Thames Path voted UK's No one for walking — even if blocked in places
- Credit: Daniel McCurry
Lawyer Dan McCurry’s dream to open up all the Thames foreshore to the public got a boost this week from a national survey showing it is already Britain’s most popular attraction for walking where it's accessible.
The survey of 2,000 walkers put the Thames Path at number one — above national treasures like the Lake District, Cornish coast, Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia or the Cotswolds.
It was “flat and accessible to all ages and abilities”, unlike hilly, mountain or coastal walks.
“The Great British public have made the Thames Path the top choice,” a spokesman for Pavers footwear, which ran the survey, said. “It has major attractions along the entire route.”
That comes as no surprise to the 55-year-old lawyer from Bow who has been campaigning to open the foreshore from Tower Bridge to the Isle of Dogs since 2019.
Dan got a boost in March when Tower Hamlets Council earmarked £500,000 for riverfront amenities that could help extend the Thames Path into east London.
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On learning about the survey, he told the East London Advertiser: “Slowly but surely people are waking up to the fact that the Thames Path is the greatest natural resource.
“Some think the Thames is a dirty industrial area — but it's changed into a place of beauty.
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“It can only get better with the council getting behind our campaign.”
He has backing from councillors, London Assembly members and community groups — but has hit stumbling blocks along the way where private developments extend right down to the waterline.
Cllr Ehtasham Haque said: “Everyone should be able to walk here, not just the privileged few who bought houses by the river. The view belongs to everyone.”
Dan's idea to bypass these obstacles is to project walkways on stilts out onto the riverbed.
The Turk’s Head charity in Wapping, which has its own project to rebuild the historic Wapping Stairs down to the foreshore, is behind Dan's ideas. The charity’s Amanda Day said: “We need to see the river that made London what it is.
"None of us would be here without the Thames.”
The chance to extend the Thames Path eastward beyond Tower Bridge was lost by planning decisions after the Millwall Docks and London Docks closed in the 1970s. Decisions were outside Tower Hamlets’ control at the time.