One discovery I have made on my quest to explore London by walking, which I did not anticipate, is how much woodland there is around the city. The Spiral has passed through frequent patches of mostly young trees, and not extensive, but together they surface a pre-historical glimpse of the ancient forest that covered this land.
On this walk we tramp through Epping Forest, beginning at The View, at Queen Elizabeth (the first)’s Hunting Lodge. A view which may be essentially unchanged since she used to come here 475 years ago.
But if the woods are so old, how come the trees are so young? These are not ancient trees even if the sites are mentioned in medieval texts. Judging by their girth they’re no more than one or two hundred years old, spindly and low. The beeches here in Epping are not like those you see at Burnham, and none of our forests are as grand as in France.
Meet at: Chingford station, (trains from Liverpool Street), 1pm
When: Sunday 14 January 2018
Distance: 4.5 miles, much of it muddy, cafe half way
Walk to: Enfield Lock station
Cost: free walk through Epping Forest to Enfield station
Here are some of the woods we’ve walked through on the London Spiral:
- Hampstead Heath
- Highgate Wood
- One Tree Hill
- Wanstead Flats, at the tip of Epping Forest, one spiral in
- Mill Hill
- Fryent Country Park
- Wimbledon Common
- Elmstead Woods
- Oxleas Woods
- Claybury Woods
Frozen Connaught Water
Footbridge over Cuckoo Brook
Carroll’s Farm (map)
Compare this scene in 2018 with sixty five years ago:
Sunbeam over Edmonton, and William Girling Reservoir
This is upland, channeling the reservoirs and Lea river below.
Some photos by J. Lawson: