Walk No 9 - From Epping (at the Eastern End of the Central Line) through Epping Forest to Chingford
Walk Distance 15 Kilometres (9 miles)
Underfoot Roads and woodland tracks
Journey Time (from Central London to Epping) 40 minutes
Getting Back to Central London By Overground from Chingford to Walthamstow Central and then Victoria Line
Points of Interest Epping Forest, High Beach, Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge
Refreshments - Two pubs and one cafe en route. Cafes at Chingford
Opportunities for Shortening the Route - Epping Forest is poorly served by public transport. If necessary, a taxi could be called to pick up at High Beach (Kings Oak PH) after 12Km or at one of the car parks in the forest.
From Epping Station to The Forest (Map A)
1. Turn right out of Epping Station. Pass the entrance to the station car park and turn left on a footpath between fences. Follow this enclosed path as it turns left and then right to ascends some steps betweeen houses. Turn left at the top (Centre Drive) and walk for about 300m. Turn right into Western Avenue which swings to the left. A wide view soon opens up before you including a sight of the M25 motorway. Before the road starts to descend, turn right on a footpath indicated by a concrete signpost.
2. Follow this footpath uphill ignoring all turnings to left or right. Pass a bench, cross a drive and finally turn left in front of some houses. This is Bell Common. Continue with the houses on your left. Come to a road and continue on the footway to pass The Forest Gate Inn. Now, turn left (Theydon Road). Within 50m, before reaching Ivy Chimneys Road which comes in from the left, cross to the other side. Just after the driveway of a house there is a small path going diagonally right into the trees. Follow this and emerge in an open grassy area. (You are now standing on top of the M25 which runs in a tunnel below your feet.)
3. Go forward to meet another path coming in from the left and swing right with this path. After 30m you will find yourself facing a cricket pitch. Follow the path which now turns away left to enter the trees. Ignore the first junction on your right but, a few metres further on, meet a crossing path. Turn right on this which immediately swings left.
Forest walk to High Beach (Map B)
4. You have now entered Epping Forest. Ahead there is a broad track. (If you have a compass, your direction is roughly 200 degrees.) Follow this track for the next two kilometres ignoring all turnings to left and right. Reach a small car park and a road (the B172) at a point signposted as “Jack’s Hill”. Cross the road and continue in the same direction. After about 700m reach a fork in the path. Take the right hand track.
5. The track soon descends and then climbs to reach another small car park (“Broadstrood”) and the A121 Cross with care and take the broad track slightly to your left with a car barrier. After about 300m the track starts to descend. At the bottom of hill the path swings to the right and climbs again. At the end of the ascent the path flattens out. In about 200m turn right. This is the first clear junction you have encountered since crossing the A121. If you find yourself walking past a green triangle of grass, you have gone too far.
6. Follow this track to reach a road, (A104) and cross with care. Take the track opposite which inclines to the left. Follow it to meet a crossing path and turn right. After 250m reach a road with a green and a large car park. This is High Beach and there is a scenic viewpoint northwards. Turn left on the road and pass the entrance to Epping Forest Field Centre and some toilets.
From High Beach To Chingford (Map C)
7. Walk past the Kings Oak Public House and continue ahead on the road. After passing the entrance to a private house, look out for a path in the woods on your left which continues parallel to the road. After about 250m, there is a gap in the wooden fence bordering the road. Exit onto the road. Turn left, walk for about 50m.
8. If you look ahead down the road you will see a popular roadside cafe which you may decide to visit. Otherwise, turn right and leave the road at a broad track with a car barrier. This track will take you all the way to Chingford.
8. After roughly 1Km there is small right/left dog-leg junction but otherwise your direction is straight on. Continue for another 1.5Km until you reach a clear fork where the track swings to the left but a grassy path goes roughly straight ahead. Take the grassy path and at the next fork go left uphill to reach Butler’s Retreat which is a café built in clapperboard style.
9, Pass behind Butler’s Retreat to reach Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. After the lodge, descend the grassy slope diagonally left . At the bottom, do not cross a small bridge. Instead, turn left on a path which goes straight towards Chingford about 250m away. Cross the road and find the station on the left just beyond a bus station.