Walks And Walking – Essex Walks Epping Forest Willow Trail Walking Route
This walking route is a classic family walk in Epping Forest starting in Connaught Water Chingford. This is a new walking route and extremely well signposted following the newly resurfaced pathways and the wide well maintained tracks of Epping Forest. The quirky feature of The Willow Trail Epping Forest is that the map on the information board next to the car park clearly shows that you should start the walk in a clockwise direction around to the left hand side of the lake. However, the waymarkers are all set as if you were starting the walk in an anti-clockwise direction. It doesn’t make any real difference as there is a waymarker at every single turning point making it a really easy walk to follow.
I started the walk in a clockwise direction from the information board and turning left and walking around the lake turning left at the first dark green arrow waymarker, these are the waymarkers I then followed for the entire walking route. I then turned right at the next waymarker keeping straight ahead at the next waymarker up the wide gravel track where I saw a Muntjac Deer running across the path.
I kept walking straight ahead passed The Willow Trail signpost keeping straight ahead at the next waymarker turning right at the next waymarker continuing up the wide gravel track. I continued my walk straight ahead at the next waymarker keeping right at the next waymarker and then turning right at the next waymarker. I then kept straight ahead at the next waymarker keeping left at the next waymarker and then turning left at the next waymarker. (See what I mean about it being well signposted!). I carried on walking straight ahead at the next waymarker then turned right at the top by the metal barrier and walking back down the wide track parallel to the one I had just walked up passed the next waymarker. I continued my walk all the way down this track passing the next waymarker to the next waymarker and then back to Connaught Water.
At the end of the walk I returned to the information board just to make sure I had got the clockwise/anti-clockwise thing correct and read the rest of the leaflet. It also mentions that it is only approximately 1.5 miles but ViewRanger recorded 2.56 miles which took me 1 hour and 5 minutes. It also said there is a steep climb but I didn’t find it and I’m not entirely sure if there is one on this walk. On the leaflet next to The Willow Trail there were some guided walks available with one of them being led by Senior Forest Keeper Nick Baker which promised “a ascinating insight into the management of the Deer Sanctuary”. Hmmm…..