The Greenground: The 'Walker's Tube Map' Has Flourished Into Something Beautiful

By M@

Last Updated 09 April 2024

The Greenground: The 'Walker's Tube Map' Has Flourished Into Something Beautiful
London Greenground map version 3 by Helen Ilus
Click or tap for expanded view. Note: highest resolution version available on the artist's website. (c) Helen Ilus

A new version of the London Greenground map is out, and it connects together hundreds of London parks and green spaces.

At first glance, it looks like a very intense tube map. But the 'London Greenground' map by graphic designer Helen Ilus is instead intended as an inspiration for walkers and cyclists.

The map connects together green spaces, such as parks and woods. It also shows linear walks like canal towpaths and the Thames, Wandle and Lea river paths. It is not intended as a tool for way-finding, but rather as a muse to get you planning days out in the open air.

The London Greenground map has been around for five years, but a new, third version has just been released. It's bigger than ever with some 1,200 places linked together across all 32 boroughs (and one or two places beyond). It also has a different focus, as Helen explains:

"When the first and second maps were all about outdoor activities and covering long distances, the third map encourages you to slow down instead, be mindful of your surrounding environment and truly connect with nature... This map shows where you can find place... to pause and observe nature in a quieter environment. It doesn’t come as a surprise the best air quality and widest green coverage is in the outskirts of the city, but you’ll find hidden gems, wherever you are."

A zoom in of the Greenground Map version 3 showing parts of north london
Map detail. Image (c) Helen Ilus

To help that mission, Helen has included symbols that highlight good birdwatching spots, impressive views, tree shade and particularly quiet oases.

We first featured a nascent form of the map in 2018. Since then it has evolved into something truly inspirational. And because it goes right out to the edge of London, chances are it'll include parks and wild spots near your own home that you weren't aware of.

A fully zoomable, high-resolution version is available on Helen's website. It's free to browse, but it'd be lovely if you could make a small donation via the site, to help support Helen's work.