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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Saturday Second Walk: Leaf Colour on Oyster, with late start, but map-led

SWC Walk 259 – Epping Forest Centenary Walk: Manor Park to Epping

Length: 23.8 km (14.8 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  315 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness:  5 out of 10 
Take the 10.00 Shenfield train from Liverpool Street (10.07 Stratford, then Maryland and Forest Gate), arriving Manor Park at 10.13.  
Return: Central Line from Epping, departing every few mins.
This is a map-led walk without any written directions. For a shorter walk in the same area (and with full written directions) check next Sunday's postings.  
First outing of this walk originally created by the Friends of Epping Forest in 1978. 
The Epping Forest Centenary Walk runs the length of Epping Forest, an area of ancient woodland in north east London on a low ridge between two rivers, The Lea and The Roding. It has been protected since the 12th century as a royal hunting forest, though more recently (1878) it has been managed by the City of London, and to celebrate this anniversary this walk was devised. The walk is mainly wooded and the southern half of the route mainly paved, but the northern part of the walk on unpaved forest trails can be muddy after prolonged wet weather. The route passes close to Chingford Station about halfway for an easy dropout. 

Also at the halfway point lie the lunch options: the Royal Forest pub (Brewers Fayre), and the Butler's Retreat café in a restored barn, both part of the Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge/Epping Forest Visitor Centre  complex. For tea there is the Duke of Wellington  en-route in High Beech and then a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Epping High Street, incl. The George and Dragon, The Black Lion and The Duke of Wellington, and various chain cafés. Recommended is the Verde Café at 88 High Street.

For map, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.


Thomas G said...

Intend going.

Walker said...

I lived 8.5 years in Leytonstone and used to do a version of this walk regularly. You can walk all the way out of London in the forest, but in the early stages you have to do some ingenious threading in and out of the housing. But it is a cracking day out and at this time of year the tree colour in Epping Forest can be spectacular.

Give my regard to Wansted Flats, my very own African Savannah, and the Whips Cross ponds!

Sue said...

I haven't walked with the SWC before so just want to check there will be some fellow walkers to join at Manor Park?

Walker said...

The walk poster himself is going: see first comment. And I would be surprised if there is not a fair sized group

Anonymous said...

I have never walked with this group before. I wonder how can I identify you guys? I'll be joining at Manor Park.

Thomas G said...

We usually meet on the platform and 'do names', so join us if there are no barriers at the station, else we'll meet you at the barriers.

Anonymous said...

Great! Thank you Thomas


Mike A said...

I did this walk in September with the Friends of Epping Forest and joined at the Green Man Roundabout. This has a nice oasis under the roadways and is easily reachable from the Central Line Leytonstone Tube Station (famous for it's Alfred Hitchcock mosaics).
The walking time from Manor Park to the Green Man Roundabout is about 40 mins (say 30 mins at a brisk pace - so a rendez-vous at about 10:45 am should be possible).
Perhaps Thomas you could look out for folks who may wish to start from there?

Thomas G said...

Sure will do. Another SWC regular has already 'threatened' to join in L'stone...

Thomas G said...

6 walkers off the train, 4 more outside at the barriers (the barrier being a fierce-looking man), incl. one of the two pre-announced first-timers, set off in what turned out to be w=continous-light-rain. We negotiated our way through/between the football pitches on Wanstead Flats, part-guided by the white-topped poles that we were told would be our best guide along the route, apart from the gpx file on the site.
We then picked up 3 more walkers at the Green Man roundabout in Leytonstone, so were up to n=13 walkers. While Wanstead Flats was basically semi-wild parkland with sports fields, Leyton Flats were just semi-wild. After negotiating a few road crossings, usually on bridges, the character changed again to proper woodland, leading to our dear map-and-compass leader taking a wrong fork and forcing the group a little further along to regain the route by wading through 100m or so of low-hanging tree branches.
Nevermind, spirits didn't drop one bit, as the whole group was quite a chatty lot and very distracted, so he got away with that error. We then picked up the Ching River and basically followed it to lunch, again through some lovely woodland, considering this was still in completely urbanised areas.
At Chingford 2 people went to the Butler's Retreat Cafe (very good reports), while the rest (minus 1 retiree) chose the Royal Forest pub. Initial scepticism caused by the chain pub offerings were largely dispelled, as the food was quick in delivery and pretty decent in quality.
3 more walkers bailed out after lunch ('it's too wet', 'I got a plumber coming in'), but we were joined by one other walker, so went on as a group of 10.
Now the afternoon was Epping Forest at its best: not many people (the rain), very little mud (the main drives are almost entirely gravel now), leaf colours galore, mist descending from the treetops, droplets falling even when it wasn't raining, and nicely undulating in character on top of everything. Splendid indeed.
En route we had a good look at the Ambresbury Banks Iron Age Fort, just off the track, supposedly the site of the last stand by Boudica against the Romans in the year 61, but in any case probably the best preserved bank-and-ditch earthworks of this size so close to London?
On to Epping and - despite some people's stamina waining - at Epping Station for 16.45, in gloomy conditions, and too late for any cafes, but with everyone happy.
3 took the tube there and then, 7 went on to the nearest pub, which turned out to be a walk in itself: what felt like 15 minutes of uphill strut to the High Street. The George & Dragon was decidedly upmarket (the dining area twice as large as the bar area) and packed, so it took a while and a drink just for a table to become available.
All in all a great day, and maybe, just maybe, the perfect walk for the weather?