The Capital Ring, by Colin Saunders, is an guide to walking the eponymous route, a 78 mile circular walk around inner London (generally Zones 3-4), one of London’s official long-distance walking trails.
The book, a new (2014) edition, is presented in an attractive, compact format with rounded corners, so ideal for chucking in a bag when walking the trail. The new edition means that the book will have taken into account minor changes to the route that happen from time to time due to housing developments and other aspects of London’s continuing evolution. The route is split up into 15 sections, all between 3 and 8 miles long and generally starting/finishing at or near stations (with short link sections where necessary).
The book makes excellent use of Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25000) mapping, with different map excerpts for each mile or so of the trail, appearing inline with the route description. The route itself is overlaid in yellow on these maps. Generally, this makes the map useful for navigating, except in some small sections where the route is complicated and the yellow line is a little broad and the scale a bit small (the Ordnance Survey’s own “official” green diamond marks for the route also appear on the maps, which can further confuse). There, you’ll need to follow the route description carefully. The route itself is waymarked on the ground with posts and signs but sometimes these are missing, which is where the book comes in particularly useful.
The clear and concise route descriptions, and annotated mapping, are augmented by short descriptions of features and trivia of local interest. The walk generally passes through interesting parts of London all the way long, so the book has many such pieces. Some of these are illustrated by photographs:
Your reviewer test-walked a section near Stoke Newington and found the guide’s navigation effective, and learnt some new things about an area he thought he knew well! If you are looking for a good walk and a great guide to it, that illuminates just how green and varied London’s “inner city” is, you could do a lot worse than with this book.
Get it here on Amazon: Capital Ring. (Make sure you get the newest edition, reviewed here, which has an orange cover.)
Thanks to publisher Aurum Press for sending me a review copy. ISBN 9781781313374. List price is £12.99.