Southern England is one of the most densely-populated places in Europe. London dominates of course, but there are any number of medium-sized towns, with infilling in between and lengthy patches of suburban sprawl. So it doesn’t sound too good for walkers.
But you would be wrong. Far-sighted post-war planners left ‘green belt’ space around not just London but many other towns as well, which even post-Thatcher free-market policies have not yet been fully able to dismantle, though the present bunch of Tories are having a damn good try.
And, although there is relatively little untamed, open-access land around, there are plenty of ancient rights-of-way which take you deep into the heart of some surprisingly remote patches of countryside.
Carousel pictures: Bodiam Castle and vineyard, Sussex Border Path; West Peckham, Greensand Way; Shooter’s Hill, Capital Ring; Enfield Chase, London Loop; Albury Downs, North Downs Way; Hampton Ferry, Thames Path