13.4km (8.4miles) Difficulty 3/10
There should be some autumn colour on this walk, through the ancient woodland of Epping Forest to lunch at a pub in Upshire. After lunch there's open countryside with good views around Copped Hall Park.
The forest is renowned for its ancient pollarded trees, primarily oak, beech and hornbeam, which support a wealth of rare insects and fungi. It is common to see deer in the more open areas. In the afternoon, you may see English Longhorn cattle.
Start from Loughton Underground Station at 10.30am. Meet outside near the ticket gates.
Loughton and Epping are both in Travel Zone 6 on the Central Line. Loughton is about 37 minutes from Oxford Circus. Use the TfL journey planner to calculate your journey time from other stations.
There is parking at both Loughton and Epping stations.
You could have an early lunch at High Beach Visitor Centre where there is a refreshments kiosk, toilets, café and the nouveau-posh Kings Oak pub (0208 508 5000).
The Horseshoes pub (01992 712745) in Copthall Green is better placed, with friendly service and good food. Nearby, St Thomas’ Church has a pleasant grassy area with benches suitable for a picnic. (The other pub we used to visit, the Good Intent, is no longer a pub).
The Verde Café, 88 High Street, Epping (01992 571476) is recommended. Tea in china cups and delicious cakes. It closes at 4pm on a Sunday. If you're too late, there are any number of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Epping High Street (see text).
Walk Directions here
The path through the forest from paragraph 7 to 11 can be tricky to follow. A map and compass or gps device would be helpful.
You can shorten the walk to about 5 miles by staying on the Three Forest Way at paragraph 7. This rejoins the main walk near the end (see text).