Stage 29 – The Remnant Forest

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.

epping which way

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.

connaught ponies

connaught trail

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:

epping hutches

connaught pondFrozen Connaught Water

bridge over cuckoo brookFootbridge over Cuckoo Brook

Carroll’s Farm (map)carrolls farm

Compare this scene in 2018 with sixty five years ago:

Photo from Bob Wheeler:
Have just rummaged through some old photo’s I took when probably around ten years old, living at Buckhurst Hill and out on my bike in 1953. They show the cottage and duck pond a short way along the road from Gilwell Park just before heading downhill to the Lee Valley (and at that time its hundreds of commercial greenhouses mainly growing tomatoes). 
I was trying to persuade my father to go and look at it as we were thinking of moving but he just scoffed saying we needed a sensible brick built home with future potential, not a rubbishy old wooden cottage. He eventually bought a 1930’s property on a bungalow estate just outside Romford. It would be interesting to know the comparative prices of both properties today!

carrolls farm viewing


sunbeam on edmontonSunbeam over Edmonton, and William Girling Reservoir

leila stile

sara judy gilwell hill


This is upland, channeling the reservoirs and Lea river below.

king georges reservoir tree

river lea

enfield lockEnfield Lock


Some photos by J. Lawson:


jane- carrols shed

jane- gilwell hill

jane- stile gilwell hill

jane- lea or lee

jane- swan + geese

jane- enfield lock



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