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 lunch at one of two pubs 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.
You can shorten the walk by staying on the wide Three Forest Way and not turning off it to head in a westerly direction 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 Good Intent in Copthall Green (01992 712066), a friendly pub with a good range of reasonably priced food.
As an alternative there is the Horseshoes pub and dining room (01992 712745 ) which also has a reputation for friendly service and good food.
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.
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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
- A) Loughton Underground station to High Beach Conservation Centre
- Leave Loughton underground station and take the left hand pavement and head towards a large Sainsbury’s supermarket ahead of you. At the traffic roundabout take the left fork, Old Station Road, and pass Sainsbury’s to your left.
- In a 100m you reach the busy High Road. Your onward direction is straight ahead up Ollards Grove using the pedestrian crossing to your left. Where this road forks take the left fork, Ollards Grove, climbing steadily.
- In 200m you reach a T junction with Forest View Road. Just away to your left there is a footpath sign half hidden in a hedge. Take the lane to your left in the direction of the footpath sign. In 50m you pass a steel barrier to continue down an earth path with a brick wall to your left. In 60m you pass a steel barrier to reach Nursery Road. Turn left on this road and in 100m, just a few metres beyond Upper Park on your left cross Nursery road and turn right onto an earth car-wide track through woodland.
- Continue along this potentially muddy car-wide track through attractive woodland. In 200m ignore a cross-paths and continue ahead. In 50m by a white topped post with a horseshoe painted on it take the right fork. In 70m you pass a sign saying ride closed. Ignore the path to your left and continue ahead on the wide track.
- In 150m there are some ponds away to your left. 200m beyond these you pass a large pond immediately to your left. Continue past a metal barrier and in 30m you reach a tarmac road. Cross this road with care, go past a metal barrier, and continue on the clear wide path ahead -the Three Forest Way.
- This woodland track gently descends and you continue on this wide track ignoring all ways off. (On your way you pass some signs on your right about the Loughton Brook Valley which has a number of attractive woodland paths. If you are feeling adventurous you may like to explore these.)
- !! After 200m by one of these signs the track crosses a barely noticeable bridge over a ditch. (You can just see the brickwork below you to your right). You are at the bottom of a gentle slope and the track ahead of you starts to gently rise. !! 10m beyond the bridge you turn left off the track, your direction west, to first cross a potentially muddy patch and then follow the indistinct path ahead.!!!
- The next section of the walk through woodland on the Centenary path to reach the busy Epping New Road has intermittent footpath posts to guide you but you need to pay attention as the path can be indistinct particularly when it is covered by winter leaf litter. A compass is helpful; you should be heading in a generally westerly direction to meet Epping New Road)
- In 100m you pass a 1m high footpath post with an arrow showing the way ahead. In 80m you pass another footpath post to your left showing the way ahead. In 60m you cross a wooden bridge to your left over a ditch. 20m ahead of you there is another footpath post and you follow this as the path bears right going gently uphill..
- After 30m the path starts to gently descend and swing to the right. In 180m you cross a ditch. There is a footpath post just away to your right. Once over the ditch turn left uphill with the path. Continue along what may be an indistinct path bearing right after 70m away from the ditch below you to your left. You should start to hear traffic noise ahead of you and this busy road (Epping New Road) should soon come into view.
- As the road becomes visible the path widens and you pass another footpath sign 20m before the road. Go down to this busy road and cross it with care to go through a new wooden gate slightly to your left. Continue ahead for 20m and then turn right on the clear car-wide dirt track.
- Continue ahead on this undulating track through woodland with the busy road away to your right. In 400m with the track veering left you reach a fork where you turn left passing a footpath post on your right. Continue along this track, ignoring all ways off until in 200m you reach a metal car-barrier and a tarmac road.
- Away to your left after crossing two roads is a refreshments kiosk with seats where you can get sandwiches, rolls, pastries and hot drinks.
- You are now at the Epping Forest High Beach Conservation Centre. The nearby Kings Oak pub on Queens Green 60m down the left of the two forks is a possible early lunch stop although it has undergone recent up-market renovations and is not walker-friendly!) Just before the pub is the access to the Epping Forest Visitor Centre and some toilets.
- B) High Beach Conservation Centre to Good Intent Pub
- If you are not stopping for refreshments or visiting the Centre and wish to continue the walk then cross the road and turn right to go through a number of wooden white topped posts and continue ahead on the wide track with the road away to your right.
- In 300m you pass a metal barrier, cross a road, and pass another metal barrier to continue along the track. In 100m ignore a wide track to your left. In 500m take the right fork (although 30m way along the left fork there are some views of Waltham Cross and a possible picnic spot). Continue along the track as it veers gently to the right and then to the left. In 150m go through a metal gate to the left of a wooden fieldgate. In 80m you reach a 2 armed footpath sign and a metal barrier.
- Cross the busy main road and bear left following a bridleway sign down Woodreden Farm Lane. You .soon pass some buildings and paddocks to your right and in 200m you go through a gate to the right of a cattle grid and a brick column with a sign for Woodreden House.. Continue along the tarmac lane in open countryside.
- In 250m the tarmac lane turns left towards the impressive Woodreden House but you continue ahead along a car-wide dirt track with a line of telegraph poles immediately to your right. In 100m you go left at a two- armed Forest Way footpath sign passing a house on your right.. Follow the track as it bears right and then left and in 80m you cross a wide bridge over the M25.
- After crossing the bridge ignore a path to your left (there is a sign here welcoming you to the Woodreden Estate) and continue on the wide track veering right. Soon the track goes between broken barbed wire fences in open countryside. In 400m you go through a gate to the right of a metal field gate.
- After passing a house to your left you come to a 2 armed footpath sign and just beyond that over a grassy area there is a busy main road. You cross the road and turn right on the pavement. In 100m you cross Fernhall Lane to your left and in a further 100m on your right over the road you reach The Good Intent your recommended lunch-time pub. Continue from section (C) below.
- Alternative lunch pub option – The Horseshoes.
- Instead of turning right for the Good Intent you can turn left on the busy road. (Its safer to cross the road to continue along the pavement on that side as there is no pavement on the left until another 40m.)
- In 80m you pass St Thomas Church on your left and in a further 80m on your left you reach The Horseshoes pub which has a garden at the back away from the road. On leaving the pub cross the road and turn right. In 180m you reach Fernhall Lane where you turn left to pick up the walk instructions in the first para of Section 3.
- If you have bought a picnic you can go through the gate of St Thomas Church , continue ahead through the cemetery and in 70m reach an open grassy area with benches and fine views over the countryside. (Although you will hear the drone of the M25 traffic; a persistent feature of the walk after lunch I’m afraid.)
- C) Good Intent to Copped Hall
- Coming out of the Good Intent, cross the road and turn left. There is a grassy path 20m away to your right and you can follow this. In 80m you pass a bus stop and a footpath sign to your left and you continue on the path in the direction of the sign, ignoring a path to your right into a bushy area 40m away.
- In 70m you veer right on a narrow grassy path and in 80m you reach Fernhall Lane where you turn right. In 80m take the right fork now called Long Street. Follow this road as it swings to the left. In 130m as the road swings to the left you take a fork to the right past a no through road sign and continue along a car-wide track.
- In 300m follow the footpath sign to your right. In 50m go through a gate passing a house on your right and continue ahead..In 50m ignore the foot path sign to your right and continue ahead on the wide track following a sign Copped Hall 1. There are open fields to your left and you pass a half timbered house to your right. In 300m you are at the top of a gentle rise. Continue along the lane now going gently downhill.
- Just after the track swings to the right there is a yellow-topped footpath sign to your left. You leave the wide track and follow the footpath sign down a grassy track. In 70m you reach another footpath post and cross a small wooden bridge over a ditch where there is a 2 armed footpath sign .
- The footpath sign points diagonally across a rough field to a white house about 150m away in the top right hand field corner where there is a stile which you cross onto a road and turn right to reach a T junction . (NOTE: you may find the going easier if you go straight ahead towards the field boundary aiming for about 30m to the left of the house. On reaching the field boundary turn right and in 30m cross the stile to your left onto a lane where you turn right to reach a T junction.
- D) Copped Hall to Epping.
- Visiting Copped Hall. At the T junction turn right following the footpath sign to Crown Hill. In 80m pass veer left to pass a five barred gate and continue along a rough track to Copped Hall just ahead. After visiting the hall retrace your steps to the T junction where you continue ahead .
- Continuation of main walk Turn left at the T junction. Soon the M25 can be seen (and heard) ahead of you in the distance. In 250m you pass a WW2 concrete bunker just off to your right. 30m beyond the bunker turn right through a small metal squeeze stile to the left of a gate and then follow the footpath sign on a path along the left hand edge of a wide field. The lane is just beyond the hedge to your left. In 80m you pass into the next field. In 70m pass through a small clump of trees.
- In 100m you pass a 5 barred gate to your left and you continue along the field edge now with a wood to your left. In 100m by a sign welcoming you to Copped Hall Park turn left through a squeeze stile and then in a few metres cross a stile and turn right along a field edge following a footpath sign
- In 60m pass under telegraph wires. In 200m after gently climbing you reach the field edge with a wooden fence. Do not attempt to clamber over the broken step stile just a way to your right but turn left along the field edge. In 60m you reach a stile in the fence with a footpath sign on a post. Cross the stile and the wide track to continue ahead along a narrow path.
- In 60m cross a stile to immediately turn left and then right and then go over a bridge crossing the M25. Bear left with the path and in 60m reach a busy main road.
- (If the light is fading you can turn left on this main road and continue for about 2km to the centre of Epping and its shops, cafes and pubs. See the end of these walk directions for the route back to Epping Underground station from Epping’s main high street.)
- To continue the walk: cross the road with great care, go over a small ditch and keep ahead for 50m to then pick up a grassy path where you turn right heading for a wood. Enter the wood and in 10m take the left fork . In 40m turn left on a wide track soon passing a white topped footpath post to your right. Away to your left through the wood is a cricket pitch and pavilion. In 100m continue ahead at a cross paths. In 80m pass a car-blocking barrier and continue ahead through a small car park to reach a busy road in 70m.
- Cross this road with care to turn left and then in a few metres veer right past a barrier to go along a tarmac path. In70m you reach another road, which you cross and turn left and then at a T junction in 30m you turn right at a road following the sign for Epping and Loughton. In 50m ignore the public bridleway sign to your right and continue along the pavement. In 30m you pass the Forest Gate Inn to bear right with a minor road past some cottages to your right with woodland to your left.
- In 150m the minor road swings sharply to the left but you continue ahead on an unmade road past a sign for Bell Common. Continue on this unmade road, ignoring ways off until in 140m you go through 3 wooden posts and then another 3 posts in 10m . Bear right with the track to reach a tarmac road in 30m.
- Here is the best place to leave the walk route and head to Epping High Street for meals and refreshments. At the tarmac path go left and to then pick up a track to your right through Bell Common which after a short distance meets up with the main road where you continue along the pavement to Epping High Street. Alternatively you could just keep on the tarmac path until it reaches the main road where you turn right to reach the main shopping area of Epping High Street in a few hundred metres.
- To continue on to Epping Underground Station: cross the track and in 30m reach a public bridleway sign. Continue on the grassy path past a seat on your left and ignore other paths to your left and right to enter a wooded area where in 10 metres you take the left fork into woodland. The path soon narrows and can be quite muddy. In 70m you continue ahead at a cross paths. In 130m you reach a concrete bridleway sign and a road.
- Turn left along the road and in 80m you reach a T junction. Cross the road and turn left soon passing some impressive trees over to your left. You soon cross over Sunnyside road to your right. In 80m cross over Woodland Grove to your right. ! 40m past Woodland Grove just beyond a street lamp go down an easily missed tarmac path to your right soon going down some steps. Continue on the enclosed path as it goes round an extensive car park until you come out to a road. Epping Forest Underground station is 40m away to your right.
- Returning to Epping Underground Station after refreshments and drinks in Epping High Street
- From Epping High Street find Station Road off the High Street at a traffic island about 60m beyond St Johns Baptist Church. Go down this road for 300m to pass Cedar Court on your right. 50m beyond Cedar Court turn right with Station Road to reach Epping underground station in 120m.
- If you have had tea at the recommended Verde Café, 88 High Street, then to get to Epping Underground station turn right out of the café and in 100m turn right into Station Road and then see para 35 above.