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Sat 8 June, GOC London – Epping Forest Centenary Walk

The rain spell from the previous day had stopped and the sun came out with accompanying warmth when the 9 GOCers set off promptly from the front of Manor Park railway station. Within a few minutes we were on Wanstead Flats which was not busy with the football teams and people which made for a relatively quiet and pleasant hike towards the Green Man interchange via Harrow Road playing fields and through Bush Wood.

At the Green Man interchange, a major road junction, we passed through safely using a below gyratory level path network to emerge onto Leyton Flats which was also relatively quiet skirting by the usually busy Hollow Pond. Hollow Pond is a previously recreational used pond that is now solely dedicated to nature conversation purposes especially for wild birds.

We left Leyton Flats crossing Snaresbrook Road to Gilberts Slade (‘Slade’ is an old English name for open glade) to head for Walthamstow Forest via Canada Plain and Waterworks Wood where we has a 10mins break after safely crossing the fast moving traffic Woodford New Road A104.

Walthamstow Forest provided us with protection from the gusty wind and hum of the A104 traffic which got most of us out of our jackets enjoying the warmth, trees in leaf and woodland birds which didn’t escape the attention of identification. We soon arrived at the landscaped Highams Park and the nearby lake (another previously recreational used pond which now has a nature conversation ethos).

To our pleasant surprise, the high footfall Highams Park was not that busy so we detoured to a high ground area away from the playground/cafe end to have our 45minutes lunch stop in relatively peace and in the lovely warm sunshine which was a bonus. After lunch we headed back down to the lake to continue our hike northwards along the alignment of the river Ching on relatively dry paths towards Woodford Golf Course which was devoid of players, passing through Whitehall Plains for our penultimate stop – the Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge on the edge of Chingford.

We had a 25 minute break for the group to visit the nearby Epping Forest Visitor Centre and the free entry Hunting Lodge (now a museum). We then ambled our way to Chingford railway station, our hike destination to get our train back to London.

Many thanks to Andrew Fisher, the GOC London group coordinator for back marking the walk and the other hikers who all contributed to make it a pleasant early June outing.

Olawale Ajibola

June 2019

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