Walk 2586 - printer friendly version
Epping to Chipping Ongar Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 7.5 miles / 12.2 km
Ascent - 450 feet / 136 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference TL462015
Lat 51.6932180 + Long 0.1138472
Postcode CM16 7BH (approx. location only)
Epping tube station, at the end of the Central Line on the London Underground is the start and finish point for this linear Essex walk that follows the first 7.5 miles of the 81 mile long Essex Way between Epping and Harwich. The route can be completed by taking a bus back from Chipping Ongar or by reversing the outgoing route.
The route is waymarked with the Essex Way logo - two orange poppies on a white circular background, usually on wooden finger posts at points of possible indecision, though as always, one should come prepared with one's own map and compass or GPS. On the matter of being prepared, it is also strongly advisable to wear footwear suitable for wet and muddy sections which you may well encounter from time to time, depending on recent weather conditions.
The walk passes across fields and farm land, through woods and little villages and, in February 2017, a day of sunny spells, the interplay between sunlight and shade created some pleasant landscape vistas of vast ploughed fields backed by rows of trees silhouetted on the skyline. A notable feature of the walk is the old log cabin church at Greensted, the oldest wooden church in the world.
From Epping Station turn right and cross the footbridge also on the right, waymarked for the Essex Way. Follow the road ahead on the other side and turn right downhill and the Essex Way continues on the other side of the road opposite the road called Bower Vale. Between here and Coopersale Street, the route forms a V shape, passing a couple of houses at Steward's Green before switching north east up through woodland.
Turn right when the path reaches a road and cross to the other side, passing the Theydon Oak pub on the left. Take the next footpath on the left. There is a motorway in the distance on the right with traffic both seen and heard and the route crosses it later over a footbridge after passing through the woods of the Gernon Bushes Nature Reserve. After the bridge, follow the path ahead through sparse woodland. The path is liable to be a bit waterlogged in places. The path emerges onto fields beyond Ongar Park Wood. Follow the Essex Way markers across fields to the village of Toot Hill with its pub and village green.
Turn left along the main road and take the next continuation path on the right, the route switching more or less due north on the approach to Greensted Green where another road is crossed before the approach by public footpath to the tiny little village of Greensted, little more than a hamlet. The ancient church is the main focal point here and visitors with muddy boots are requested to use plastic carrier bags if intending to go inside. From the church a track leads across country to Chipping Ongar where a bus back to Epping can be taken from the stop opposite the public library.