Epping Forest is set on a ridge of high land between the river valleys of the Lea and Roding, with its highest point a mile or so south of Epping. The ridge consists of patches of gravel laid down by the Thames aeons ago on top of beds of sandy clay, and it has a network of springs and water courses.
Epping Forest has lost a great deal of its former diversity of wildlife, but remains an unmissable experience. Here we cover the best sections of the Forest, starting with the Green Lanes and the Lower Forest to the north and working southwards down to Leyton Flats in the heart of east London (Wanstead Park is included in the East London section.)
Heart of the Forest
Lord's Bushes and Knighton Wood
Thornwood Flood Meadow
The bulk of the Forest lies south-west of the junction between the M25 and M11 motorways, with Epping New Road (A104/B1393) cutting it in two running roughly south to north. Leave the M25 at junction 26 and head east along the A121 towards Loughton. This brings you to the Wake Arms roundabout where the A121 meets Epping New Road and the road to Theydon Bois (B172). The Wake Road turns off the A121 on the right just before the roundabout and leads to the Conservation Centre. For the Lower Forest head north along the B1393 through Epping and turn right on to the Ongar road (B181). There is a parking area on The Woodyard, a turning on the right.
Chingford station (BR Liverpool St) is a short walk from Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge. The central parts of the Forest are a longer walk from Loughton or Theydon Bois underground stations on the Central Line. Useful regular bus routes: Essex route 240/250 from Waltham Cross to Debden via Wake Arms; London route 167 from Ilford to Debden via Chigwell; London route 20 from Walthamstow to Debden via Woodford Green.