Retracing London drovers

Fusing hard and soft landscape elements would put green systems to work: trees double as way-finding devices, paving would be both a hard walking surface and a growing medium, and plant species would be selected for biodiversity, trample resistance.

To align with the concept, many of the plants would have seeds that are transferred by animals.

The proposal retraces the route from Hackney to Bishopsgate – the entry point to the City.

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Retracing London drovers' roads

Green infrastructure inspired by a network of ancient roads


From 1300 to 1900, drovers would drive their sheep, cows, and turkeys from pastures in Wales and Scotland to London on foot along a network of ancient roads. These routes still exist in London. Many are still popular desire lines for those on foot.

Focusing on the route from Hackney to Bishopsgate (the entry point to the City), Howard Miller and Rowena Hay propose creating landscapes of living heritage that playfully recall the route's previous use and serve as a reminder that London's food supply is as reliant on its networks now as it was then.

Certain elements would be inspired by drover folk-lore, such as Rowan trees, which were considered lucky. The drovers travelled slowly along their routes to keep their cattle healthy, so there would be spaces for slow activities where people can read, explore and play. Permeable paving with hoof-shaped holes would allow soak-away drainage, while the plodding footsteps set the pedestrian tone for this green route.


Connectivity across the capital


- City of London
- Hackney

Submitted by

Howard Miller and Rowena Hay

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