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This short walk in the newly established Gifford Forest takes you off the beaten track and through idyllic countryside. 

Photo: JBLumix_iStock

Gifford Trail – Why Go?

Epping Forest offers lots of accessible walks and the Gifford Trail is the newest of the waymarked Epping Forest walks. The route explores the newly established Gifford Forest, which was planted in 2013 by local school children and volunteers to ensure that the forests will be around for future generations to explore. The waymarked trails pass through the buffer lands near Gifford Forest, offering walkers idyllic views of the English countryside and wildlife.

At just 1.25 miles long, this is one of the gentlest Epping Forest hikes, perfect for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of central London for an afternoon. The trail is easily accessed by public transport too, making it simple to get to Epping Forest. The beautiful scenery and flat paths make this one of the best easy Epping Forest walks.

Gifford Trail – What to Expect

This walking trail explores some uneven ground in the buffer lands surrounding Gifford Forest. Most of the Epping Forest walks follow well-trodden paths, but the ground near Gifford Forest can get quite muddy, so you'll want a pair of waterproof walking boots to keep your feet dry during the typically rainy British winter.

Gifford Trail can be found in the Upshire area of Epping Forest. Part of the route runs parallel to the M25, so you can expect a little traffic noise when walking along the forest tracks. The moderate route should take little more than an hour to complete, taking you briefly away from central London to enjoy the peace the ancient woodland can provide.

Gifford Trail – The Route, Part 1

2 km / 1 hour

The Gifford Trail starts at Sergent's Green Lane, not far from the Upshire Villiage Hall and nearby bus stops. As one of nine waymarked trails in Epping Forest, you can expect to find your way easily along the Gifford route. Following the walking trails away from the road, you'll skirt around the edge of Potkiln Woods towards the M25.

This part of the Epping Forest trail may have some traffic noise as it does run incredibly close to the motorway, but that does nothing to diminish its beauty. Frost glistens on the grass on crisp winter mornings, while the surrounding trees glow with life in the spring.

Gifford Trail – The Route, Part 2

Continue alongside the M25 for a short distance, following the arrows laid out for you. The path leads you along the edge of Oxleys Wood, before turning and taking you through the centre of this ancient woodland. While this Epping Forest walk is not near the deer sanctuary, there is still a chance of spotting some of the elusive fallow deer that have made Epping Forest their home.

After a stroll through the paths of Oxleys Wood, the end of the Gifford Trail will be in sight. Follow the trail behind Saint Thomas's Church of England on a path that runs parallel to Horseshoe Hill. You can choose to leave the trail here for closer access to the bus stops, or you can continue along the path to reach the start point once more.

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