So I'm planning this circular walk around London using the M25 orbital as a guidance and starting at Heathrow Airport. However, there's an issue towards the start of the walk where there's a footpath up to where the A40/Oxford Road up to where it meets Tatling End, and then it just disappears as you get to the A413/Amersham Road. Would it be safe to walk along the edge of this road, or would it be safer to find an alternative route?

  • It looks possible to avoid it on smaller roads, but they might not be much better. I'll look on street view later if no one else does first
    – Chris H
    Jun 27, 2020 at 15:29
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    From looking at street view: there's a layby/track from the M25 underpass to the sewage works, but crossing the dual carriageway after that looks risky (perfectly legal, and there's even a sign on the A413 warning of horse riders as the bridleway merges from the north, but I still wouldn't fancy it myself). It looks much safer to take a small detour through Denham, to me.
    – user3245
    Jun 27, 2020 at 16:18
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    A circular walk near the 117-mile M25 orbital route around London is quite an undertaking. FYI there is a documented 78-mile circular route further in. Capital Ring Walk. Jun 27, 2020 at 20:54
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    Have you looked at the London LOOP walk en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Outer_Orbital_Path? This is an established route which follows roughly the M25. For the section near Heathrow this follows the Grand Union Canal, just East of Denham.
    – aucuparia
    Jun 30, 2020 at 7:47

2 Answers 2


Your question asked "would it be safe".

My answer is that yes, it would be (reasonably) safe. There are several roads like that near me where even school kids have to walk on the grass to get to their house from the bus stop as there is no footpath. The A413 has similar bus stops. One danger I find is twisting your ankle in the drainage dips that will be every hundred yards or so but hidden in the grass. That and the bottles, cans and other rubbish that has been thrown out of car windows. Of course that also might make you fall into the road.

Keep as far from the roadway as possible as the Bernoulli effect will cause the air to push you towards fast moving traffic that passes you, also the drivers are likely to not be paying too much attention when they see no footpath.

But essentially, if you keep as far away from the traffic as you would had been had there been a footpath, the only physical difference is the terrain.


I cannot say with any certainty whether it is safe. As safe as can be walking along the side of a busy road. However, you might take a look at Iain Sinclair's long and history packed walk around London in his London Orbital. Iain Sinclair didn't get knocked down walking around the orbit of London.

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