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Stroll along Connaught Water's lovely shores and enjoy spectacular views across London. 

Photo: Helen Garvey_iStock

High Beach – Why Go?

Connaught Water in Epping Forest is one of the most beautiful lakes in Epping Forest. The still water offers the perfect home for ducks and swans. The surrounding woodland is enjoyed by all with its easy-access paths, and the nearby Chingford offers plenty of places for a refreshing cup of tea.

Even on a grey day, this hike around Connaught Water, past the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge and through the dense forests will be enjoyable. It's one of the best Epping Forest walking routes with its spectacular views and peaceful woodland, you're sure to feel a sense of calm after this walk.

High Beach – What to Expect

This walking route through Epping Forest follows some uneven paths and climbs some steep hills, so it isn't suitable for pushchairs or less mobile walkers. After long periods of rain, the ground is likely to be muddy, particularly around Connaught Water, so a good pair of walking boots will be needed.

In total, this High Beach route explores almost seven miles of Epping Forest. We recommend setting aside a little extra time to enjoy this hike so that you can properly enjoy the views across London and a cup of coffee at Epping Forest Conservation Centre.

High Beach – The Route, Part 1

11.2 km / 2 - 3 hours

You'll start this route at Connaught Water, where you can use the car park. Turn left and walk around the lake to reach an overgrown footbridge. Take a left onto the wide track and follow it uphill to join a concrete path. This will take you past the Biker's Cafe Tea Hut, which is a brilliant place to pause for a quick cuppa if you're already in need of one.

Continue on to reach the road, turning left before taking the right fork. As soon as you can, turn right to enter the forest again, where you can turn left to follow the main path once more. This runs through some steep areas of forest, before passing a clearing on the left. Shortly after this clearing, turn left, following the path as it leads to the garden of The Royal Oak pub. Next door to the pub is the Epping Conservation Centre where you can stop to enjoy the spectacular views across London.

High Beach – The Route, Part 2

Once you've had your fill of the sights, turn around to walk back past the pub and find the break in the forest next to Paul's Nursery. Follow the winding path to reach the road by the High Beach Church, turning left down the hill. Before reaching the fork in the road that leads back to the Biker's Cafe, turn right to re-enter the woods. This part of the trail is known as Centenary Walk.

The trail through the woodland runs south, taking walkers along the Green Ride and past Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge and the Chingford Visitor Centre. Here, head left to follow a path that follows the route of the A1069 back to the Connaught Water car park.

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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