Epping Forest and More
18th March 2009
|Walk Chingford Views High Beach Upshire Copped Hall Epping Maps Thanks Notes Read Me|
A feature of this roughly 12½ mile walk is that it goes in and out of Epping Forest and explores places outside and to the north west of the Forest. We start in Chingford, where we can take a look at Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge. Then we head for a section of the London Loop from where we can look to the South to take in the City of London with its skyscrapers, and to the West, to take in part of the Lea Valley. After that comes Gilwell Park of Scouting fame and then we reach the golf course at Lippit's Hill to enjoy some more views towards the northern reaches of the Capital.
Eventually we reach High Beach with its Victorian (1873) church ("The Church of the Holy Innocents"). The village of Upshire is next on our itinerary, before we get to Copped Hall. Here the appropriately named "Copped Hall Trust" is working hard to restore the Hall to something of its former glory. Then comes some more rolling countryside before we complete our walk at Epping.
This 12½ mile walk has a maximum elevation of 120 metres (394 feet) and an associated total ascent of 309 metres (1014 feet) and so should be amenable to most individuals of reasonable physical ability. An additional attractive aspect of this walk is that it starts and ends in the TfL Fare Zone 6 and so should simplify ticketing. Getting to Chingford from London Liverpool Street Station is usually quick; Central Line trains from Epping take about half an hour to whisk you back to the Capital.
Most of the pictures you see here I took on 18 March 2009. However, I have added some more pictures, mainly more recent, to complete this presentation. So that you know which pictures were not taken on 18 March 2009, I have used the letters (in curly brackets), as given in the supporting notes, at the end of the captions of the relevant pictures on this web page.
Chingford (Link), while still in London, is one of the gateways to Epping Forest, most of which is in Essex. The Epping Forest Act 1878 transferred the Crown's rights over Epping Forest to the City of London Corporation who were named as the "official conservators"; this enabled and ensured public use of the open spaces of Epping Forest. Before we enter the forest, we might get a chance to view - outside and inside - Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge
We now walk westwards, leaving the Forest to join part of the London Loop. Here we can look to the South to take in the City of London with its skyscrapers, and to the West, to take in part of the Lea Valley. Northwards we go past the gates of Gilwell Park of Scouting fame. Then we reach the golf course at Lippit's Hill to enjoy some more views towards the northern reaches of the Capital. Our path skirts around the base of the National Police Air Service where we can hear the frequent comings and goings of the police helicopters.
High Beach (link) is a village inside Epping Forest. The planned expansion of the village, in anticipation of the extension of the railway from Chingford, never fully materialised because the railway was literally "cut short in its tracks" at Chingford. The Epping Forest Act 1878 put a stop to the railway extension and thus to the expansion at High Beach. The public ultimately benefitted and still benefits to this day!
The centre of High Beach is essentially the King's Oak Hotel and Pub. On summer weekends High Beach assumes the atmosphere of a beach at a seaside resort, with the snack stands to match. Away from the hustle and bustle we find, as we come into High Beach from the south, the church of "The Holy Innocents", built in 1873. As we leave High Beach to the north, we pass a view point where we can look across towards Waltham Abbey.
The Three Forests Way takes us from High Beach across the roaring M25 to the village of Upshire. Before we reach Upshire we can catch a glimpse of Copped Hall which we shall see close-up later on our walk. Weather boarded houses welcome us as we enter the village. Beyond the "Horseshoe Pub" is the church of St Thomas which is Grade II* listed and built in 1902. Our route takes into Warlies Park up Temple Hill to the actual "Temple" or "Classical Rotunda" built in 1737. From here we can look down to Warlies Park House, built, perhaps surprisingly for such a mansion, in a dip in the landscape.
A slight deviation from our main route brings us to the East Front of Copped Hall. The "new" Copped Hall was built between 1751 and 1758 to replace an earlier nearby building. The Hall was burnt out in 1917, apparently due to an electrical fault, although another version of the story is that some servants went on the roof to witness the downing of a doodlebug a few miles distant, and the roof was set on fire by a lighted taper. The appropriately named "Copped Hall Trust" is working hard to restore the Hall to something of its former glory.
We shall soon reach Epping, the end of our walk and the end of the Central Line. The heritage line, the Epping-Ongar Railway, also starts here. Because of the highway men who at one time used to lie in wait in Epping Forest for travellers, it was deemed advisable for those travelling to London, to stay overnight in Epping before proceeding further during the day. Hence there were at one time 26 coaching inns in Epping High Street. However, only two survive today as public houses.
Thank you to those who have in the past accompanied me on this walk, not only to enjoy each other's company, but also to enjoy the pleasant undulating countryside that characterises this part of South Essex. Thank you also to the Weather Gods, who were usually quite well behaved whenever I did this walk!