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A short walk through colourful Beech woodland, taking in Epping's historical Iron Age hill fort.

Epping Forest trees UK
Photo: terry boland_iStock

Beech Trail – Why Go?

The Beech Trail in Epping Forest is the perfect family walk. It is one of seven of the official trails in Epping Forest and is easily reached by public transport. The marked trails take you a short distance through the beautiful ancient woodland, past the Iron Age earthwork, and back to the Epping Forest visitors centre in time for a cup of tea.

All year, the Beech Trail attracts visitors with its changing colours. The fresh green of Spring glows and the burning oranges of Autumn are unforgettable. Children will love jumping in piles of crisp leaves or marvelling at the frost on tree branches. The beautiful woodland near High Beach, Epping Forest, is perfect for young children looking to explore the natural world beyond central London, and the colours alone make the Beech Trail one of the best Epping Forest walks.

Beech Trail – What to Expect

The waymarked trails of the Beech Trail are incredibly easy to follow with green arrows pointing the way. After heavy rain, the paths may be filled with muddy puddles. With a proper pair of walking boots and perhaps a waterproof jacket, you'll be set to enjoy this short but stunning walk through Epping Forest.

The Beech Trail Epping Forest walk is just 2.5 miles long and follows the green arrows through Epping Forest past Loughton Camp earthworks and Debden Slade, before returning to the start point. Walkers can expect to find many surfaced forest tracks through this section of ancient woodland, but parts of the walking route navigate steep inclines and cross the Epping New Road, so care is needed.

Beech Trail – The Route, Part 1

4km / 1.5 - 2 hours

Starting from the High Beech or Pillow Mounds car park, cross to the road and take the track situated opposite the car park. Once you've found the sign for the Beech Trail, you'll be on your way. The Beech Trail is fully waymarked with green arrows pointing the way, so it should be almost impossible to get lost.

After a short while, the route crosses the Epping New Road and joins the track opposite. From here, the green arrows direct you through the deeper woodland where the peace and solitude will feel refreshing. These waymarked trails will eventually take you to the edged of Loughton Camp. The Iron Age hill fort covers almost 10 acres, and today you will see it as a low bank and ditch circling the main camp.

Beech Trail – The Route, Part 2

Information boards around the site of Loughton Camp explain that the hill fort is on one of the highest points in the surrounding area, and was likely to be used as a lookout point. Once you've enjoyed exploring this area, continue on, following the official green arrow way.

After Loughton Camp, the Beech Trail passes through Debden Slade, taking the main paths through the densely packed trees. Then, it's just a short stroll back to the start point of the route. After crossing back over Epping New Road, you will retrace your steps towards High Beech, the Pillow Mounds car park, and the cafe near the visitors centre.

Want more? Take a look at our full rundown of the best walks in Epping Forest for even more great routes. 

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