17th February 2018

via Copped Hall and High Beach

Epping Copped Hall High Beach Waltham X Abbey Features Postscript Read Me

Our Walk

Our Saturday walk from Epping to the outskirts of Waltham Cross was ably led by John C. The company was good! The sunny weather was good for walking and the paths were not too muddy!! In view of the transportation challenges on a Sunday (e.g. Engineering Works on the mainline from Liverpool Street) the location of the walk and the later start of 11:00 am was much appreciated! The distance we covered, by my humble measurements, was about 10.10 miles (16.26 Km). Had we reached Waltham Abbey, this figure would have risen to 10.77 miles (17.34 Km).

We pass Copped Hall, presently being renovated by the appropriately named Copped Hall Trust.

We set out from Epping at the end of the Central Line. Next, we savour the open countryside and see the running deer - parents and offspring. Then we pass by Copped Hall which has an interesting history and is presently being renovated/rebuilt by the Copped Hall Trust. High Beach (NOT High Beech so John reminded us!!) - with its motorised weekend day trippers and snack outlets is next on our agenda. Then it's cross-country to the housing estates - seemingly fashioned in the "brutalist" architecture much favoured in the fifties and sixties - of Waltham Cross. We don't quite make the historical and cultural gem that is Waltham Abbey - but perhaps that's for another time when the days are longer. Homewards we then all go, refreshed by a good day's exercise.


We start out from Epping Station, which, as most of us know, is the present (north eastern) end of the Central Line. The station was built in 1865 by the Great Eastern Railway (GER) and still retains its Victorian architecture. At the station, vintage London buses to North Weald and to Ongar connect at these two stations with the "Epping Ongar" heritage railway (EOR). The EOR has featured as part of other CLOG walks. Epping Station is the start of the Essex Way to Harwich, all 81 or 82 miles of it.

Anyway, we all meet up for a reasonably prompt departure. The 11:00 start was much appreciated by all. No rushing to set off from home in the early twilight hours! Thank you, John, for responding to our wishes for a leisurely start!

Epping Station always seems to be busy - even at Weekends.
The typical Victorian red-brick GER station building is on the west side of the station.

This iron work on the platform goes back to 1892.

From here the line belongs to the Epping Ongar Heritage Railway.

Here is a vintage London bus - an "RT" type dating from the fifties.

The countryside - complete with deer - is on Epping's "doorstep".

The deer have rushed across to the right.

We resolutely ...

... march onwards towards the west.

Copped Hall

We subsequently come to Copped Hall, which dates from the mid-18th Century and was gutted by a fire (not enemy action!) in 1917. It is presently being renovated/rebuilt by the Copped Hall Trust who acquired its freehold in 1995. We gaze at the gaunt edifice and then walk on through the woods to the Gate House, where we have our respective packed lunches.

Soon we see Copped Hall ...

... with its commanding position in the countryside.

We approach the "noble pile" ...

... and learn that its Trust has a fund-raising event lined up for Easter.

We look into one of the small side gardens.

We tarry awhile outside the main edifice ...

... to soak up the grandeur ...

... still emanating from this "noble pile".

Then we march onwards ...

... through the woods ...

... until we reach the impressive main gate.

Here we learn that we have walked through Copped Hall Park ...

... originally part of the Copped Hall estate
and now owned, like Epping Forest itself, by the City of London.

Here it's time for lunch ...

... and then it's time to make tracks ...

... through the old gatehouse, and towards High Beach.

High Beach

High Beach (NOT High Beech so John reminded us!!) - with its motorised weekend day trippers and snack outlets was next on our agenda. On the way we passed a fine view point with views out towards the west and to Waltham Cross.

Having crossed - with great care and with the help of considerate motorists - the ultra-busy A121, we enter Epping Forest proper.

A view point awaits.

We savour the views towards the west and towards Waltham Cross ...

... and celebrate with great joy what we have just seen.

Eventually we reach High Beach upon which many motorised (car and motor bike) day trippers have already descended. We are definitely in Epping Forest as this notice reminds us. The Victorians had originally wanted to extend the railway from Chingford to High Beach and had put up a church, a pub and other buildings in gleeful anticipation of the expected trade. The move to preserve Epping Forest from the developers put paid to their entrepreneurial ambitions.

We notice that some of the ground at High Beach
has become "de-grassed" under the onslaught of visitors ...

... as we - visitors ourselves - make our descent
to the plains that make up the south eastern approaches to Waltham Cross.
Actually, before reaching those plains, we had hoped to find Dick Turpin's Cave.
This, unfortunately, proved to be as elusive as Dick Turpin himself.

Waltham Cross

Then it was cross-country to the housing estates - seemingly fashioned in the "brutalist" architecture much favoured in the fifties and sixties - on the outskirts of Waltham Cross. From the housing estates we take a bus to the centre of Waltham Cross, from where homewards we all go, refreshed by a good day's exercise.

We make our way through the plains.

The footbridge over the A121 ...

... gives us some respite from all this "flatness" ...

... before we cross the M25 and enter Waltham Cross
through its severe-looking post-war housing estates.

Waltham Abbey

Another ⅔ mile and we would have reached Waltham Abbey! I visited it on Thursday 12th March 2009 on my 9.35 mile (15.05 Km) walk from Enfield Lock Station (Zone 6) to Epping Station (Zone 6) via Breaches Farm and Breach Barns, both to the north of a conceptual line between Waltham Cross and Epping Station.

The Abbey is a cultural and historic gem bound up with the crosses placed throughout the land, crosses which indicated the resting places of the coffin of Queen Eleanor on her last journey from the north to Westminster Abbey. From Wikipedia® we learn that the present Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence is an example of Norman architecture and dates mainly from the early 12th century. In 1540 Waltham Abbey was the last abbey in England to be dissolved by Henry VIII.

From the bus we caught this view of the main entrance to the Abbey,

If we had had time today, a stroll through the abbey grounds ...

... would have revealed the impressive structure of the Abbey Church ...

... and also the remnants of the bridge and gatehouse of the monastic buildings dissolved in 1540.

As one enters the building, one is impressed by the "Zodiac" ceiling
supported by the sturdy Norman columns, each column with its individual vertical decoration.

Norman columns and arches and the ceiling ...

... all impress, especially when viewed from various angles.

Here is a typical Tudor memorial: husband, wife, sons and daughters.

Here is someone's fine family crest, with a red lion and with what looks like a talbot.

Here is a tapestry depicting a biblical theme.

Here we see a "confluence" of carved pulpit, Norman column and hatchment.

Here is another hatchment with - for hatchments - an often-used Latin sentence:
"IN COELO QUIES" meaning "You rest in heaven".

Before leaving one can once more take in the impressive "Zodiac" ceiling.


Thanks John for leading this walk. Thanks to all for your company. Thanks to the Weather Gods for the sunny, if cold, weather. We all had good exercise!