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Walking

Dead fit

Walking is a great way to keep in good shape, enjoy fresh air and explore the locality. Newham may in some ways be a typical inner city borough, but it benefits from the nearby Epping Forest, as well as rivers and canals and other good walkways.

Epping Forest has its own celebrated (though underused) Centenary Walk to mark one hundred years (1878-1978) of the Epping Forest Act which protects the forest. The walk starts at Manor Park station and ends at Epping station and is approximately fifteen miles long. It has been fully documented and explained in a pamphlet written in 1978 by two officers the West Essex Group of the Ramblers' Association (Fred Matthews and Harry Bitten).

The pamphlet is an important and interesting document of some historical interest. It is now out of print and hard to come by, so a PDF copy has been made and can be downloaded HERE. It is testimony to the impact of the Act that 34 years after the publication of the pamphlet, the walk is largely intact, despite having had the M25 motorway built beneath it.

The walk can be done comfortably in a day, and in celebration of its existence the Friends of Epping Forest mount an annual guided walk along its route every year in mid September. However, the walk can also be enjoyed in two separate parts, each of which is a great outing at any time of year. It is remarkably easy to get lost in the forest, however, so it is important to have good maps (e.g OS Explorer 174), compass and route descriptions. Smart phones and tablets can be a great help, but don't depend on them as signals can be lost in the forest. And be sure to be properly dressed with good walking boots.

Route descriptions for two shorter walks, together with the first of the main two Epping Forest walks (Walk 3. Forest Gate to Chingford) are given below. The second (Epping to Chingford) is planned for the future. For other walks, see the left column.

Walk 1. Wanstead via Wanstead Flats and Wanstead Park.

Description

This walk is about 2.5 miles, taking up to an hour at a steady pace. It crosses the open space of Wanstead Flats, before a short road walk and then the woodland of Epping Forest, ponds and islands, and a wonderful bluebell wood. Past the golf course there is a half-mile walk along tree-lined streets, then Wanstead Green, before the shopping area of Wanstead, with bakers, delis and cafes, for refreshments.

Walk 2. Leytonstone via City of London Cemetery, Wanstead Ponds and Blake Hall Road. (Amended September 2012)

Description

This walk is about 5 miles, taking up to two hours at a steady pace. Skirting the huge City of London Cemetery, it passes Alder's Brook, allotments and the River Roding, before open land (great blackberry bramble territory in August) gives way to Epping Forest woodland and the ponds. On past the Temple, more ponds and woodland, it crosses Blake Hall Road into Bush Wood, then along 'The Avenue' across the west section of Wanstead Flats. It ends with a short road walk to the station.

Walk 3. Forest Gate to Chingford.

Description

This walk is about 7-8 miles, taking three to four hours at a steady pace. It crosses Wanstead Flats to the north-west past Bushwood to the Green Man roundabout and continues over Whipps Cross to Snaresbrook Road, round the back of Forest School, to Woodford New Road. The route continues north on bridges over Forest Road and the North Circular up to Highams Park boating lake, round Woodford golf course, then past Whitehall Plain to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge at Chingford.


Two fine blueball walks for springtime

Bluebell walk 1. Wanstead Park.

Description

This walk is about three miles, there and back. It crosses the open space of Wanstead Flats, before a short road walk and then the woodland of Epping Forest, ponds and islands, and the bluebell wood.

 

Bluebell walk 2. Oxleas Wood

Description

This walk is about five miles, from the Woolwich Ferry to Falconwood station, through Maryon Park, Charlton Park, Woolwich Common, Eltham Common, Oxleas Wood and Shepherdleas Wood. It follows closely the first leg of the Capital Ring walk and section 5 of the Green Chain Walk (see left panel)




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