Epping Forest Centenary Walk: Manor Park to Epping walk

A walk along the length of an ancient royal forest in East London - Wanstead and Leyton Flats, Walthamstow Forest, Highams Park and Epping Forest. Can be done over two legs.

Length 14.8 miles ( 23.8 km) with 721 ft (220 meters) of ascent
Toughness 5 out of 10. The northern half, through Epping Forest, can be muddy in winter.
OS Maps OS Explorer Map 174 Epping Forest

The Epping Forest Centenary Walk runs the length of Epping Forest, an area of ancient woodland in north east London. It has been protected since the 12th centuary as a royal hunting forest, though more recently (1878) it has been managed by the City of London, and it is this anniversary that this walk was devised by the Friends of Epping Forest to celebrate.

The forest is 12 miles long, but never more than 2.5 miles wide, and lies on a low ridge between the Rivers Lea and Roding. This walk is mainly wooded and the southern half of the route is mainly paved, but the northern part of the walk on unpaved forest trails can be muddy after prolonged wet weather

At the half way point, the route passes close to Chingford train station (and about 1.5 miles away from Buckhurst Hill tube), so the walk can be done as 2 shorter walks of about 7 miles each.

Also at the half way point is the Royal Forest pub (Brewers Fayre), and the Butler's Retreat cafe, both of which are part of the Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge (1543)/The View/Epping Forest Visitor Centre complex.

The walk isn't waymarked. Navigation in the southern half is straightforward. In the northern half though, a map and compass are needed.


The main walk, Manor Park to Epping (15 miles), can be done in 2 parts:

  • A) Manor Park to Chingford (7.5) or Buckhurst Hill (8 miles)
  • B) Chingford (7.5) or Buckhurst Hill (8.5 miles) to Epping

We have 2 other Epping Forest Walks

  • SWC Walk 241 Leytonstone to Loughton : A very similar 'southern half' is which both starts and finishes a little further north than option (A) to cherry pick the nicest bits, not needing to do the whole forest.
  • SWC Walk 197 Loughton to Epping : Another Forest walk, this time in the north, is , which has less crossover with this walk.

Mountain biking (cycling) is popular in the northern half of the walk, especially on Sunday mornings, and in winter (after prolonged wet weather) many paths become impassable for walkers - too churned up by wheels. Add in that cyclists travel at 20mph, and walkers 2mph! In late 2015, the Corporation of London (the forest's managers) held a consultation, which included the effect of cycling. The best solution would be a few paved cycle routes (which would also be wheelchair friendly) and a mountain bike course. In practise, most cyclists would use these, significantly reducing the damage to forest paths, and hopefully reducing the need to ban cycling. Of course, the consultation seems more worried about the effects of cycling on nature, not people :)

Credit This walk was devised by the Friends of Epping Forest

Manor Park (TFL Rail to/from Liverpool Street/Stratford) and Chingford are train stations. Epping (Central Line) is a tube station.

Drivers could park at the visitor centre, and do the walk in 2 halves with a tube ride in between, or park near Epping, and walk south. Manor Park to Epping takes 45 mins (change at Stratford). If you want to split the walk in 2, best to use Buckhurst tube station (Central Line) which although 1.5 miles off the route, connects well with both Epping and Manor Park. There's the 3 Colts gastro pub just before the station.

Lunch Royal Forest, 4 Rangers Road, Chingford, London E4 7QH, food served all day. Good reviews.

The Duke of Wellington in High Beech, High Beech, Waltham Abbey, Loughton IG10 4AH.
The George & Dragon, 208 High Street, Epping, London CM16 4AQ.
The Black Lion, 293 High Street, Epping, London CM16 4DA.
The Duke of Wellington on High Street, 36 High Street, Epping, London CM16 4AE.
The Verde Cafe, 88 High Street, Epping, London CM16 4AE.

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Start E12 5EP Map Directions

Finish CM16 4HW Map Directions


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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