The Big Walk


The Epping Forest Big Walk returns this month, inviting residents to walk the entire length of the Forest in one day. Amy Liu from the Epping Forest Heritage Trust reports

We look forward to welcoming walkers of all ages and from all walks of life to join us and walk the whole length or part of Epping Forest in a day, as the Epping Forest Big Walk returns for its first full-scale event since the pandemic. 

The walk was previously known as the Centenary Walk, as it was established in 1978 for the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Epping Forest Act 1878. The route covers the whole length of the Forest, starting from Manor Park in Newham, skirting Wanstead and Woodford towards Highams Park, passing Chingford Plain, High Beach and going all the way to Epping in Essex. 

Organised with support from the West Essex Ramblers and the City of London Corporation, the event provides the opportunity to walk the entire length of Epping Forest, about 14.1 miles, in a day. It is now one of the biggest annual events celebrating Epping Forest and its irreplaceable biodiversity, culture and heritage. The walk will take us through some of the most iconic locations and ancient monuments, as well as provide the chance to experience the mosaic of habitats the Forest encompasses, from grass plains, heathlands and ponds to ancient woodlands. 

The route will be guided by volunteers from Epping Forest Heritage Trust and West Essex Ramblers, and it will be nicely paced with three main stops along the way – at Highams Park Lake, Chingford Visitor Centre (Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge) and High Beach Visitor Centre – for breaks and refreshments. There will also be short informative talks along the route, from which you will learn more about the wildlife, conservation, history and management of Epping Forest. 

Everyone is welcome! It is an event for communities to come together, celebrate and get inspired by this wonderful ancient forest. You do not need to be a professional hiker to join us. Depending on your preference, you can choose to walk the full route or take part in one of the smaller local sections. Here is the timetable for the full route:

  • 9am: start at the junction of Forest Drive and Capel Road, near Manor Park Station.
  • 10am: depart Green Man roundabout.
  • 11.25am: depart from Michael Mallinson Scout Centre, Highams Park Lake.
  • 12.40pm: arrive at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge; 1.30pm: depart Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge.
  • 2.30pm: depart High Beach Visitor Centre.
  • 4.30pm: arrive at Bell Common, Epping.

The Epping Forest Big Walk 2022 will take place on 25 September. To register (free; donations welcome), visit wnstd.com/bigwalk22

Author: Editor