Sunday, 5 March 2017

London Hikes - Epping Forest (south)

This is a relatively short walk (8km / 5 miles) through the lower half of Epping Forest. To get to the start you will need to take the 123 Bus and get off at Beacontree Ave going north or Hillcrest Rd going south. The 123 is accessed from many Tube stops for example - Tottenham Hale, Turnpike Lane and Wood Green.

You can look at my route on Strava HERE and download the GPX file if you wish. A word of warning - boots are required for this in winter and wet conditions.

The trail starts on the south side of the North Circular and very quickly goes underneath it.  Once on the other side you can choose any number of routes through the next section of woodland.

You are heading for Oak Hill - which is a road you need to cross. Again on the next section a number of routes are available but the exit is north west so you need to bare right at some point. Cross Charter Rd and you will see the Boating Lake straight in front of you. You are now entering Highams Park and you need to navigate round the boating lake - you can go left or right at this point.

The lake itself is about 450m long and about 80m wide at the widest point. At the south end of the lake is a boat house built by Kenneth Robert John Ford and owned by Waltham Forest South Scouts. There is plenty of wildlife around this area to watch for a while. Note that the area around the lake can get very boggy especially to the left (west) of it.

When you leave the boating lake at the northern end there is a lovely island with trees on (above) and this landscape is varying throughout the seasons. There is a small brook to follow from this lake - the river Ching which flows from Connaught Water near Buckhurst Hill.  From here you cross Chingford Lane and into the next section which follows Woodford Golf Course for a short time.

On the other side of the course the forest really starts to open out and you start to get bigger vistas. Again there are many ways you can walk through here but you are never too far away from the River Ching still heading north towards Whitehall Rd. Cross here and follow the path up - the ground opens out to your right and the River Ching is to your left. Epping Forest is very large and here you can get some scale of it - head towards Rangers Road where you will need to cross - however, any point is good.

When you have crossed the road Epping Forest awaits - here, I ducked out grabbing a coffee and flapjack in the Bulters Retreat which I can recommend.  From this point it is a short walk to Chingford Bus and Train station..  Enjoy.

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