London Green Belt Way  

[Home[Route GBW] [GBW 1] [GBW 2] [GBW 3] [GBW 4] [GBW 5] [GBW 6] [GBW 7] [GBW 8] [GBW 9] [GBW 10] [GBW 11] [GBW 12]

 [GBW 13] [GBW 14] [GBW 15] [GBW 16] [GBW 17] [GBW 18] [GBW 19] [GBW 20] [GBW 21] [GBW 22] [FullRoute] [Linking Paths]

Stage 10 - Cheshunt Station  to  Epping Station  (11.65 miles)

Start: Grid Reference TL3692302358  Post Code EN8 9AJ StreetMap

If you just want to print out the "Route" instructions of stage 10 of this walk, without all the blurb on the website, you can download this as a Word Docx by clicking on the link.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

Start on the River Lee Walk near Cheshunt Station and follow if for 2.8 miles to Swan & Pike Pool. Then join the London Loop for 1.8 miles. After leaving the London Loop we cut thru' a golf course to Lippitts Hill, then onto High Beach in Epping Forest. We follow paths thru' the forest to join Green Ride / Centenary Walk and follow this all the way to Epping Station. The first 3.8 miles are flat and easy, the rest is hilly and undulating and can get muddy in places.

To get to the start, from Cheshunt Station, turn right along Windmill Lane. After 100 yards cross bridge over Small River Lea, then stay straight on, under height restriction, into Lee Valley Regional Park. After another 150 yards you reach the Navigation towpath. Turn right along towpath.

Waltham Common Lock is reached after just 0.3 miles, the next on our route, many paths lead off in different directions and one also crosses a footbridge over the Navigation. The path to the right soon splits to veer both north and south. The north path follows the Small River Lee through Turnershill Marsh and after 600 yards comes out onto to Windmill Lane next to Cheshunt railway station, The south path soon crosses over the Small River Lee and continues south along the east edge of Bowyers Water an ex-gravel pit, excavated by hand in the 1920s and now fishing lake and wildlife sanctuary with some small islands in the middle. The lake is a popular place for birdwatchers, has some beautiful water plants and covers an area of 35 acres. The path, to the left, across the footbridge and over the Lee Navigation leads past the bottom corner of Friday Lake and over a second footbridge across another channel, then splits to follow different paths through Hall Marsh and along different streams.

Above, I have only listed the main paths in this area. There are just so many and the go off all over the place, following different rivers, going around the numerous lakes and crossing the many marshes. With the rivers, it's not bad enough that nobody can decide whether it's the Lea or Lee, we also have the Lee Navigation, River Lea, Old River Lea, Small River Lea, Powdermill Cut, Cornmill Stream and Horsemill Stream. Thank God, the route we travel is a simple one. 

80 yards after the lock, look across the canal to see the start of the Powder Mill Cut. This was the stream that supplied water to the Royal Gunpowder Mills.

After another 0.6 miles the Lee Navigation Path passes under another bridge. To the left, over the canal, leads to more paths going off in different directions across Waltham Marsh. To the right it soon splits, with wide footpath going north west through Cheshunt Marsh and a road turning left to car park at the Lee Valley White Water Centre (official website). This was opened on 9 December 2010 by Princess Anne. You can watch "Lee Valley White Water Centre Launch" at YouTube and also an aerial video of the centre. This venue hosted the London 2012 canoe slalom events with temporary seating for 12,000 spectators. Today it is used for canoe slalom and white-water rafting and is open for public use. It's also just a couple of hundred yards east of here where the famous Royal Gunpowder Mills stand, but as far as I know there is not enough bridges across all the rivers to reach there. However, new things appear all the time on maps and who knows? I'll may come back to this later. 

After another 400 yards the towpath passes Waltham Town Lock and within a short distance goes under the A121 road bridge (Station Road). For tall people it may mean bending down as the road bridge is low - so why it's called Highbridge Street is not clear. Just right of the towpath, on the south side of the A121, stood The Old English Gentleman Pub. It was closed in 2005 and has since been demolished. Just past this, was a small industrial estate and backing onto the river is the Riverside Cafe. On updating (June 2020) some of the industrial estate has been replaced by a riverside residential development and the Riverside Cafe may no-longer be there.

If you wish to divert and visit the Royal Gunpowder Mills, leave the towpath just before going under the A121. Turn left towards Waltham Abbey and over the road bridge. After 100 yards turn left into Beaulieu Drive which leads to the mills.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills started off as fulling mills for cloth production, set up by the monks of Waltham Abbey. In the early 17th Century the mills were converted to producing vegetable oils. This only lasted for a few years as with a shortage of gunpowder during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665 - 1667) the mills were again converted, but this time to producing gun powder. The mills were taken over by the British Government in 1787 and prospered during the French Revolution Wars (1792 - 1802), the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815) cumulating in the Battle of Waterloo (1815). Production also increased during the Crimean War (1853 - 1856) with Russia and the Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) in South Africa. The mills were again in full production during World War I and for the start of World War II. The workforce more than doubled to over 6,000 and, like most other factories at the time, mainly consisted of women. However, in 1943 production moved away to the west and north where it was further out of the reach of German bombs. Production of gunpowder from the mills at Waltham Abbey was not just used for wars. There was much research and many scientific developments happened here during the centuries. The place is unique and also helped with construction as well as destruction. During and after the 18th Century explosives made here played a major part in the Industrial Revolution and what followed. It was used for quarrying and mining, blowing out tunnels and cuttings for railways and other transport links. After 1943 the site lay closed until 1945. It was then reopened and used by the government for research into rocket fuel and ejection seats for planes. The government finally ceased using the mills in 1991 and much of the land on the south of the site was sold. Today The Royal Gunpowder Mills cover an area of 175 acres of natural parkland. It is recognised as an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage and boasts 21 buildings of major historic importance.

The church and the centre of Waltham Abbey are only a short walk from the Lee Navigation and there is a lot of history to see by making a slight detour. I think it's worth the mention I give it below.

The earliest recorded history of the town at Waltham Abbey dates back to the reign of King Canute (d. 1035), when a member of the Royal Court, Tovi the Proud, brought a miraculous stone cross (the Holy Rood) from his estate in Somerset. From this is derived the area's old name, Waltham Holy Cross. There are many different versions of this story, but the general gist of it is as follows. Legend has it the local blacksmith dreamt that on a hilltop at Montacute, 15 miles south of Glastonbury, a holy treasure was buried. Excavations uncovered a slate (or flint) cross. Tovi at the time was standard bearer to King Canute and owner of the lands in the area. He placed the cross on a cart pulled by 12 white and 12 red oxen. He wanted to take the cross and put it on display at Glastonbury Abbey. However, the oxen refused to go in the right direction. Instead they made their way across country and didn't stop till they got to Waltham. Tovi took this as a sign and built a small wooden church on the spot to house the cross. The cross soon got a reputation for causing miracles and visions and thus became a place of pilgrimage. Many years later Edward the Confessor granted these lands to Earl Harold Godwinson (1020 - 1066). Harold suffered a mysterious illness which caused him to become paralysed. However, he was miraculously cured and he believed this was due to his prayers to the Holy Cross at Waltham. He showed his thanks by building a great stone church at Waltham fit to house the cross. He also set up a monastery and installed secular cannons.

Harold was Earl of East Anglia from 1044 and on the death of his father in 1053 also succeeded to the Earldom of Wessex. He became the most powerful man in England and was at the right hand of the king - Edward the Confessor. Titles for his three brothers Tostig, Gyrth and Leofwine soon followed. However, due to a Northumbrian revolt in 1065 he relieved Tostig of his title and exiled him. This he would soon regret.

The throne of England had been promised by Edward the Confessor to his cousin Duke William of Normandy. Harold did have his own good reason to make a claim. However, after being shipwrecked off the coast of Normandy in 1064, under some duress Harold swore and signed an oath which said he would back William's claim. Everything changed course on Edward's deathbed when he declared Harold to be his rightful successor. Edward died on 5th January 1066. Harold wasted no time and had himself crowned as King of England the next day. Harold II as king now faced two others claims to his throne, the Duke William of Normandy and King Harald III of Norway backed by his own exiled brother Tostig. Whilst Harold was waiting for an expected invasion from William in the south, his brother and the King of Norway landed in the north. Harold had to march his armies north to meet this invasion. He defeated the invading army and killed both men at Stamford Bridge, near York, on 25th September 1066. In the meantime, William, using Harold's written oath to his own claim to the English throne, had gained Papal backing and three days after the battle at York he landed in England at Pevensey. Harold marched south to meet his second invasion. On the way he is said to have stopped off at Waltham to pray for victory to the Holy Cross. However, legend has it that as he looked up the figure on the cross bowed its head and this was taken as a bad omen.

His army, depleted and tired, marched to meet William. The two armies met near Hastings on 14th October 1066. Harold was said to shout as his charge "The Holy Cross". His defeat is recorded in the Bayeux Tapestry which now resides at the Bateaux Tapestry Museum in northern France. It depicts him being killed by an arrow through the eve. His brothers Gyrth and Leofwin were also killed at the Battle of Hastings. There is lots of information and photos of panels of the tapestry on Wikipedia.

William's accession to the throne as King William I on 25th December 1066 meant Harold would be the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. History records that after the battle William entrusted William Malet (or better known as Gulliaume) to attend the burial of the dead English King. It is said that Harold's body was buried under a bunch of stones on a hill overlooking the sea. Malet placed a stone on the grave with the inscription.

"By command of the Duke, you rest here as a King, O Harold, that you may be guardian still of sea and shore"

Later Harold's body was taken to Waltham to be re-buried. Two stones, just east of the Abbey, is where his body is believed to lie. The inscriptions on one stone reads:

"THIS STONE MARKS THE POSITION OF THE HIGH ALTAR BEHIND WHICH KING HAROLD IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN BURIED 1066",

The inscription on the other is a bit more to the point,

"HAROLD KING OF ENGLAND OBVT 1066".

Under William the Conqueror the power and wealth of the church which Harold had built at Waltham diminished. However, in 1177 Henry II, as a penance for his killing of Thomas Becket (Archbishop of Canterbury), refounded Harold's church as an Augustinian Priory and in 1184 it was raised to Abbey status becoming one of the most powerful in England. 

Waltham Abbey prospered during Norman Times. The "Holy Cross" was a religious place for many pilgrims including Henry II who visited many times. Other royalty and nobility also came to pray and pay their respect. 

Eleanor of Castile, Queen Consort to Edward I (aka Longshanks) became feverish at Harby in Nottinghamshire on her way to Lincoln to meet the king. The king travelled south to his sick spouse only to see her be given the last rites and listen to her final words. She died on 28th November 1290. The queen's remains were taken to the Gilbertine Priory of St Catherine at Sempringham, just south of Lincoln where her body was embalmed. Her internal organs were buried in a tomb at Lincoln Cathedral which still exists, and her embalmed body set off on the long journey back to London to be buried at Westminster Abbey. On the way to London the funeral cortege, often led by the king, stopped off at many places. Shortly afterwards at each stop on the journey Edward I had a cross erected as a memorial to her. In total twelve Eleanor Crosses were built. These were at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham (now Waltham Cross), Westcheap and Charing Cross.

Eleanor's funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on 17th December 1290. Her body is said to have remained at Waltham Abbey for a few days in preparation. Her heart was buried separately at in the Dominican Priory at Blackfriars in London. Of all the twelve crosses which were made, only three survive. Waltham Cross is one. Some sources claim it has been moved from its original position to where it now stands, over a mile west of Waltham Abbey at Waltham Cross and almost a mile west of where our route crosses the A121.

When Edward I (1237 - 1307) died his body lay in state at Waltham Abbey for many weeks before his burial at Westminster Abbey.

It was at Waltham Abbey during the early 16th Century where King Henry VIII first met Thomas Cranmer and thus began the process which led to the English Reformation.

The ruins of the old abbey, which are visible in the grounds of the Abbey Church, contain the oldest Norman works in the country. The Abbey was the last in the country to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540, when Robert Fuller, the last Abbot, surrendered to the king. The tower, at the west end of the church which now dominates the town, was built in 1556 using materials from the demolished abbey. It was built at the opposite side to the old tower to stabilise the leaning 12th Century nave which survived the dissolution, as the nave belonged to the townsfolk and not the church.

There are many other things of interest to see in the grounds of the Abbey (see informative video at YouTube). The Cornmill Stream flows through the Abbey Gardens and this is crossed by a 14th Century stone bridge, named "Harold's Bridge". There are walls and other remains of the Priory and Abbey, and the 14th Century Lady Chapel and crypt have been converted to a visitor's centre and shop. Each year in October a "King Harold Day" is held in Abbey gardens to remember the last Saxon king.

The town of Waltham Abbey has many old buildings with wooden frames, such as the Welsh Harp and Sun Inns. In front of The Crown Pub in Romeland is a well dating from 1877. The Prime Meridian Line cuts through the town and is marked by a mosaic in the Abbey Grounds and by a plaque in Sun Street. The Epping Forest District Museum is in Sun Street. The museum comprises of two timber framed houses dating from 1520.  It shows the history of the area from Stone Age to present day, and admission is free.

Continue south along the River Lee Navigation footpath from Waltham Abbey.

For the next mile to the north tip of Enfield Island the course of the River and the Navigation are one, whilst the Flood Relief Channel also flows parallel just a very short distance to the east.

Shortly after the Highbridge Road the towpath crosses a footbridge over the entrance to a small marina and continues south with a large industrial estate fenced off to the right and the canal to the left. Soon the route passes under the M25 (at 1.65 miles) and the industrial estate is replaced by the open greenery of Rammey Marsh. On reaching Rammey Marsh Lock look back to see the blue motorway bridge in the distance. Blue seems to be the standard colour to paint bridges carrying motorways over rivers. Maybe it's part of government policy - an election manifesto promise which has been adhered too.

A footbridge, over the southern end of the lock leads to the Narrowboat Cafe. I've never visited, but looking at their Facebook page, Jeremy Corbyn did in May 2020, so it could be a good place for a break.

Just before the lock, across the river, is Rammey Marsh Cruising Club, and before and after the lock, on the opposite side of the river, boats line the bank. This is one of the many small communities of river-folk who have become so common on London's waterways. Possibly the cause of a never-ending housing shortage, or just as a way of being different and getting away from the mass-produced postage stamp plots of the modern-day dwellings. Whichever the reason, these people tend to take pride in their homes and add to the interest and scenery of their surroundings.

The route continues along the Lee Navigation and after another 500 yards the Old River Lee goes off to the left and behind the old cottages of Government Row. Then 500 yards later we pass under a new road bridge providing access to the modern housing development of Enfield Island Village. This consists of just over 1,300 properties, has its own small shopping area, some green space and a boat basin in the middle. The housing was built between 1997 and 2003. The island is bounded by the River Lee Flood Relief Channel to the east and by the Old River Lee to the west. The basin was originally used for loading arms onto barges but is no longer connected to the river. In the centre is a solitary narrowboat, the Harold Turpin, named after the man who developed the Sten Gun. It was taken away to be repainted and returned in 2010. You can watch a video of its return at YouTube. For up to date information on the area visit the Enfield Island Village Trust website.

The old cottages of Government Row front onto the navigation from the opposite bank for the next half a mile to Enfield Lock. The lock was built in 1811 to keep the water level in the canal navigable. The adjacent lock-keeper's cottage was built at the same time and Government Row cottages were built to house local factory workers in 1816. The row of houses is quite unique in having the canal flowing past their fronts and the Old River Lee flowing past the bottom of their back gardens.

Immediately after Enfield Lock we part company with the Lee Valley Path by turning left to cross over the canal. We also join the London Loop here and follow it for 1.8 miles. It is waymarked.

The Lee Valley Path continues for 13 miles to the River Thames at Bow. On the way it passes through the site of the London 2012 Olympic Park (now renamed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) at Stratford. 

The London Loop is a 150 mile path around Outer London. It was pioneered by the London Walking Forum, was officially opened in 2001 and is London's first official orbital footpath. The circular route consists of 24 sections between Erith Station and Purfleet. You can read the instructions for this section HERE.

In front, where we crossed the canal, stood Rifles Pub, It closed in 2008, was derelict for a few years, then demolished, and is now flats. The pub took its name from the old Royal Small Arms Factory on Enfield Island. The factory began in 1816 and through the years produced swords, muskets and rifles for the British Armed Forces. It was privatised in 1984, and later bought by British Aerospace, but closed in 1988. It is famous for the Lee Enfield Rifle, designed by James Lee, and named after him and not the river. The main square around which the arms factory was built is also called after him and still retains his name today. There is a canal basin in the centre of the square and there are many other old listed buildings to see. Some have been converted to shops, cafes, workshops and a small museum. They provide a communal centre for the adjacent new housing development. For more information visit the Royal Small Arms Island Centre website or the Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield Apprentices Association "for all ex-Apprentices who "served their time" at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock".

Immediately over the canal turn right, signed London Loop, through a metal barrier, and onto the towpath. The canal is now on your RHS.

After 130 yards cross a footbridge, then immediately over, turn left on a footpath along the edge of Swan & Pike Pool leading to the entrance to a car park. Cross over the entrance of the car park onto a footpath, soon passed a metal gate, to your RHS, and onto a path, signed London Loop.

Swan & Pike Pool is shown on an information notice board. It is a pleasant place to sit next to the river as it widens to a large pool. It was named after a local pub of the same name and was formally a basin for barges to turn and a Victorian bathing pool. Today it is a popular place for anglers. 

The path turns right with another branch of the river to your LHS. After 45 yards stay straight on keeping the river to your left and ignoring the footbridge over the river to Enfield Island.

Just before the footbridge is an information board entitled, "Enfield Lock Heritage Trail Board 3 of 4". It says how the bridge was originally built in 1915 to carry goods trains serving the Royal Small Arms Factory and by 1917 was handling 70 trucks per day. You can read the board by downloading the largest image at Geograph.

Continue straight on along the towpath for another 350 yards to where the path veers right and then turns left to cross a footbridge over a branch stream used as an intake for the nearby reservoir - you can see the huge wall of the reservoir to the right.

All the while to the left the opposite bank is lined with trees and behind them are modern houses and open spaces on Enfield Island.

Once over the footbridge (at 3 miles) the path continues next to the river for 230 yards then turns left to cross the river via a footbridge and onto the southernmost part of Enfield Island. Once over the bridge follow the path to another footbridge after 60 yards - this time over the Flood Relief Channel.

On crossing this third bridge to the right is a tall and long grassy bank. This is the King George V Reservoir, the largest within the Greater London boundary, covering an area of 420 acres. Adjacent and immediately south of it is the William Girling Reservoir, covering an area of 334 acres. Collectively they are known as the Chingford Reservoirs and provide a large percentage of the capital's water supply.

Before leaving the River Lea, for the final time, there's a very appropriate song by Adele about the river. Though I'm not sure if it's the River Lea, Lee, New River Lee, Old River Lea, Small River Lea or some other version of the Lea or Lee.

Immediately over the footbridge, follow the path as it veers left towards some trees and to and through a wooden kissing gate. Stay straight on past a grass path going left and at fork stay right following the signs of the London Loop.

The path veers right and then through some trees. Soon the path widens to a lane and eventually leads through metal bollards to a road with a small parking / turning area to the right.

Stay straight on along the pavement staying on the LHS of the road (Godwin Close) until it reaches a T-junction with a main road - the A112 (Sewardstone Road). 

The parkland we passed through from the last footbridge to Godwin Close is Sewardstone Marsh. This is a nature reserve and is part of the Lee Valley Regional Park. and is an open green area for wildlife, for people to enjoy and greatly used by locals to walk their dogs. Just before exiting the park to Godwin Close we cross the Prime Meridian Line for the third time. However, when I last visited there was not a marker for this next to the path. 

Sewardstone takes its name from "Seward's ton (farmstead)". It was first recorded in 1177 when Henry II made a grant of lands here to the canons of Waltham Abbey. Although, not within the boundary of Greater London it still falls within the London post code area as E4 and thus has a section on many  Hidden London. Across Sewardstone Road from Godwin Close is Netherhouse Farm. It has a restaurant and the old farmhouse dates from the 18th century and is grade 2 listed.

At the end of Godwin Close turn right along the main road (A112) for 100 yards.

On reaching Sewadstone Close (to your RHS), cross the road to climb a stile, to the right of a metal gate and into a field. There are two paths, one goes straight on along the edge of the field, the other goes diagonally across the field at an angle to the right and is signed London Loop. Follow the path diagonally to the right, staying with the route of the London Loop.

On Sunday mornings, and some bank holidays, you may encounter a car boot sale in this field and will have to find your way through it.

At the opposite corner exit the field via a stile. Then straight on along a farm track towards a tree covered hill.

The climb up through the fields is a pleasant one. On clear days there are great views over the King George V & William Girling Reservoirs to London.

After 320 yards follow the track right, then after another 170 yards left. Look out for a stile on the right (itís easy to miss this). Cross the stile to follow a path through a narrow wood.

At the end of the wood cross a stile and follow the fence on the left to reach another stile. Immediately bear to the left. Walk up the sleeper steps and over the track to the stile in front. Follow the way-marker directions across the field to the next stile. Cross this stile and track to the path on the other side.

We are now in Epping Forest and again look right for the view over the reservoir and beyond. 

On entering a wood (and just before reaching a road - Daws Hill) turn left and onto path through the woods and eventually out onto a lane.

At this point we depart ways with the route of the London Loop as it turns right on its journey to Chingford.

Just a few yards south of here, across Daws Road, is Gilwell Park. The park can trace its history back to the early 15th Century when the local area was called Gyldiefords. In the middle 15th Century a farmhouse was built and stood for 300 years. In 1754 it was replaced by a much larger manor house called Osborne Hall. A few decades later the house was inherited by William and Margaret Chinnery. In 1793 they took up residence and renamed it Gilwell Hall. They were a wealthy family and were often visited by King George III and later by his son George IV. William Chinnery worked for the British Treasury and in 1812 was sacked for embezzlement. Margaret was forced to sign over the Gilwell Estate to the Exchequer. It is claimed that Margaret's ghost haunts the park and has often been seen along the Lime Walk that she planted.

By 1919 the house and grounds had fallen into great decline. However, that year, due to a generous donation, it was purchased by the Scouts and became their first outdoor camping park. During World War II it was used by the War Ministry as a local command centre and training camp. After the war it was handed back to the Scouts. Since then the Scouts Association acquired surrounding lands to enlarge the park to its present size of over 100 acres. Today it is the Scouts Headquarters, is used for their training, for both outdoor and indoor activities and also as a conference centre and place to stay. Gilwell Hall still stands as a large house in the centre of the park and is just now aptly named The White House. The name Gilwell seems to originate from the original name and means "meadow spring" or "meadow well".

Many sources claim Gilwell Park was once the home of Baden-Powell (1857 - 1941), the founder of the Scout's Movement. However, although he came to stay and camp many times, he never lived here.

Turn left along the lane for 280 yards to just past some isolated houses. A few yards after passing a metal barrier and immediately past the last house turn right at a junction of bridleways, signed Lippitts Hill. Follow this east for 200 yards to a golf course (West Essex Golf Club).

On reaching the golf course veer left to follow the bridleway across a fairway to a line of trees. Follow the bridleway along the line of trees for another 570 yards and out onto a road (Lippitts Hill).

NOTE: Be careful crossing the golf course as sometimes the route can be diverted. Also be wary of golfers playing as you could get struck by a ball or put golfers off their game.

Through the fence, to the right of the bridleway, is the Metropolitan Police Training Centre and their firearms training centre. It was home to the Met Police Air Support Unit until 2017, when it was moved to North Weald Airfield. As you along here you may hear some gunshots, but I wouldn't worry as it's just the firearms officers training.

During World War II this was used as a military base by the US Marines and towards the end the wars as a prisoner of war camp by the British. Also, shortly before the road is the EAAGA memorial. The Essex Anglo-American Goodwill Association commemorates the work here of the US Army 184th anti-aircraft artillery battalion in defending London during WWII. You can read more at the Lippitts Hill entry on Wikipedia. 

Turn right along the road for 70 yards, then turn left, onto a gravel drive, signed "Bridleway, Mott Street 0.5 m" (this is the drive to Day's Farm) at 5.3 miles.

Lippitts Hill is an interesting and secluded place with only a minor road running through it. A short distance further along the road is the pleasant pub The Owl, behind which sits Pipers Farm and the Willows Rustic Camping and Caravanning. The area was a popular place for poets and you can read more about the local Poets' Walk (see map).

Three houses at Lippitts Hill made up the "lunatic asylum" run by Dr Matthew Allen. Springfield House is just a few hundred yards south west of The Owl, Lippitts Hill Lodge is just this and Fairmead House was 500 yards further along on Church Road. They were all near to the, now demolished, old High Beach Church of St Paul. Springfield House was for the more difficult patients, Lippitts Hill Lodge was for the men. A blue plaque, overlooking the road, states "John Clare The Famous Poet lived here in Lippitts Hill Lodge 1837 - 1841". Fairmead House was for the women. It was demolished and a large house, named Suntrap, was built on the site in 1894. Originally this was a children's tuberculosis sanatorium. In 1967, the London Borough of Waltham Forest bought Suntrap for 500 pounds to create a centre to provide environmental education for children in the borough. It is now the Suntrap Forest Centre.

John Clare (1793 - 1864), the "peasant poet" was admitted to the asylum in 1937 suffering from delusions. Whilst here he was allowed to walk freely around the forest, and wrote some of his best works. He most likely had a few encounters with Alfred Tennyson, later Lord and Poet Laureate, who lived with his mother at the nearby Beech Hill Park between 1837 and 1840. Tennyson became friendly with Dr Allen and often visited the asylum. 

Tennyson's mother was a nervous person and he didn't like not to be with her at night. He would often travel to London to meet with his friends, but would always return home by evening. It was in St Paul's churchyard where he wrote part of the poem "In Memoriam". 

This area is still very like it was then with many large houses occupied by the wealthy. Many of these would have financed the church and paid a yearly fee to have their own seat. Tennyson and his mother were "seat-holders" at St Paul's. However, High Beach Church history suggests Tennyson seemed to prefer those in the asylum to some of the gentry:

"Tennyson visited the Asylum and was reported as being "delighted with the mad people ... the most agreeable and the most reasonable persons he has met with".  He was "greatly taken" with Dr Allen, but not enthusiastic about his other neighbours.  "Large set dinners", he wrote, "with stores of venison and champagne, are very good things of their kind, but one wants something more;  and Mrs Arabin seems to me the only person about who speaks and acts as an honest and true nature dictates".  The venison and champagne dinners must have been at the Manor House, Captain Sotheby as Lord of the Manor having an entitlement of Forest deer."

In July 1841, Clare decided to make his escape and walk 80 miles home to his birthplace of Helpston in Northamptonshire. The walk took three and a half days and he later wrote about it in his book "Journey Out of Essex". His walk home to freedom, happiness, and to a long lost love would turn out to be a sad one and many years later was revisited by Iain Sinclair in his book "The Edge of Orison". In December 1841 Clare was committed to a lunatic asylum in Northampton and continued to produce great works until his death in 1864. There is no one link which really sums up this great writer, so in 1981 the John Clare Society was founded "to promote a deeper knowledge of this remarkable poet".

Although a pleasant and scenic place, there is a dark story to the area. In 1970 Lippitts Hill was in the news due to a case which became known as the "Babes in Woods" killings. Two local children from Enfield disappeared in March 1970 and their bodies were found almost 11 weeks later by a man walking his dogs in the local woods. They had been drugged, sexually assaulted, killed, placed in a copse and covered with twigs. The case was only solved thirty years later when convicted pedophile Ronald Jebson confessed to the murders.

After 50 yards and just before the lane turns left, turn right onto a narrow track / bridleway (Pepper Alley). Follow this past a derelict barn and across an area of scrubland. At the far end of the scrubland, at a junction of tracks, turn right and past High Beach Cricket Club to your RHS. Pepper Alley is enclosed along here and leads to a road (Mott Street).

Turn right along the road, soon past Wallsgrove House to the right (it's a big house behind a big wall and was once home to the Baring family, owners of a bank of the same name).

Follow Mott Street as it veers left and past Church Road to your RHS (at 6 miles). The entrance to the Manor House is to the left.

After another 100 yards, at a crossroads, turn right signed High Beach Church. Then after 160 yards, turn left into Church Lane.

As you turn into Church Lane the graveyard is to your right and High Beach Church is in front. Holy Innocents Church was built in 1873 to replace the older St Paul's which. It was designed by Arthur Blomfield at a cost of 5,500 pounds, which was paid by Thomas Baring of Wallsgrove House and named after two children of the Baring family who had died in infancy. Although, nestled in the woods, the spire is 125 feet and sticks out above the tree-line, as you can see from this video. 

Nothing, above ground, remains of St Paul's Church. It was about a third of a mile southwest on the east side of Church Road.

Turn right through the lychgate and straight on along the path past the church.

If time permits and Holy Innocents Church is open, then why not have a look inside. There is a lot of information on the church website and a detailed histories on both of the High Beach Churches.

Just past the church, veer left onto a path through the trees. After 230 yards the path leads out onto a road. Turn left along the road. 

You can walk along the road or use the grass verge. The road is named Paul's Nursery Road, but on some maps is labelled as High Beach. The name comes from an old plant nursery, to our right as we walk. I'm not sure how old it is, but it is shown on an 1895 map at Francis Frith. According to City of London:

"Paul's Nursery, once a famous plant nursery, is now a span of mixed woodland and grassland; but the exotic plants once grown here can still be found. Rhododendrons, azaleas and numerous other flowers offer bright colours in the summer."

Soon to the left is a large pond and shortly after this is Beech Hall Studios. The white house next to this used to have two blue plaques on its front wall. One is to Frank R Clark (artist & goldsmith) and the other to Fred Speakman, 20th Century naturalist and author.

Soon we approach The King's Oak to our right, with the openness of High Beach Green across the road to our left. The present hotel / pub building dates from c1887 and was built on the site of an older inn of the same name. The building has a lot of stories to tell. The name seems to come from an ancient tree, named King Harold's Oak which sat on the green opposite the hotel, but is no-longer there (see link). The pub is said to be haunted, I'm not sure by how many ghosts, one is said to be the ghost of a young girl who reportedly drowned nearby. Behind the King's Oak is a 100 ft long swimming pool, built in the 1930s, the King's Oak Lido, and behind this was the High Beach Speedway. According to the link, the speedway was originally a cinder athletics track, dating back to at least 1909 and in 1928 hosted the first motorcycle speedway event in the UK. It became very popular and although, in the early days could only cater for 2,000 spectators, at times, tens of thousands would attend (see old video).

High Beach Green is a popular film and TV location over the years. Even "The Only Way is Essex" has filmed by the King's Oak. According to the pub website, an unexpected visitor, during October 2016, was singer Justin Bieber after a walk in the forest.

Next to the pub is the King's Oak Cafe with its outdoor seating, behind this is an Oyster Snack & Seafood Bar and there is also a public toilet block. Across the green, at Pillow Mounds Car Park, is The Acorn Tea Hut (also known as Carl's Kiosk). This area is situated on a ridge in the centre of the forest and provides great views looking northwest to Waltham Abbey and west over London.

Dominating High Beach Green is the red oak tree. The Queen's Oak was planted on 6 May 1882 on the occasion of the visit of Queen Victoria to High Beach in Epping Forest, when she declared that "the forest be dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the public for all time". A contemporary newspaper report stated that on the day of the visit East London was deserted as up to half a million people made their way to the forest for the day.

A road, to the right of the oak tree, leads behind the King's Oak pub to the Epping Forest Visitor Centre and Epping Forest Field Centre. It's in this area where the High Beach Speedway was sited. Looking at Google Earth you can see a well-defined ring of trees around the buildings that probably shows the outline of the track.

Epping Forest covers 6,000 acres and is all is left of the Royal Forest of Waltham, which in 1641 was recorded as covering an area ten times as large. Two thirds of the forest is woodland the rest is grassland, heath, rivers, ponds and swamp. It is the largest open space in the London area and 4,000 acres is designated as a "Site of Special Scientific Interest" and a "European Special Area of Conservation".

Epping Forest can trace its roots back to around 8000 BC, just after the receedance of the last ice age. It is situated on a ridge between the rivers Lee and Roding and stretches for 14 miles, from just above Manor Park in the south to past Epping town in the north. Due to redevelopment it is disjointed at times to the south, but from Chingford to Epping is continuous and about 2 miles wide.

Most of the history of the forest may have been lost with time. However, there is still evidence of "Iron Age" forts; stories of Iceni Warriors; Roman battles; Saxon saints; Norman invaders; Tudor hunting grounds; notorious highwaymen; a place to escape war and plague, and a retreat for famous artists and writers.

The forest was given its royal status by King Henry III in the 12th Century. This meant common people could use the forest as a place to gather wood and food and to graze their livestock. However, only royalty were allowed to hunt in the forest. This status continued through the years and during Tudor times the forest was a favourite hunting ground for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge at Chingford is a splendid Tudor construction.  It was built by Henry VIII in 1543 and taken over by his daughter Elizabeth in 1589. Today it is a museum. A few hundred yards north east of the lodge is Connaught Water, one of many lakes within the forest and the largest. It is named after Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and the first ranger of the forest.

The Epping Forest Act of 1878 may not be particularly well known today, but this crucial piece of legislation turned a royal hunting ground into a public forest and ensured this priceless piece of woodland would remain accessible to Londoners for generations to come. Today the City of London Corporation (previously known as the Corporation of London), as the Forest's Conservators, still manage the woodland (mainly oak, hornbeam, birch and beech) plus its ponds, paths and heath.

"Under the terms of the Act, the purpose of the Forest is to provide an open space for the recreation and enjoyment of the public and this is to be achieved by conserving the Forest in all its vegetative forms and doing it in such a way that the Forest feels to the visitor to be a natural place. It is this natural aspect that distinguishes the Forest as an open space and gives to the Londoner visiting the Forest a taste of the wilderness and emoteness of the National Parks."

The quote above is taken from the City of London Corporation website and gives a basic outline of what was intended by the Act.

The Normans invaders were keen on hunting and in the late 11th Century imported fallow deer to England - the descendants of these still roam freely in many parts of the UK. Epping Forest was such an area and today there are still around 500 deer living in the forest.

One of the main tasks of the Forest Management Team is the conservation of the natural habitats in which the forest's wildlife and plants can continue to flourish. 

Although deer hunting is no longer allowed as a sport, there are still many other recreational activities taking place here. To list them all would probably not be possible, but some popular ones with local clubs in brackets after are: walking on your own or with a group (The Ramblers Association); cross-country running (Orion Harriers); horse riding (Epping Forest Riders Association); mountain biking (Epping Forest Mountain Biking); fishing, usually with a permit; orienteering (Chigwell & Epping Forest Orienteering Club); camping (Willows Rustic Camping and Caravaning); scouting (Gilwell Park Scout Centre) golf (there are a few courses), and conservation volunteering (Epping Forest Conservation Volunteers).  There is no definitive list of all the activities going on here, but you can visit the City of London website to read more about sports events and activities and wildlife in the forest.

As well as Tennyson and John Clare, many other well-know people lived in this area over the years. Admiral George Cockburn (1772 - 1853), who ferried Napoleon to his exile in St Helena, also lived in the village, ironically as did the emperor's nephew Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (1813 - 1891).

Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), writer and poet, and Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918), war poet, were both based at High Beach during World War I. They both died during the war, whilst fighting in Europe.

Dick Turpin (1705 - 1739), probably the world's most notorious highwayman, as a fugitive he lived for many years in a cave at High Beach. Previously he was a member of the notorious Essex Gang, but then went out on his own. According to an article from Britannia.com (link broken) he wasn't very successful until he made a major error in trying to rob the wrong person. The quote below is from the Britannia website.

"One day, on the road to Cambridge, he came across a dandified individual, riding a fine horse. On a whim, Turpin drew down on him with his pistol and demanded that he hand over his money. To his surprise the man laughed and, so legend has it, said 'What, dog eat dog? Come, Brother Turpin. If you don't know me, I know you and shall be glad of your company.
The dandy was 'Captain'
Tom King, one of the best-known highwaymen of the day and the kind of swashbuckling, devil-may-care character into which legend would later transform Turpin."

The two highwaymen became friends and partners in crime. They would lay in wait in their cave hideaway at High Beach from where they had a good view of the road and rob almost anyone who passed. The phrase "Stand and Deliver" is associated with Turpin. There have been many book and songs written about him, and movies based on his exploits. Through time Turpin has been glorified into a hero, but on researching it's a wholly different story as he appears to have been a real scoundrel.

On 4th May 1735 a local gamekeeper named Thomas Morris came across Turpin in the forest at Fairmead Bottom near Loughton. He recognised the highwayman and tried to apprehend him. Turpin drew his pistol and killed Morris. Shortly afterwards Turpin stole a distinctive black mare, at gunpoint, from a man called Major. Turpin named his new horse Black Bess. However, with Major wanting his prize mare back, this resulted in the capture of Tom King and almost that of Turpin. With things not going his way and now a huge bounty on his head, Turpin rode north on Black Bess at speed to York, a place where he thought he would not be known. He changed his name to John Palmer and became a horse dealer and breeder and bought properties in Yorkshire. He was naive about his profession and, not making a success of it, turned to crime again, often going into Lincolnshire to steal horses and cattle and also committing the odd highway robbery. He was eventually arrested and on investigation his real identity became known. For his crimes, he was hanged at York Racecourse on 7th April 1739. On his way to the gallows, in an open cart, he wore new and expensive clothes. He bowed to the crowds as he passed them. He joked and talked to his executioners for half an hour before throwing himself off the platform to his death. He seemed to enjoy his final moments in the spotlight, even hiring his own mourners. Hundreds of years after his death, the legend of this notorious highwayman and his famous horse "Black Bess" still live on.

There are ghost stories about Epping Forest. Many of them feature highwaymen, mysterious horses, carriages and hangings. Most seem to involve Turpin. Hangman's Hill at High Beach has stories of cars rolling uphill and strange images staring out of the woods. In December 2003 a television crew from Living TV's "Most Haunted" programme visited the forest to see what they could find. They weren't disappointed and the programme they produced proved one of the most popular ever for the television station. You can read about it at East London & West Essex Guardian and watch it at YouTube.

Hangmans Hill is where many years ago convicted criminals were dragged up to be hanged. It has a reputation of being haunted and is now popular with vehicles as apparently, like the convicts, the hill pulls them up when their engine is turned off. There are so many videos on this. Here are two from YouTube1 and YouTube2 - they also link to others. Whether it's an optical illusion, or not, you can see it's a scary experience for the drivers. Sometimes people find it difficult to locate the exact location of Hangmans Hill as it does not often appear on many maps, so I've marked it on StreetMap.

In 1973 the rock band Genesis included a track on their album "Selling England by the Pound" entitled "The Battle of Epping Forest". The song goes on for over 11 minutes and tells about a fight for territory between East End gangs. There are many stories of East End gangsters using the forest to dispose of bodies. The Kray Twins were the most notorious and feared of London's East End gangsters, they were respected by their local community and to some people are still folk heroes today. I can't find any crimes to connect them to the forest. However, both brothers are buried at Chingford Cemetery, just south of the main forest. Many of the suspected bodies which have been dumped and buried here over the years have never been found. You might see why this place can hide dark secrets as you travel through this isolated and dense woodland.

During Medieval Times and even before and later, people who lost everything would have no choice but to find refuge - there were no state benefits in those days and just staying alive was a feat. Many would relocate to dense forests where they could live off the land and hide. However, this was breaking laws as the Norman lords would hold claim to the ground they slept on and the wildlife and plants they lived off. These poor people were classified as outlaws as they were forced to live outside the law. They would have to compete with others who were forced into the same situation. They would often fight and kill for a meal - sometimes they had no choice. If caught by the landowners, they would be imprisoned or executed - prison was the less harsh of the two, but it still meant their death sentence. Prisoners didn't get three meals a day, have their own cells and weren't able to watch Sky TV in those days - they were piled on top of each other, diseases were rife and any food was a luxury.

Epping Forrest was a place (as mentioned above) where destitute people went to live and it must have many stories to tell of the poor people who were forced into crime and sought shelter here through thousands of years. You can read later in this stage how even before the Romans, ancient Celtic tribes used the forest to build forts to protect themselves and their livestock from enemies and how eventually these great forts became unoccupied because of the overpowering force of the Roman legions.

In Ken Follett's epic book "The Pillars of the Earth" he gives a great insight into how during early Norman Times dense forests were places to be avoided. On reading the book the only woodland I could keep thinking about was Epping Forest. Those many hundreds of years ago there were lots of large, now ancient woodlands all over this island. Epping Forest, as I know, is probably the only one which still exists in the South- East of England in this form. As we go through the forest on the paths and ancient tracks, I find it somewhat lonesome and sometimes worrying as you can travel for miles without seeing another human being. However, this is what makes this place wonderful, peaceful, enjoyable and yet so different and special. You can imagine the history, the ancient dwellers, the Celtic Tribes, the Roman Legions, the battles fought here, the Norman Conquerors, the outlaws, the highwaymen and the forest rangers who now look after the place. 

The paths through the forest are pleasant, but can be very hilly in places. However, there are many things to distract your attention from these hills. Stay on course, enjoy the scenery passed, yet still beware of riders on horseback and cyclists on their mountain bikes.

After 300 yards and as you pass the King's Oak Hotel, veer left onto High Beach Green, but stay along the RHS to reach Queen Victoria's Oak. Turn right to cross over the road and into a road signed Epping Forest Centre. Almost immediately, at the Corporation of London sign, turn left onto a footpath.

In just a few yards the path divides, veer right with the main path as it gradually goes away from the road.

Follow for 160 yards, just past a pond, to a T-junction with a wide track/bridleway. Turn right along the bridleway and into the forest. Stay straight on for 300 yards, ignoring paths leading away on both sides. Immediately before the bridleway turns right, turn left onto a path / bridleway heading north-east. The path is well-defined and after 370 yards leads to the busy A104 (Epping New Road at 7.05 miles). Cross straight over onto another wide sandy bridleway with a car park and picnic area to the left.

The road although busy and fast is very straight in both directions with good visibility, decide when to cross with care. 

The area around this sandy path is named Little Monk Wood. It takes its name from the monks of two abbeys, Waltham Abbey and Stratford Langthorne Abbey, being given permission in the 13th Century to take wood from this area. It was a long way to cart wood from, but that's how things worked in those days.

Follow this wide and sandy bridleway as it goes slightly uphill, before descending gradually and eventually to a fork (after 600 yards). Take the left fork, and after just a few yards, at a T-Junction of paths turn left. The route has now joined Centenary Walk and also Green Ride.

Loughton Camp is an ancient earthwork, an Iron-Age camp, dating back to around 500 BC. It is 300 yards south west of the T-junction of paths. If you wish to divert to visit the camp turn right at the T-junction and after 450 yards turn right onto another path to reach the camp 200 yards later. This all may sound a bit contradictory, but the last path does go northwest to the southern side of the camp. The camp covers an area of 10 acres and is built on a hill. It is surrounded by high earth mounds and was originally defended by a wooden wall - only the earthworks still remain. The main enclosure is believed to have been used as a place to hold livestock for a local Celtic tribe (named the Trinovantes) whilst they fought off invaders from the boundaries of the fort. The last invaders were the Romans, but their huge legions were too much for the local tribe, thus the camp no longer proved much of a fortification and hence was abandoned.

The route is totally surrounded by trees and we are now very deep into the heart of the forest. It's peaceful and beautiful and it remains like this for the next few miles. Our route along Centenary Walk crosses a few roads. These are mainly flat as they cut through the forest. However, unseen by the motorist our route follows a roller-coaster ride of steep climbs and descents through this ancient woodland.

Centenary Walk is one the main paths / tracks through the forest and stretches for 15 miles from Manor Park to Epping Station. It was founded in 1978 to celebrate the centenary of the Act of Parliament which saved the forest. It joins up many ancient tracks to form a continuous path. Each year in September there is an annual walk organised by the Friends of Epping Forest along the full distance of the path. We follow Centenary Walk for just over four miles to Epping Station. Three miles of this is in the forest and for this distance the "Walk" also joins up with another major path called "Green Ride" which was opened 100 years earlier by Queen Victoria, who rode along it in an open top carriage. At points along the path there are benches to rest on and even some well-maintained "coal posts" where many years ago merchants were taxed for transporting their commodities along this route.

By reading a map when travelling through this area of the forest some place names passed give us a clue to its history. Names like "Bellringers Bay", "Pig Corner", "Lost Pond", "Great Monk Wood" and "Hangboy Slade" must have some stories to tell. A book by Ken Hoy, entitled "Getting to Know Epping Forest", can be bought at the Epping Forest Visitor Centre and provides lots of information of the different areas of the forest and where some of the place names originate from.

Follow this main track (Centenary Walk) through the forest for 0.8 miles to then cross over another main road (A121) at a picnic area named the "Broadstrood" (at 8.25 miles), where once again the road is straight with good visibility in both directions. Once over follow the main path as it first goes right of the picnic area then turns left and behind the picnic area.

After another 0.4 miles, at a T-junction of paths, keep left and staying with Centenary Walk. In a further 0.4 miles the track reaches a third road (B172) at "The Ditches" and "Jack's Hill". This time take a lot more care crossing as there is a blind bend. However, once safely across it's easy to keep straight on along the main path ignoring a track off to the right. After another 350 yards go straight on avoiding a wide track to the left.

Centenary Walk is a wide and beautiful track, but it can be very hilly in places. Here are links to a few photos to give you a taster. Photo1, Photo2, Photo3, Photo4, Photo5.

By now if you think you have seen enough hills, I have to apologies as it does not get any better. Also, at some points along the route, you maybe tempted to divert onto a path off to the right or left, please donít.

Half a mile after crossing the B172 and just off the path in the woods to the left is Ambresbury Banks, an Iron Age encampment and now signposted as an ancient monument. This is where Boudicca, the Iceni warrior queen, is sometimes said to have made her last stand against the Romans in AD 61. In defeat she poisoned her two daughters and herself so as not to be captured. An obelisk, just 1.5 miles northwest of here, at Warlies Park, is said to mark the spot where she died. However, other places also hold a claim. Some believe her ghost haunts the forest.

There is nothing left of the wooden fort, but the high banks on which it stood and the ditch around it are both still very visible. To walk around the ditch will take a while as it encloses an area of 4.5 hectares. The link to the source above also suggests it may have been re-used by King Arthur in his fight against the Danes.

From Ambresbury Banks continue straight on along the main path. After 600 yards, as the path divides, stay left (at 10 miles).

After another 0.45 miles, where the path turns 90 degrees right, veer left through the trees onto an open grassy area (Bell Common). Once through the trees turn right along the worn grassy path and to a road (Theydon Road). 

Turn left along the road, staying on the LHS. After 150 yards and just before the road turns left, cross over to the RHS, staying right in front of the Forest Gate Inn and into a narrow road named Bell Common Take care crossing as it is a blind bend and can be busy.

Bell Common is where the route appears to leave the forest. The inviting looking 17th Century Forest Gate Inn, set back from the road and fronting onto the green, also helps to endorse this. However, officially the route continues through the forest for over another half a mile to the eastern edge of Bell Common where it enters Epping Town. The common is also quite unique in that the M25 goes under it. The grassy area we have just come through and the Epping Foresters Cricket Club immediately west of it both sit above the motorway. The cricket club was established in 1947, at which time it would have cost very little to lay out the pitch. However, when this section of the M25 was constructed (1982 - 84), to keep the cricketers happy and abide with the Epping Forest Act of 1878, the builders of the motorway cut a 470 meters long tunnel at Bell Common. They then covered it and laid 18 inches of topsoil above it so a new cricket ground and pavilion could be built on the roof of the motorway. The cost must have run into millions of pounds and this probably makes it the most expensive cricket pitch in the country. However, it was worth it as the motorway is nowhere to be seen or heard. At the time of writing this in 2008 I come across a news article where the Highways Agency have awarded a 90.4 million pound contract to refurbish the Bell Common Tunnel. According to the article 120,000 vehicles go through the tunnel each day.

Bell Common is believed to have been the site of an ancient beacon and is now a designated Conservation Area. Following the narrow road after the pub, the open area of the common is to the left and to the right is lined with interesting old houses dating from the 16th Century to the 20th Century, many of which are listed buildings.

Follow the road through Bell Common for 400 yards and stay with it as it turns right then left. At the last house go through some wooden bollards, onto a common and veers right along a worn grass path, to cross a lane and through a gap in some trees. Follow the path downhill, and as it veers right and for another 125 yards.

On reaching an opening in a line of trees turn left on a bridleway between the trees (which for some reason is named Western Road on maps. It is also still Centenary Walk). Follow the path straight on between trees for 350 yards, and then out onto a residential road (Western Avenue).

Turn left along the pavement, which gradually veers right and to a T-junction with Centre Drive. Turn left along Centre Drive (cross over as soon as possible) and follow the footpath for 400 yards to just past "Woodland Grove". Here turn right onto an enclosed footpath, signed by an underground symbol. This cuts between houses and leads downhill. The path turns left, then right around a large car park and leads to Epping Station. 

On approaching the station, the entrance is to the right. However, if you intend to continue, veer slightly right across the road to a footbridge and cross it into Hill Crescent Way.

For such a small town, Epping Station is a busy one with over 6,000 passengers a day. The car park you just walked around is the largest on the London Underground system with 519 spaces.

On the front wall of Epping Station is a plaque which commemorates the opening of the Essex Way in 1972. This is a long distance path which stretches for 82 miles across the county and finishes by the coast at Harwich. We will follow it, in the main, until just after Chipping Ongar.

[Home[Route GBW] [GBW 1] [GBW 2] [GBW 3] [GBW 4] [GBW 5] [GBW 6] [GBW 7] [GBW 8] [GBW 9] [GBW 10] [GBW 11] [GBW 12]

 [GBW 13] [GBW 14] [GBW 15] [GBW 16] [GBW 17] [GBW 18] [GBW 19] [GBW 20] [GBW 21] [GBW 22] [FullRoute] [Linking Paths]

Copywrite @ Sean.Davis, 1995 - 2020. All rights reserved.