Forest Way and Green Ride – Why Go?
The Forest Way and Green Ride hiking route is one of the best walks in Epping Forest. It explores some of the less popular trails in the area, twisting and turning through woodland and fields. Popular with hikers, cyclists, and horse riders, you'll want to keep an eye out for other users.
The beautiful hike is one you'll want to set a whole day aside for, as it explores quite a lot of the woodlands and buffer land surrounding Epping Forest. A range of trails will take you towards Bell Common, Epping, before heading down the Green Ride to Chingford. You'll skirt the edge of Strawberry Hill Pond, circle the perimeter of Chingford Golf Club, and then head back towards High Beech to enjoy a good dinner at the King's Oak Pub.
Forest Way and Green Ride – What to Expect
This walk tackles some steep hills and uneven ground, so can get muddy and slippery after rain. You'll want to make sure you've got a decent pair of waterproof walking boots to keep your feet dry. A waterproof jacket might also be needed when heading out on this walk, as it is likely to take some time.
The start of the walk, the Epping Forest Visitor Centre, is easy to find as it's just a short distance from the High Beech golf course. Following the route is less straightforward though, as you'll follow a range of different paths that aren't clearly marked. You may want to plan out your route beforehand and take an OS map with you as we can't guarantee you'll have a phone signal in the heart of the forest to find online maps.
Forest Way and Green Ride – The Route, Part 1
25.4 km / 6 - 7 hours
The Forest Way and Green Ride walk starts near High Beech at the Epping Forest Visitor Centre, where you'll head downhill past the coffee kiosk towards the M25. The first part of the hike follows Wake Road before turning left up the hill to join the main path to the A121. At times, you'll find your route veers off the main path in favour of smaller, less popular ones, but keep going until you reach the A121, Woodridden Hill.
Walk along the road for about 300m, turning left before the Keepers Lodge. Head uphill to join the Forest Way, which you'll follow to reach Epping Road. The trail continues through the forest on a path parallel to the road. You'll walk past the Iron Age settlement, Ambresbury Banks, and continue heading towards the motorway. Once there, the Forest Way route joins Green Ride for the second half of the hike, heading towards the Epping Uplands and Theydon Bois.
The Green Ride trail will take walkers through the Epping Thicks, a section of mixed woodland and grassland. Near Epping, it's a great place for dog walks as it offers beautiful scenery on a sunny day. After a while, this circular walk will veer off the Green Ride to follow the main path towards Coopers Court near Theydon Bois. The Epping Forest deer are often seen on this section of the hike, with their stunning dark coats on display, so keep your eyes peeled.
Forest Way and Green Ride – The Route, Part 2
Moving along from Coopers Court, the footpaths head towards Jack's Hill. Cross the minor road and head down the hill. Nearby will be the deer sanctuary, which is another wonderful place to see the gentle creatures.
The next road the route reaches is the A121, which you'll cross to continue hiking towards Loughton. You will skirt the Blackweir Pond, where the footpath may be muddy after long stretches of rain. This hike is the perfect way to tour the length and breadth of Epping Forest.
After a short while, you'll pass Loughton Camp Hill Fort, another Iron Age structure that is an important part of the forest's heritage. You'll also pass by two beautiful ponds; Earl's Path Pond and Strawberry Hill Pond are popular with families and young children, but their banks are also the perfect place to stop for a rest.
After a rest on the banks of Strawberry Hill Pond, take the main track towards the A104. Cross the road next to the small car park and continue on the main path towards Connaught Water. There are plenty of popular walking routes here, so this part of the forest might be a little busier than the rest.
The final stretch of this walking route passes Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge and circles Chingford Golf Club before taking paths through Bury Wood to arrive back at High Beech, the start point of the hike.
Want more? Take a look at our full rundown of the best walks in Epping Forest for even more great routes.