Saturday, 12 March 2011

Weekday walk #7

We headed to Epping Forest yesterday for our weekday walk.  We wanted something local, and a little shorter than usual.  We also hoped we might see the very first bright green buds and leaves on the trees.

We met up at Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge in the Chingford part of the forest, and after changing into our walking boots and unfolding and re-folding our OS maps for about ten minutes we headed for the trees.  You really do need walking boots in Epping Forest at this time of year - the ground is very muddy in places, and churned up by mountain bikes and horses.

Hoof prints
Hoof prints along a bridleway in Epping Forest

The sun shone and we yomped along, happily photographing bits of lichen and new buds, and stopping to say hello to the very many dogs and horses who were also out enjoying the fresh air and spring sunshine with their owners.

New growth
New growth

Spring yellow
Yellow spring lichen

Pussy willow
Irresistable pussy willow

Blue skies over Epping Forest
Blue skies
We walked through the forest to the Epping Forest Visitor Centre at High Beach, and then back to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, which made an easy six mile loop altogether. 

There are some  hills in Epping Forest, which, although very modest really, were still a bit of a shock after our last couple of months of perfectly flat riverside and canalside walks.  I jogged up a long hill at High Beach to get a photo of Gill at the bottom adding some perspective, and my legs could certainly feel it afterwards!

Steep hill near High Beech, Epping Forest
Gill at the bottom of the hill at High Beach

Hazy spring green
spring is coming!

Spring buds
buds of blossom

Beautiful new beech leaves
new beech leaves

Pollarded tree
pollarded tree

The tree man kisses a daff
the tree-man at the Visitor Centre smells a daffodil

I love Epping Forest so much.  I've been coming here for walks ever since I first moved to East London - long ones by myself or shorter ones with the family.  They're all good.  When O got her first camera a few years ago, she spent the whole of a four mile walk along the bridleways photographing horse poo.  G goes for long runs through Epping Forest all through the year - in the winter months, coming home exhilarated and caked in mud.  Next weekend he's running in the infamous Orion 15 race, which includes the section that Gill and I walked yesterday.

Epping Forest is a properly ancient forest going much further back in history than Queen Elizabeth I.  You can still see an iron-age hill camp possibly used by Boudicca, and I'm sure it was around for thousands of years before that.  Among the beeches, holly and the hawthorn there are some enormously solid oak trees that sit placidly watching the walkers, runners, dogs, horses and school children exploring below.

We sat under one to drink our coffee and soak up the spring sunshine.

Coffee break

Good vapour trails


  1. What a treat to have such a lovely place on your doorstep!

  2. I love the tree man! I haven't been to Epping Forest for years but remember going there to collect mushrooms to be identified by a mycologist!!! He was truly impressed by my collection! I wish I lived nearer to it as I am sure I would visit often. Beautiful photos too.

  3. Those skies look a bit more promising than last time!

  4. I love your blog, there are so many interesting posts to read.


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