Oak Trail – Why Go?
The Oak Trail in Epping Forest explores the beautiful ancient woodland and surrounding buffer lands without taking you miles from the centre of London. It's the perfect walk to enjoy on a day trip from the city as it tours the forest, bringing walkers closer to the deer sanctuary and iron age hill fort that Epping Forest is famed for.
Starting from Theydon Bois tube station, the Oak Trail walk could not be easier to access; the central line will take you straight there to the peace of the nature trails and the solitude that Epping Forest can provide. With its clearly marked paths and beautiful scenery, the Oak Trail is certainly one of the best Epping Forest walking routes.
Oak Trail – What to Expect?
This trail is a wonderfully diverse Epping Forest walking route. Walking from Theydon Bois tube station will take you through the classic English countryside where you can explore fields and enjoy a stroll along Forest Drive. The public footpath through the fields and the trails through the forest will be uneven underfoot and can get muddy in wet weather, so it's best to walk the Oak Trail in a pair of lightweight walking boots.
As one of the waymarked trails in Epping Forest, the Oak Trail is quite simple to follow once you've found the right path. The circular route should take between 3 and 4 hours to complete, which generously includes time for a lunch break and a refreshing pint at the end of your hike.
Oak Trail – The Route, Part 1
10.5km / 3 - 4 hours
The start of the Oak Trail walk can be a little confusing, as it is not clearly marked. Exit Theydon Bois station through the car park to the left, before following the road as it curves to the right. Opposite The Bull pub, turn right to follow Forest Drive to the end, taking the small public footpath to the left of the gate.
From here, the Oak Trail is easier to follow as the waymarkers can be clearly seen. Cross over the stream and into the field, where you can head uphill towards a dead tree, and then along some farm tracks. After walking along the bridge over the M25, the Oak Trail route passes through another field before reaching a village near Bell Common. Here, turn left immediately after reaching the street, then turn right past the children's playground. This will bring you back to the waymarked trail.
After a small jaunt through the village, the Epping Forest Oak Trail continues across Bell Common, part the cricket ground, and into the forest. Here, walking the trail is even easier – just follow the yellow arrows. Shortly after walking under the cover of trees, you'll reach Ambresbury Banks, the Iron Age hill fort.
Oak Trail – The Route, Part 2
Ambresbury Banks fort covers almost 11 acres of land and is thought to be the place where Queen Boudicca took her last stand against the Romans. Littering the ground around the fort are small shards of broken pottery, and those with keen eyes may even find an arrowhead or two. We do recommend stopping for a moment at Ambresbury Banks as not only is it an important part of the heritage of Epping Forest, but a wonderful place to enjoy lunch.
Continuing the Oak Trail will take you across a road at Jack's Hill car park and into dense ancient forests. It feels a million miles away from central London, and can even give the impression that you have the entire woodland to yourself; on a quiet day, you may not see another soul on this trail. Keep on the track past the golf course to reach the fence of the deer sanctuary.
Turn left to continue along the Oak Trail, taking a moment when you can to look into the enclosure to catch a glimpse of the fallow deer. The fence of the deer sanctuary is the last stretch of the Oak Trail, and once you've reached the end of it, it's just a short 15-minute walk back to Theydon Bois station.
Want more? Take a look at our full rundown of the best walks in Epping Forest for even more great routes.