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Immerse yourself in the district’s natural beauty
Epping is a town, a forest and a district. Beyond Epping the town are many more towns, villages and hamlets, nestled in the Essex countryside each with its own unique personality, history and reasons for the visitor to stop, explore and enjoy. Beyond Epping Forest there are the buffer lands which offer a more open natural space to discover, each with its own aspect and wildlife. Overlapping the district’s western boundary lies the Lee Valley Park with its waterways, lakes and canal. Amongst farms and villages are areas of intense natural beauty that have been designated and protected for the visitor to enjoy. These are looked after by Epping Forest Countrycare. In deference to the industrial and purposeful waterways of the Lee Valley, the River Roding meanders through the district and near Loughton and Chigwell it is seen at its best at the Roding Valley Meadows Nature Reserve. Run by Essex Wildlife Trust, this is the largest remaining water meadows in Essex at 160 acres.
Elsewhere the Roding runs alongside parts of the Essex Way, a long-distance footpath of 82 miles that starts outside Epping Station and ends at Harwich Old Lighthouse on the coast. This is just one of a network of footpaths and bridle ways that criss-cross the district and link villages and towns passing through woods and fields often along paths used for hundreds of years. Often these paths pass by buildings with character and history, farms with moats and connections to the Civil War or corers of farmland that haven’t changed for hundreds of years. Many paths will, at some time or another, emerge into a village of hamlet with a pub or church to explore (whichever takes your fancy).
There’s so much to do and see, all of it free and easily accessible from tube stations or easy car parking which again is free if your starting point is in the Forest or outside of the main towns. And in the evening you can relive the highlights of your day over a pint or meal in any of the range of fine establishments across the district – you’ll have earned it.