on July 11, 2013
Epping Forest is a large forest that spreads across parts of East London and Essex. It is 6000 areas and is 12 miles in length. It is managed by the City of London and is a popular destination for horse riders, walkers and cyclists. There are many parts to the forest, but the area I visited last weekend was Hollow Ponds. There are two parking areas here, between the Green Man and Whipps Cross roundabouts in Leytonstone, East London, on Whipps Cross Road, opposite the hospital. There are other places to park, but this is the place I am most familiar with. If you are coming from the Green Man roundabout (junction with the A12) then try and park in the first car park on your right, which has the Lakeside Diner. This one is slightly bigger than the second one, but the smaller one is good for the boating lake (£12 per hour). There are plenty of buses that ply this route due to the proximity of the hospital. At the larger car park, as mentioned. Is the Lakeside Diner with inside and outside seating and a fried breakfast for £3. They also do sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and snacks like crisps and sweets. There is also a ‘log cabin’ on the other side, which also sells snacks and ice creams. The boating lake area also as a snack bar although I have never used it. However, you don’t come to a forest for the dining experience! Hollow Ponds is a beautiful area and there are plenty of places to have a picnic. In hot weather, many locals come here to sunbathe, swim and play and it can get quite busy. If you walk away from the ponds, deeper into the forest, you will find more shade, but maybe less space. However, if you walk up to the North Circular/A406 end of the forest you get some clear spaces and some views of the taller London buildings can be seen (harder in summer when trees are full), but personally I think the Hollow Ponds area is nicest. If you are interested in conservation there are many volunteer groups that keep the forest tidy and clear spaces, and you will no doubt come across a few if you are here at weekends. If you are in the area and fancy stretching your legs or chilling by the lake, then this is a worthwhile, family (and dog) friendly destination. Weather depending – naturally!
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