Walks And Walking – Essex Walks Epping Forest Deer Sanctuary Walking Route
This Essex walk starts in Debden heading out East to Abridge, up and around to Theydon Bois and then back down passed the Epping Forest Deer Sanctuary at Birch Hall down through Epping Forest back to Debden. This is a walking route I have been planning to do for a long time but I have been more preoccupied with tracking the wild Deers in Epping Forest rather than visiting them in a sanctuary. Still, it was good to know that I would be guaranteed to see them all.
This was my first decent walk with my new Scarpa walking boots so I was keen to get them out for a good 9 mile stretch to see how my feet coped. The weather was very mild so I kept my walking jacket in the rucksack and we set off.
From Debden London Underground Station we headed down to the BMW dealership and turned left in to the industrial estate walking all the way down this road to the end where we found the first yellow waymarker on the fence which took us in to the woodland passed the sports ground on our right hand side. This area has obviously received some funding as all of the fences and kissing gates were brand new. We walked across the field to a signpost walking ahead to another on our right hand side to a footbridge and kissing gate through the woods to another kissing gate turning right by the yellow waymarker signpost keeping right by the M11 straight ahead to a yellow waymarker signpost and gate following the yellow waymarker signpost slightly uphill turning right over the M11 with a view over Abridge.
We followed this track all the way to Piggots Farm crossing over the stile by the yellow waymarker signpost turning right in to Epping Lane and then left at the signpost following the yellow waymarker signpost on the left. We then turned right over the footbridge and then left to a footbridge and stile keeping straight ahead to the next yellow waymarker signpost stile and footbridge to the next footbridge keeping left and around to a gate and stile turning right to walk under the M11 and then left at the next yellow waymarker signpost to the Woodland Trust Notice Board where we followed the wide track all the way round the field edge to the next Woodland Trust Notice Board. All of this area has been giving a really good makeover with new pathways and areas of conservation.
It was here we spotted a Common Buzzard which was quite nice to see before we then turned right and followed the path around the fence field to the top where we walked through a gap in the trees through open fields to the Obelisk Boundary Stone ahead of us by the railway tracks.
This was a detour to the main walk but we were quite curious to go and have a look at the Boundary Stone. After a few minutes we doubled backed on ourselves walking next to the railway tracks through the farmland keeping left as we walked through the farm and up the track turning left at the gap in to the residential housing area passed the roundabout where we kept left to join Theydon Park Road. We then turned right down to the green and left along the tarmac path up to the road where we walked straight over and up to the main road where we turned left at the signpost for Waltham Abbey.
We walked all the way up to the Sixteen String Jack pub turning left at the old-fashioned Public Footpath To Loughton signpost at Birch Hall Farm where we walked straight ahead to the wooden gate and the perimeter fence of the Epping Forest Deer Sanctuary. We then stopped for plenty of photographs before moving on straight ahead and then right in to Epping Forest all the way down hill to the road turning right at the metal gate at Debden Lane turning left in to Pyrles Lane straight ahead to Chigwell Lane. We then turned left back down the main road to Debden Station after a good 9.5 miles and 3.5 hours.
We then got in to the car and drove back to the Sixteen String Jack pub for a salt beef sandwich and a few pints of McMullen ale. Intrigued by the name and the humorous sign outside the pub I looked up the name and it relates to John “Sixteen String Jack” Rann (1750 – November 30, 1774) who was an English criminal and highwayman during the mid-18th century. He was a prominent and colourful local figure renowned for his wit and charm, he would later come to be known as “Sixteen String Jack” for the 16 various coloured strings he wore on the knees of his silk breeches among other eccentric costumes. Nice.