whilst exploring London and completing one of these challenges? These introductory fun activities are suitable for all, no matter your fitness level or map reading skills and British Orienteering are delighted to be working with TfL to support people to get out and active around the London boroughs.”
Since May, Streetspace has led to more than 65km of new or upgraded cycle infrastructure being built or currently under construction, along with more than 16,500 square metres of extra pavement space on the TfL network alone. This has enabled more people to social distance while travelling and visiting shops along major high streets in the capital. TfL has also installed a total of 1,540 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs.
The free maps and activity sheets plus the link to submit your results can be found on the British Orienteering website.
More information and resources on walking in the capital can be found on the TfL website.
Photos credits: TfL
The course and activity are specially designed by British Orienteering with the support of local London clubs, South London Orienteers (SLOW) https://slow.org.uk/ and London Orienteering Klubb (LOK) http://londonorienteering.co.uk/