Epping Forest stretches over 12 miles from east London into Essex and covers over 2,500 hectares (nearly 6,200 acres). A former Royal Forest, it was used by Kings and Queens of England as a hunting ground.
Our party of 8 scooter riders and 11 walkers (including new members Wendy and John) for this ramble was supplemented by 6 new volunteer/potential towers, who had come to be trained by Judy and Bernard Cunningham on the intricacies of the MSU, FSU and the toilet tent!
It was another glorious summer day and thankfully much of this ramble was along forest paths providing lovely dappled shade. From the Bury Road car park we crossed the somewhat bumpy and very open Chingford Plain before moving into the welcome shade of the forest proper. Our route took us on mostly compacted tracks and grass land. We had to cross the busy Epping New Road, but with the help of our army of helpers, suitably decked out in DR Hi-Viz jackets, the crossing was negotiated without incident. The final section of the morning’s route took us along the appropriately named (and fairly steep) Ups and Downs, before we stopped for lunch in some welcome shade at Rushey Plain, close to the Epping Forest Visitor Centre at High Beech.
After lunch we embarked on the long incline (luckily mostly downwards), crossing the main road safely once more, towards the beautiful Connaught Water, with its abundance of water birds. From here we crossed open grassland up to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, dating from 1543 and the Chingford Visitor Centre. From here it was a short trek down to Chingford Plain to return to our starting point.
Mark and Bee
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