Epping Long Green (2)

We first discovered Epping Long Green a week ago – Epping Long Green (1) – but then realised we’d only seen a part of it, so today we came back to explore its full length. We started from Epping Green and walked west, retracing our steps from last week as far as this fingerpost. Then we turned around and walked back and continued east to the furthest extent before returning to where we started from. But not before a quick figure-of-eight turnaround in the woods. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (2)”

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Epping Long Green (1)

Epping Forest was busy. There was plenty of space for everyone to walk comfortably, but it seemed like social distancing among the trees had become the new normal, and the car parks were all full. Previously, as a last resort, we’d parked on the roadside at Baldwin’s Hill. The bonus was a glass of beer from the doorway of the Foresters Arms, before plunging downhill into the forest for a gently meandering walk along Loughton Brook. But today it felt safer to avoid the crowds, and instead of going into the centre of the forest, I looked for somewhere quieter on the outskirts. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (1)”

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Chasing Shadows

We’d been told to stay indoors and not go out, except for exercise and if so to stay two metres apart, breathe fresh air, think separate thoughts and cast our own shadows. Stay safe, take care and not go viral. It was the sunniest Sunday I’d seen in ages, the car parks of Epping Forest were overflowing, all of us fleeing the city to escape the epidemic. That’s how it felt, as if there was protection here. Continue reading “Chasing Shadows”

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Wake Valley

I worry sometimes that I can’t take a walk without taking a photograph. The plan today was for a quick visit to Epping Forest then back home again via the supermarket. But we came to a part of the forest we’d not seen before, and I was like a dog released from the car, excitedly running and snapping my camera in wild abandon. I’m just so energised by the light in these trees. Continue reading “Wake Valley”

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Living Symphonies

We came down the hill and over Chingford Plain and joined others arriving from north and south in a steady stream flowing into the woods. I thought of Geoffrey Chaucer – Those that sleep all the night with open eyes… Then folk long to go on pilgrimages… We really should’ve known about this, but it crept up and took us by surprise. We’d been here just a few weeks before, but walking in the opposite direction. Today, 28th July, we got to see it just in time, on its last day in Epping Forest. Continue reading “Living Symphonies”

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Epping Forest x 3

Three walks in Epping Forest, all within the past few weeks. This time of year I can’t get enough of its green light to escape the city. I never lived in a forest but this place always feels like home. Maybe I did in a previous life, maybe we all did, maybe this is the nearest thing to a prelapsarian London. Continue reading “Epping Forest x 3”

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The Sound Of Falling Leaves

The plan was for a quick walk around the Lost Pond then back home again. But by the time we got to Epping Forest the low November sun was so bright that we got hijacked by the light and followed its trail through the trees along the Green Ride past the pond and beyond to parts of the forest we’d never been before. The light was exceptional, extra special. It was an ordinary Sunday that had suddenly become graced with a new radiance. I can’t remember a day in the forest like it, and the more I hear about climate change the more days like these become precious and poignant and we must catch them while we can. And all the while there was a gentle flutter and rustle of falling leaves. Continue reading “The Sound Of Falling Leaves”

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Coppard

It was Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day, an auspicious coincidence and ideally a time to be full of the joys of spring. But the day was wet and gloomy, and I was down with a heavy cold. The space between my ears felt clogged with cobwebs and glue. My brain needed rewiring. There was nothing else for it but to visit my favourite tree and unwind my head. The resulting photos might be stitched together like a ribbon of investigation tape, but really they record a circuit of mutual embrace. A step by step two-way revolving observation, the tree’s branches like the spokes of a wheel. Continue reading “Coppard”

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The Fairlop Oak

At the Barbican, back in November last year, coming through the foyer from the car park to the café, and then again later hurrying to the concert hall to catch a performance by Pharaoh Sanders, I twice caught sight of what seemed to be a temporary structure propping up the ceiling. There was little time to investigate, but curiously it appeared to continue up through the floor above. I didn’t give it much thought. I was intent on a tribute concert for Alice and John Coltrane and an evening of Cosmic Jazz. Continue reading “The Fairlop Oak”

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Two Days In Epping Forest

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we didn’t stay overnight, but it sounds better than two visits or two day trips to Epping Forest. The first was a week after Easter, on St George’s Day, inspired by blogposts and tweets about holloways, I wondered what’s the closest thing to a holloway in Epping Forest? And so we went up to Jack’s Hill and walked to the western edge of Ambresbury Banks. Continue reading “Two Days In Epping Forest”

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