Walks And Walking – Essex Walks Epping Forest Family Walking Route
I have now completed over 25 Epping Forest walks but still think I have only just scratched the surface of this beautiful ancient woodland. I have walked along most of the main tracks and pathways, from the start of Epping Forest in East London all the way up to Hatfield Forest, and most of the surrounding areas. Today I plotted out a walking route covering all my favourite places to visit in the heart of Epping Forest , keeping it to an easily manageable 5 miles suitable for everyone to enjoy.
From Bury Road Car Park I started this walking route at The Holly Trail signpost and then walked up along the edge of Epping Forest passing an old Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough on my left hand side, with views of Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge across Chingford Plain on my right.
Entering Epping Forest and crossing Cuckoo Brook I then joined The Willow Trail on the Green Ride seeing plenty of Tree Pollarding on the way to Fairmead Bottom. Next up was the famous “biker’s cafe” and from there I joined the Centenary Walk and then the Forest Way before venturing off the beaten track to discover Loughton Camp.
Dropping down to Kate’s Cellar before meeting Strawberry Hill Ponds it was a lovely open wide grassy path walk down to the end of the old Fairmead Road, crossing the footbridge over a stream to an area now reserved for Tree Coppicing.
After Connaught Water conservation area I walked across the top of Chingford Plain to the newly refurbished Butlers Retreat and Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, followed by an easy stroll back down to the start of the walk.
I took my time making sure I wrote down every step and turn of the walk to make it as easy as possible to follow. I tried to avoid walking along busy roads and made sure there were plenty of places to stop for a rest (with Loughton Camp being the perfect venue for a mid-walk packed lunch).
This Epping Forest walking route was recorded on ViewRanger at just over 5 miles, taking me 2 hours and 30 minutes of very, very leisurely walking.
The Detailed Walking Route
The walk started at The Holly Trail signpost in Bury Road car park where I walked left along the wide gravel path turning right at the metal barrier walking up Chingford Plain with Epping Forest on my left hand side to the Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough on my left passing the wooden cattle pen to the wide grassy path ahead with Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in view across the plain on my right hand side.
I continued my walk straight ahead by the white topped bridleway signpost keeping left at the top by the large wooden waymarker on to the wide gravel track crossing over Cuckoo Brook through the Holly Trees.
At The Willow Trail and The Holly Trail signpost I turned left and then right along the wide gravel track which then went left and slightly uphill following this track to the left taking the second wide gravel track on the right by the dark green arrow waymarker.
I then walked straight ahead passing an area of Tree Pollarding on my right hand side and another dark green arrow waymarker on my left hand side keeping right at the next dark green arrow waymarker to the metal barrier at Fairmead Bottom.
I then walked left up the wide grassy path bridleway parallel to the mainly disused Fairmead Road passing a small car park on my left hand side climbing slightly uphill to the famous Biker’s Cafe on my right hand side. At the road I kept left on to the wide verge turning right across the road by the next metal barrier to then walk through the wooden fences protecting the brooks.
I then continued straight ahead through the Silver Birch Trees as the wide gravel path undulated through the forest spotting many really big fallen trees due to Coppicing, Pollarding and storms. Just after the wooden post on my left hand side I turned right where the tracks formed a Y shape around trees downhill to the road. I then crossed straight over the road to a metal barrier to then join the Forest Way turning right at the old signpost following a narrow track.
As the track veered to the right I walked left climbing slightly uphill off the beaten track through dense woodland to discover the whereabouts of Loughton Camp joining a faint track keeping right to then join the end of a very muddy track in the depths of Monk Wood.
At the Loughton Camp Information Board I kept to the main track that skirted around the right hand side of the top of the camp keeping left until the path went right downhill with the tree roots almost making steps down to a clearing of trees and the main track by Kate’s Cellar and an optional meandering walk around Loughton Brook Valley.
I then walked right up the main track climbing steadily uphill all the way to the metal barrier and small car park. Keeping to the left through the double wooden posts I crossed the road to the next set of double posts at Strawberry Hill Ponds where I turned right just before the second and larger pond through an unexpected area of gorse in to an open space with the pond on my left hand side.
I then walked straight ahead and slightly right to enter the woodland keeping right at the fork heading gently downhill to the next metal barrier.
I then crossed straight over the road through a wooden gate walking sharp left at the white topped bridleway signpost down the wide grassy path running parallel to the road. I kept straight ahead at the next bridleway signpost walking left at the last bridleway signpost on to the end of Fairmead Road turning right at the metal barrier following the dark green arrow waymarker down the wide gravel track to rejoin The Willow Trail.
I then turned left just before the next dark green arrow waymarker to cross a rare footbridge in this part of Epping Forest over a stream turning right and walking down to Connaught Water through an area reserved for Tree Coppicing.
At the top of Connaught Water I walked right around the edge of the water passing fenced off conservation areas seeing plenty or Swans, Ducks, Geese and Rare Breeds before turning right at the next dark green waymarker by the trees walking quickly downhill to join the well maintained wide gravel track to the Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge signpost by another area reserved for Tree Coppicing on my left hand side.
I walked straight ahead keeping to the left hand side at the next white topped bridleway signpost to the Drinking Fountain next to Butlers Retreat where I then walked right along the narrow track behind Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge heading downhill to the left of the bushes and back down to the car park.