30th October 2016: Epping Forest

On an atmospherically misty Autumnal Sunday, 11 Red Ropers took the Liverpool Street train to Chingford, for a six mile circular walk through the green/orange/russet/brown/red leaf-fall delights of Epping Forest.
In a mixed species party of 10 people and a charming Norfolk terrier called Woody, we headed east from Chingford rail station and passed close to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, while walk leader Steve Butters filled us in on some of its historical associations with its originating Tudor dynasty. Then our route swung north, across the Plain and up the Centenary Way bridleway to the only village in Epping Forest, namely High Beach. I’ll let Steve describe what occurred next…
“The snacks kiosk adjoining the Kings Oak pub provides a good supply of tea, coffee, veggie burgers and chips for bikers and others who stop here [as did we – and their bacon ciabatta gets my double-thumbs-up – TDJ]; and if the weather is mild the central common will suit picnickers. The pub is not recommended, except for shelter if rain is heavy. Those wanting a comfortable indoor lunch break are recommended to take this at The Owl in Lippitts Hill 1.5 miles on.
After a break we now cross the common and turn back south along the lane, passing High Beach Church and several mansions, before taking Pepper Alley towards another fine house. This drive gives way to a narrow path down rough farmland to the respectable village of Lippitts Hill. (It must be respectable, there is a Met Police base here.) A stop at The Owl may well attract support, though be warned that it will be busy [we enjoyed a welcome { tea | beer } break at The Owl, where I met a beautiful tan horse called Munch – TDJ]. From here we strike south through field and woodland paths past Sewardstonebury golf course and onward to Chingford Plain to return to the nearby train station.”
In the preceding week, BBC Autumnwatch 2016 had highlighted how the heavy autumnal dews of October can help bring into view the industriousness of our wild spiders, in spinning their fly trap webs – and this was indeed one of the natural beauty highlights of this delightful walk: 2D and 3D webs spun in trees, bushes, and undergrowth, picked out by the glistening of ultra-fine water droplets condensed upon them from dewfall and mist.
 
Tim Dalinian Jones
 
If you’d like to see 10 photos from our Epping Forest Walk, plus a map, and links to places of interest, please do feel free to visit my:
● ‘Epping Forest Walk – RR.LDN – Sun 30 Oct 2016‘ photo album
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