Loughton Camp, an Iron Age hill fort in Epping Forest

Book Tickets Online


Loughton Camp is one of two Iron Age Forts to be found within Epping Forest and is close to Loughton. The other, Ambresbury Banks, is close to Epping. Both were constructed roughly the same size covering an area of around 10-11 acres or approximately six football pitches. Both are on a ridge of high ground that rises from the direction of London which reaches its highest point in Epping (where the high street is the same height above sea level as the cross on the top of St Pauls Cathedral). At Loughton Camp the land falls away quite sharply on its southwestern edge. Unlike today, where the forts are hidden within the ancient forest, during the Iron Age the surrounding land would have been cleared of trees for agriculture and visibility, giving them the advantage of being on the highest point for both defence and as lookout posts. Today, whilst Loughton Camp is still buried quite deep within the forest, Ambresbury Banks can be glimpsed through the trees whilst travelling along the Epping Road near its junction with Crown Hill. Both sites are scheduled monuments and should be visited on foot only.

The fort at Loughton Camp is one mile (1.6 km) northwest of Loughton town, situated in Monk Wood just off the Green Ride. It is just below the crest of the ridge, situated on a south west facing slope. Evidence has been found in the vicinity of the fort of Mesolithic occupation, with large quantities of flint tools relating to Mesolithic occupation of the area being recovered. The fort encircles an area of 10 acres (4 hectares) and is surrounded by a single bank of 6 ft (2 m) in height, together with a ditch (these measurements may have been as much as 3 m originally). There is evidence of a small counterscarp bank on the outside lip of the ditch. Less investigative work has been carried out at Loughton Camp than at nearby Ambresbury Banks, but a stone Iron Age grain millstone (quern) has been found close by supporting a view that the fort was built more for mundane community uses such as penning cattle, a lookout, a tribal boundary marker and refuse in troublesome times, rather then as a military base.

Used as a Roman Marching Camp?

Amateur historian Roger Nolan has researched the possibility that the site was used by the army of Julius Caesar in his invasion of 54 AD, on route to the defeat of the Catuvellauni tribe at Devil's Dyke (Wheathampstead). It is documented that the Roman Army built temporary forts, or castra, about one day’s march apart and that finding evidence of these would solve the mystery of the landing point and route taken that ended with the battle at Devil’s Dyke. Roger describes the camps as temporary fortified bases, dug with a trench and rampart, that also functioned as supply dumps for the logistical needs of the army. He believes he has found four such sites, that lie on a straight line between Dover and Wheathampstead, with the third being in Epping Forest at Loughton Camp. Further excavation at this site might reveal clues to support or dismiss this theory. Find out more in Roger’s book: Julius Caesar's Invasion of Britain: Solving a 2,000-Year-Old Mystery or on his information website.

The Legend of Dick Turpin's Cave

Loughton Camp is one of a number of locations within Epping Forest claiming to be the location of ‘Turpin’s Cave’, the forest hideout of Dick Turpin the notorious highwayman. There is a small hollowed out ‘scrape’ within the camp that is said to be the remains of the ‘cave’ although hardly the more traditional type of cave depicted in contemporary illustrations. Discover the whole story of Dick Turpin here.


See Histroic England's research records for this site here.

Map & Directions

Loughton Camp Iron Age Hill Fort

Type:Castle / Fort

Epping Forest, Loughton, Essex

What's Nearby

  1. Find your place at Loughton Leisure Centre

    0.95 miles away
  2. Working for the past, present and future of jazz

    0.96 miles away
  3. Welcome to High Beech Riding School - for everything horse riding in Epping Forest.…

    1.01 miles away
  4. An indoor mini zoo offering a mega experience featuring rehoused and rescued animals with…

    1.26 miles away
  1. Epping Forest, London's largest open space, is a registered charity managed by the City…

    1.26 miles away
  2. One of two Iron Age Forts within Epping Forest which legend says was the site of…

    1.96 miles away
  3. Find your place at Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre

    2.15 miles away
  4. Find your place at Ongar Leisure Centre

    2.15 miles away
  5. Copped Hall is a fine Georgian mansion that is currently under restoration. It is…

    2.21 miles away
  6. Gunpowder Park in Waltham Abbey, a dynamic park regenerated from a former munitions…

    2.22 miles away
  7. Discover the Forest and its Royal Tudor connections

    2.27 miles away
  8. Get out into the countryside and discover history, heritage and ever-changing natural…

    2.41 miles away
  9. Get out into the countryside and discover history, heritage and ever-changing natural…

    2.41 miles away
  10. Visit the largest remaining species-rich water meadow in Essex with its famous display of…

    2.47 miles away
  11. Visit the largest remaining species-rich water meadow in Essex with its famous display of…

    2.47 miles away
Previous Next

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss