The ancient woodland of Epping Forest within Zone 6
Allow 4 hours for the walk but 6 hours to include lunch and a tea stop. If you wish to stop at High Beach visitor centre or Copped Hall then you will have to ensure you can complete the walk in sufficient daylight. In winter you should reach Epping around 3.30pm but if you are losing light you can leave the route at para 29 and do about 2km along a road (there is a pavement) direct to Epping High Street.
OS Explorer 174 1:25,000 and OS Landranger 167 1:50,000
3/10 a few gentle, short climbs.
This walk takes you on tracks and paths through the ancient woodland of Epping Forest (“the peoples forest”) and a possible visit to the High Beach visitor centre before a pub lunch in Upshire. After your pub lunch you go through open countryside and farmland passing close to Copped Hall a ruined country house currently being renovated. The walk ends in the bustling town of Epping at the end of the Central Underground Line.
This short walk is ideal for winter or early spring when there is no leaf canopy and views and vistas open up but it can be done at any time of year. After lunch you leave the forest and are in open countryside where there are some good views around Copped Hall park.
This walk is close to London and crosses some main roads and after lunch there will be traffic noise from the always busy M25.
This Is London’s largest open space at around 6,000 acres and stretches 12 miles from Manor Park in East London to just north of Epping. The forest, rich in wildlife, is of national and international importance with two-thirds of it designated an area of special scientific interest. It is renowned for its ancient pollarded trees, primarily oak, beech and hornbeam which support a wealth of insects and fungi, many of them rare and vulnerable.
The forest has a significant population of the distinctive dark coloured fallow deer and it is common to see these in the more open areas. Muntjac deer are also present and 10 of the 18 species of bat found in Britain have been recorded .
English Longhorn cattle have been introduced to rejuvenate rare heathland flora and you should see these in the afternoon on the way to Copped Hall. They graze behind unobtrusive electric fences.
High Beach Visitor Centre
The centre is located at High Beach a traditional Epping Forest beauty spot. It is open 7 days a week and there are a pub, the up-market Kings Head, and other refreshments and toilet facilities nearby.
The Centre has booklets about its conservation work and maps showing trails and walks. Further details about the centre and its work can be found here
Copped Hall is a ruined country house currently undergoing extensive renovation. There is evidence that the site has been occupied from Roman times and a substantial building was first erected in the 12th century. A new neo-classical house was built on the site in the 1750s but was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1917.
The Copped Hall Trust is gradually restoring the building but only parts of the hall and gardens can be opened to visitors.
There are open days and guided tours but only on specific Sundays and there is a charge for these. You can find the visitor timetable and costs by visiting the Copped Hall Trust website above and clicking on the Events link.
|Walk options||You can shorten the walk by diverting from the Three Forest Way and instead staying on the wide Centenary Walk heading northeasterly towards Epping New Road (para 7). Stay on the wide track, crossing two roads and continue all the way to Epping. (You will join up with the main walk at the end of Para 30 of the main walk instructions.) With a possible shorter start from Loughton this is a walk of around 5 miles, almost entirely through woodland, and could make a high summer evening walk with dinner and drinks in Epping.
You can cut short the walk by catching an hourly 213 bus at a stop on the main road between either of the lunch-time pubs (see below).This is the Waltham Cross to Epping service .There is no service on Sundays or Public Holidays.
During the period March to October there may be an Epping Forest Sunday and Bank Holiday Shuttle Bus - No 845 - which has designated stops but is also a hail and ride service operating between Loughton, Chingford and High Beach, You will need to check out the Epping Forest Events Diary for timetable details, the latest edition of which can be found here
Loughton and Epping are both in Travel Zone 6 and are on the Epping branch of the Central Line so you will need an appropriate travel or Oyster card for your journey. Trains are very frequent and return trains from Epping to Central London run until well after 23.00 hours (journey time 50 mins)
It takes around 40 minutes to travel from Oxford Circus in Central London to Loughton on the Central line. You can use the Transport for London journey planner to calculate your journey time from other stations. See here for details.
There is car-parking at both Loughton and Epping Forest underground stations and this walk is suitable for those wishing to use cars.
In winter it is recommended you start the walk from Loughton Station by 10.30am which means taking a Central Line tube train from Central London around 9.45am
In summer or early autumn you can be much more flexible about the start time although if you are doing the walk on a Sunday and plan to visit Copped Hall you will need to time your start accordingly.
|Lunch and tea||
You can have an early lunch at High Beach Visitor Centre where there is a refreshments kiosk and seats just off the main route of the walk. You can get sandwiches, baguettes, pies and hot and cold soft drinks. It is also a good spot for a picnic. The Visitor Centre itself also has a café.
Also at High Beach is the Kings Oak hotel/pub (0208 508 5000) which has undergone extensive renovations and has outside seating.
Your recommended lunch-time pub is the Horseshoes a friendly pub with a good range of reasonably priced food.
Horseshoes (01992 712745 )
80m before the Horseshoes pub there is the entrance gate to St Thomas’ Church where just beyond the church building there is a pleasant grassy area with wooden benches which is nice for a picnic despite the noise from the nearby M25.
For tea there are any number of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Epping High Street including the following pubs, the George and Dragon, the Black Lion and the Duke of Wellington together with various cafes including the Costa Coffee and Café Nero chains.
The recommended tea stop is the Verde Café at 88 High Street, Epping (01992 571476). It is a very nice independent café that does teas in china cups and delicious cakes. It closes at 4pm on a Sunday. See this link for information about other tea options in the High Street.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk