please empty your brain below

Excellent post, thank you.
Perhaps you might start using a bike.
I wonder if you've noticed how much further you can see once you do climb your hillock now that air quality has improved so much.

The guidance now says there is no time limit to your daily exercise so you could venture further afield to find some higher ground. I have done some long walks into central London late evening and early morning when there is virtually no one around
I'm not sure when I last ascended or descended a hill, probably when I was last in London. I would probably have to drive for at least an hour to find a hill to climb where I live.
That topographic map site is brilliant, thank you.

Exactly what I was imagining but didn't know existed.
The guidelines say you may leave the house once a day for exercise - it doesn't say how long that exercise should be though. If you wanted to walk to Greenwich and back, is there anything to stop you?

dg writes: The Thames.
I don't fancy the foot tunnel at the moment, or public transport, so it'd be a 15 mile round trip.

MK - my thoughts exactly - hop on a bike, heck, even a "Boris Bike", you can cycle a few miles, walk up and down the hill, and cycle home again all in your allocated hour out of the house.

I'm in a similar position in my part of Munich , flat as a pancake , with only an artificial embankment for a hill near my house. At least we don't have any limits on how long we can leave the house for exercise here, I can tire myself out walking 10-15km in a long loop around my house instead!
What Martin said - the regulations do not specify the duration of the exercise. I don't *think* that the regulations (as opposed to their interpretation in the guideliness) even actually specifies once a day. Only that to take exercise (alone or with members of your household) counts as an 'excuse' under the regulations for leaving - and now, being out of - your home. So why not some longer walks indeed.

On the other hand, the thing I came here to say is that I can't leave the house without encountering a hill (the next parallel road to mine being, according to the BBC, the third steepest street in Britain), and (back in the days when I ledt home) I longed for a bit of flat.
Some lovely maps there! Google maps has a 'terrain' option but the contours disappear when you zoom in for some reason.
My nearest section of countryside (in Hong Kong) is about 1km away horizontally but 300m up so a considerable climb!
I'm giving regular thanks for living very near a decent hill (1000ft). I'm doing long walks up to the top, along and back down about 3 times a week. That's obviously more than an hour, but:
a) the hour is not part of the rules, it's an off-the-cuff Govism
b) almost all the people I pass are on the mile to and from the country, so I increase my social distancing this way compared with a daily round-the-village walk.

I can feel the difference and really can see why you're missing it. My commiserations.
I'm not restricting my daily exercise to one hour. However my nearest proper hill is 6½ miles away, so at least a 13 mile round trip.

Also, regular readers will know that I'm not planning to get on a bike.
Your first photograph reminded me of the now sadly defunct
The Greenwich foot tunnel is currently closed (or at least it was when I tried to use it last Saturday) so getting to the Observatory would involve a lengthy detour via Tower Bridge or a fume-choked ordeal via the Rotherhithe tunnel.
There is also Richmond Hill in South West London.

dg writes: 13 miles from home.
Well the average pace for a UK marathon is just a smidge under 6mph, so if you get into training, allowing for the shorter distance, you might just be able to make that hill and back in an hour(ish).

The continuous bleating is really beginning to get my goat

To those of you who are commenting that there's no actual limit to exercise time in law at present, now more than ever is time to obey the spirit of the law , and stop playing Rumpole of the Bailey looking for loopholes.
My walks consist of trying to avoid hills as my girlfriend is 7.5 months pregnant! But we are fortunate to have plenty of hills and variety and walks from the city streets of Winchester, river meadows, rolling countryside or the edge of the South Downs NP.
The porcelain map is a ting of beauty, and picks out my nearest heights, the stand-alone V-shape of the upper Effra basin, in a very pleasing manner.

On looking at the regulations, I concluded that the limit to my walk is determined by how long I think I'll last before I need a no.3; facilities are very few and far between now, and I don't want to 'go' in parks or behind a wall somewhere. I enjoyed an 8-mile walk on Easter Monday, which reached a stunningly deserted South Bank, but without a good rest or two along the way, was feeling it by the end.

Living on the 5th floor, I make it my business to run up the stairs whenever unencumbered by shopping.
From the Uxbridge Common area, at a rarified 60m, on a clear day we can see Canary Wharf 22 miles distant.
It's a lot easier to 'social distance' going for a long walk in the backwaters than it is going for a short walk to the shops. The possibilities are endless.
Putters, surely the spirit of the law is best observed by getting and remaining as far away as possible from others, not by imposing an arbitrary time limit.
Thanks DG for an interesting post, with some nice pictures.
However, I'm with Putters. When Central London has many rough sleepers made jobless and homeless by restaurants and pubs closing, the least those of us with a home can do is put up with restrictions which, in comparison, are trivial.
I love that porcelain map!

Living along the Wandle river valley means it's not too far to a decent-sized hill, but honestly all the best walking is along the river itself so I haven't really taken advantage.

I was quite surprised when I first moved to London at how hilly parts of the city are. It has a reputation of being fairly flat outside of Hampstead/Highgate.
Thanks for the altitude map. It confirms what I thought and I'm approximately 200ft AMSL in the wild lands of South East London...
I don't care to use the lift in our block of flats. 105 stairs nearly did me in at first. Now I think I'll not use the lift even when we are out of this.
But hills are nicer.
As usual an interesting blog in an insane world. Thanks
I'm fortunate that I live right beside Claybury Park (visited by DG on 27 January 2018) and my daily walk there currently provides very clear views from a modest hill towards central London and beyond.

If anyone is looking for a fold-out topographical map of London, I can recommend one entitled 'The Landscape of London'. It is at a scale of 1:65,000, has an ISBN 978-0-9548428-1-9, and can be found relatively cheaply online (probably secondhand, as it was published in 2009).
I'm lucky (though it doesn't always feel that way!) to live on a road up to Hampstead Heath, so that ANY walk I do involves some sort of climb, and that my daily walk for an hour or so over the heath gives reasonable exercise.
That topographic map is brilliant, I live at 300ft, the tube station is 244ft, my nearest pub is at 377ft, the highest point of the heath is 449ft and the lowest part on the other side 154ft.
Stairs. Living on the 11th floor, a quick walk up the stairs twice a day reminds you of the 'downside' of hills.
Thanks for those maps. It's something I've been looking out for for ages. And also thanks to Alan S for the fold-out suggestion.

I live about 1.5 miles from Harrow Hill and 2 miles from the man-made hills at Northala fields so could walk to them easily if I had the time to spare!
I'm one of the few, it seems, who is just as busy as before the lockdown!
When I was working towards a long-ish distance running event a couple of years ago, I read a book which suggested that my training plan should feature regular hill sessions.

As I live in Lower Clapton, a couple of miles North of DG, I was stumped - until I remembered the Springhill Park climb that he mentions.

The bottom of the hill is approx. 2.5 km from my front door. According to Strava, where (of course) it’s a segment (called "Springhill Struggle") the path is 180m long with a gradient of 5%. Elevation at the top is a giddy 10m above the Lee Navigation footpath.

But, although it’s pretty modest in the great scheme of things the view across the Lee Valley rather nice, especially early in the morning.
I see there are a few commenters who prefer to take the moral high ground.
Well my house is at 84m according to OS and several of my short excersise walks take me over 100m. Not much of a view from them. I was surprised while doing the Ring and Loop last year how high some parts of London are. After the climb up to Kenley Common I definitely needed the conveniently placed seats! Have to wait to do those walks again of course and the local ones are getting a little repetitive.
Living in Sheffield I'm at the opposite extreme as it's virtually impossible to avoid them on my daily walk, although I'm discovering some extra climbs nearby I've never used much and getting some different views over the city.

What I'm missing is the terrain of London. Although I live next to a river it can't compete the the wide and slow moving Thames and views of an entirely different sort. I'll appreciate it even more when I can travel again.
DG I am feeling totally bereft at my current and future loss of public transport. Living one mile North of Congestion Zone for the last 6 years, I have grown to love TFL with a passion. Within a short walk of home there are about 13 different bus numbers I can take. I can walk to the Victoria Line, the Northern Line and London Overground. However, I cannot see myself taking a bus or a train for a very long time. I wouldn't feel very safe on a bicycle.

The shine has gone out of London. I could cry.

On a happier note, from home in N1 I could walk to Hampstead Heath to experience a hill. It's about 3.5 miles each way. Perhaps I can make a day of it, when restrictions lessen. If I'm allowed to sit on a bench, I will take a picnic. That is something to look forward to!
That couldn't possibly be you in the Springfield Park photo, taking a rest during a cycle ride in 2011, dg ??

dg writes: Correct. That couldn't possibly be me.
'Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate'.

(Eliot, Burnt Norton.)

Why he chose those hills, some of which are not very hilly, is unclear. Though the Kensington hills, Campden and Notting, though not very high, look quite hilly when you are close to them.
Thanks for the post DG. The interactive map is brilliant.

As for hills, they are not a feature of where I live out in the wilds of Essex. In fact I live on one of the highest spots in my village, at a towering 10 metres above Sea Level.

My nearest hill / significant gradient is also about 3 miles away, and to climb that would only get me up to about 100 feet. So going anywhere to get some decent hill walking is sadly out of the question for now.
One of the clear benefits of the current hiatus is being able to look forward to seeing how DG can craft a blog post out of (almost) nothing. Keep up the good work Sir!
The steps up/down to the foot tunnel - are they open? That's equiv to a little hill surely.
Fascinating post DG. Thanks. Topographic-map website is brilliant and I often use this in presentations. It is addictive for me and is the only way I can exercise with hills at this time.

Your lockdown posts are excellent and we look forward to the new surprise each morning.
You are quite right. Here in SE London there are plenty of options for walks involving hills, even if it's just down to the river and back. Or up Shooters Hill if you're feeling energetic.
The Greenwich Foot tunnel is not closed at all times. It is closed at weekends (because crowds make it Impossible to observe the recommended 2m distance). It's open from early Monday morning until Friday evening, though access is supposedly restricted to essential workers who need to cross.

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