Monday, June 18, 2012

Epping Forest, 5th June

My bank holiday, like everyone else’s was a washout. But Tuesday was holding up reasonably well and so we thought we’d try to take advantage of the break in the rain to get outside. But where? I hit upon Epping Forest. It was reasonably near – we could go there on the tube, have a wander around and then walk back. (Except, of course, by the time it got to walking back it had started raining again and we wimped out of that part, despite taking care to bring our cagoules.)

Epping Forest is not where I thought it would be, namely Epping. In fact, it’s nearest tube station is Snaresbrook and then you just cross a road and you’re there! Epping Forest, is also not what I thought it would be, namely, a forest. It has some foresty areas with trees and woody trails, but in the main it’s like a big grassland park. 

It has a lovely pond at the top, and then another rather large lake on one side, where there are plenty of birds to make you feel like you’re amidst real wildlife, and if you go further on there’s a shop from which you can hire canoes. We didn’t do that because it was cold and wet, which didn’t make us feel like exerting ourselves, but we did stop and watch the swans for quite a while. One particularly amusing moment, for me, was when a dog owner and his dog stood by the edge of the lake and one of the swans took offense at this action. It glared at them (probably concentrating mostly on the poor little pug which hadn’t even barked) and drifted slowly towards them, it’s wings puffed out to make it look bigger, and hissing in an ominous manner. The owner, very sensibly, lead the dog swiftly away. I wouldn’t have wanted to mess with that swan. But apart from that, they were very placid. Even the geese, which can be menacing, mark my words, were very well behaved, happy to swim around drifting toward you with the tide.

The ‘forest’ was quite small, really. We took a route which I thought would lead us into the woods and less than an hour later we found ourselves right by the swan lake again. We realised we had probably walked through most of it and it was time to head home. The heavens opened and reaffirmed our decision.

Stephen was confused that the place should be so small because he thought he had been there before and it was like the forest I had imagined it would be, and then we deduced he had probably been at Wanstead park instead. So, I was a little disappointed with Epping Forest. It is pleasant enough, and would probably have been even more pleasant had the sun been shining. But I don’t think I’ll be putting extra money on my oyster card to visit it again. Can just as easily go to a park in Central London.

The hotel opposite the park - anyone know from whence it gets its name?


  1. Hiya
    I saw a link to your blog via a comment on this website:

    And so it happened that I read this blog post of yours... and although I'm really not the kind of person to leave comments on people's blogs, I really felt I needed to as I was also once disappointed with Epping Forest but only because I also only saw a small part of the forest and didn't venture into the real "forest-like" bits.

    I live in the Epping area, and the Epping Forest is indeed a forest and not just a "big grassland park":) Unfortunately you only went as far as Snaresbrook, which is almost where the forest only starts, and you therefore only saw an extremely small percentage of it!
    Epping Forest is actually the largest public open space in the London area, at almost 6,000 acres :)

    You should really go further out, maybe take the central line all the way to stops such as Buckhurst Hill, Loughton or Theydon Bois.

    Then venture out a bit, to High Beach, a well-established beauty spot from where you can watch the sunset from a little hill, or sit at the pub; also maybe check out Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Chingford.

    But go and see for yourself, hire a bike preferably, it's absolutely beautiful.

    Link to walks and maps of Epping forest:


    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting on this. Reading this I was utterly perplexed, as even though I had expected it to be a lot bigger, I had looked up 'Epping Forest' on my Smartphone with Google maps on it, and we could literally trace our walk on the map, and it showed that we had walked around the whole thing. However, after reading your comment I typed Epping Forest into Google Maps on my desktop and it immediately showed me a massive green area that, indeed, stretches from Buckhurst Hill to Theyden Bois! How bizzare that my phone didn't show me this in the first place, instead of some little outcropping of it in Snaresbrook! I will have to go back, and update. Though it might not be for a while given the appalling and unpredictable weather. (I'm not that hardy.)

      Thank you!


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