Grid ref: TQ 401 940 (click for o/s map)
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Barn Hoppitt and Whitehall Plain were part of the Forest's 'plains': open areas used for grazing cattle. Barn Hoppitt, across Ranger's Road from Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, is the best example of oak wood-pasture in the Forest, with well-spaced ancient oak pollards over sparse grassland with many anthills and a mosaic of scrub patches.
The River Ching meanders through from north to south and its corridor supports unusual shrubs like spindle, buckthorn and purple osier.
Once open grassland, Whitehall Plain has been invaded by thorn scrub which has driven out most of its flowering plants, but these are starting to return now that it is being cut for hay.
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.
Accessible at all times.
An easy access path runs in a loop alongside the lake.
Honeypot area, very busy in summer