Saturday, 10 June 2017

London Hikes - Oak Trail Theydon Bois

This walk is a nice and easy loop although some navigation skills could be required if you follow my trail to the letter.  However, there are main paths to stick to which get you round but without some great views which I will take you through now.

Firstly I'd recommend wearing boots on this walk - you are mostly walking on trails which can get muddy. Secondly please see my map and GPS details of the route HERE on Strava.  Also a simple PDF of the route can be found HERE on the TFL site.

Start - get the Central Line to Theydon Bois - this is where you start and finish the hike. When you leave the station follow the road and at Forest Drive turn right - follow Forest Drive to the very end. Take the alley to the left of the gate and although you can carry on following the alley my advice is take the first exit on the right. You now enter a large field - cross this to the other side and into the first of two hilly meadows. Both meadows have some wonderful views with nice oak trees placed on their own in the centre - very photogenic. The alley you left follows the two meadows and you can join it again on the far side at the point where there is an old tree previously struck by lightening.

After this point you cannot really deviate until Epping Forest. The trail turns into a single track road - follow the signs and all will be well. On your map you are following the public footpaths towards and over the M25.

Some fields have horses, some have bulls - please do not stray off the path. Some of the fences are electrified and should not be touched. When you cross over the M25 you enter a very small farmland with fields of crops (depending on the season) on both sides of the path. Again you should keep to the public bridleway or you could be committing an offence.

I went in June and the crops looked great - a really nice place to take a few shots even if the electric pylons were in view. Follow the path through an alley and onto Bridge Hill Rd - do a left and then a short distance on the right you will see a public bridleway sign.  It's very easy to spot as it is right by a children's playground. Follow the path up the hill and you will enter Bell Common. Head towards the High Rd (B1393) and then turn right - follow the trail keeping the High Rd on your right.

The above sign is a common marker along the route but it is well worth taking a map or GPS device with you. Leaving Bell Common you cross Theydon Rd carry on the trail - you will pass a small pond on your right and come to a cricket pitch. Work your way around the pitch keeping it on your left (in an anti-clockwise manner). On the other side you will join the beginnings on Epping Forest.

Follow the trail on your map known as Green Ride - it's a long straight trail through some beautiful woodland. There are many trails through Epping Forest and it is easy to get lost - follow Green Ride and into Forest Road Trail. You are heading for Coppice Row (B172) which you need to cross.

I had to leave the trail a few times for some photos but kept coming back to it. With the light of the sun coming through the forest roof it was to nice to pass up. There are many runners, cyclists and horse riders travelling through here so be weary especially with children. If you look on my map I zig-zagged a few times through here but you can follow any number of trails - just make sure you are heading in the direction of the Deer Sanctuary. 

On my route you will walk around a camping meadow - keep this to your right and eventually you will get to the Deer Sanctuary - again keep this on your right. It is all fenced off which is a bit annoying but keep it on your right and follow it around. You are not far from the finish now. Cross Coppice Row again and into Epping Forest but here turn right and take any of a number of trails down towards Theydon Bois.
The Bull Pub is perfectly positioned for you to grab a meal and a pint at the end of your journey.

- all photos copyright - Ray Wise 2017

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