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Essex Walks: Bumbles Green

  1. Description
  2. Directions
  3. Photos
  4. History

Description & Map

Title: Bumble's Green
Distance: 6½ miles
Time taken: 3 hours
Location: Bumble's Green, 4 miles Southeast of Harlow
OS Explorer Map: 174 
Grid Ref.: TL 408 048
Parking: [Limited] At the top of Bumbles Green Lane, off Nazeing Common, EN9 2AZ (one car only).
Please leave access clear to both The Heights and the bridleway.
Bus:bus Buses: Harlow - Chingford : 391/392, 505.
Train: No train service.
Refreshment: (not King Harold as this is Restaurant only now)
PEAR Rating: PEAR Rating Parking: 1/3 Easiness: 1/3 Amenity: 3/3 Refreshments: 2/3

[Click image to enlarge]

OS map extract 
[Click image to enlarge]

Download and print all 3 for your walk: 1. pdf Download Directions PDF
2. pdf Download PDF photo-set
3. pdf Download Bumbles Green Map PDF
View online on 3 different interactive maps: Link to full screen os map Bumbles Green Map (Ordnance Survey)
Link to full screen Google map Bumbles Green Map (Google)
Bing map Bumbles Green Map (Bing OS 1:25k)
Additional information: gpx GPX track
Elevation View Elevation Profile
Display local weather Harlow Weather

Walk Description

This is a hilly walk in West Essex. The first stage uphill from the parking is quite steep, for Essex, but thereafter the slopes are gentler (see Elevation Profile above). The views along the route are lovely and sometimes, amazingly spectacular. In particular, the walk takes in a hilltop overlooking Lea Valley and the whole of London. When we were there we could pick out Canary Wharf, the Post Office Tower, the Gherkin and, behind it, the Shard.
This is a major re-route for 2013 using part of the City of London's Warlies Park, which now avoids the reported problems with dogs around Claverhambury


pdfDownload Description & Directions PDF here

A. The small car parking area at the top of Bumbles Green Lane is at the junction of a residential road and a bridleway. Please park carefully so as not to block either. It's a popular area for other walkers and local people park here, so it's really only suitable for one extra car. From this parking area, head south onto the bridleway and walk uphill. After about 200 yards you will enter Epping Forest (1). Shortly after this you might see, hidden in to brambles to your right, a Coal and Wine Post.
B. As you near the crest of the hill the path forks: take the right fork (2). Follow the path as it meanders through the thin strip of woodland called Galleyhill Green (3). The path runs near the crest of a ridge and the views on both sides are lovely.
C. After half a mile or so, the woods thicken out and the path begins to descend (4). Continue on the same path for another half a mile until you come to Black Cottage (5) and turn right in front of the cottage.
D. After a few yards the track forks in front of Lake John Fisheries; take the right fork, passing Galleywood House on the right, and continue past the barrier into a green lane (6). Walk along this lane passing field entrances on both sides of the path and under powerlines for about 300 yards, then take the footpath on the left up across the fields (7). At the treeline, go through the gap in the hedge and you will see that the path bears to the right and heads up past a telegraph pole towards a hedge on the crest of the hill (8).
E. Go straight on through a gap in the hedge (9), to the crest of the hill past a concrete bunker, an old trig point, and an oak tree. Around here, there are some stunning views across London. Head back through the hedge gap and turn right towards a small wooded area. As you approach the woods turn right then left so that you are walking through a meadow with the woods on your left (10).
F. At the end of the meadow you will see a gap in the hedge on your left and a footpath leading across the next field down towards a telegraph pole (11). Cross this field and turn left at the paddocks. Follow the path alongside the paddocks and turn right at the end (you can see Black Cottage in the distance), heading downhill towards a lane.
G. On the lane, turn right. Go through the woods, up the hill and look for a turning on the left into Breach Barns Lane. Proceed along the lane for almost a mile (12), keeping to the left of the nursery, until you come to the mobile homes park (13). Turn right at the park entrance, passing "Treetops" on your right. Just 40 yards along there is a side road on the left (with signs to "Brook Meadow Way"). Take this (unnamed) side road and carry on to the gate at the end, passing between the gate and building onto the field, heading east (14).
H. Cross the field with the tree plantation on your left for about 150 yards and find the entrance to the wood (15). After 100 yards you will come to a T-junction. Turn left heading north. A few yards later turn left again and then follow the path round, bringing you back on to the original line heading north. As you leave the woods you can see Park Homes across the field. Follow the fenced path north until you come to a footbridge and stile (16).
I. From the stile, walk up the hill to the corner of Scatterbushes Wood (17), and carry on up the field edge route with the trees on your right. After 220 yards there is a stile. Carry on north for 280 yards and pass through the wooden gate at the bottom of the field (18). With the hedge on your right continue north for another 260 yards.
J. At the end of this final field, there is a metal gate (19). Go through the gate, fastening it behind you, and turn right along the hard track (Claverhambury Road), heading east past Claverhambury Carp Lakes, and up the hill near Deerpark Wood. As you pass the woods take the bridleway on the left (20).
K. Continue on this path past loads of horse paddocks until you come to Harold's Park Farm Riding Centre. Go straight on through the farmyard and head downhill (21) past more paddocks to Bumbles Green. The pub King Harold's Head is about 200 yards to the right.
L. To return to the parking turn left, then left again up Bumbles Green Lane.

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here


Download PDF photo-set here pdf
1 Epping Forest 2 Bridleway 3 Galleyhill path
4 Galleyhill Wood 5 Black Cottage 6 barrier
7 Left, uphill 8 Upwards 9 London view
10Galleyhill Wood 11left 12Breach Barns Lane
13Left at Park Homes 14cul de sac 15plantation
16Bridge and stile on FP north. 17Woods 18fields and gates
19Claverhambury Road 20bridleway 21track to Bumbles Green


Bumbles Green

It is believed that King Harold, the last Saxon King of England (who died in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings) had a hunting lodge at Bumble's Green. It is certainly true that he had strong links to this part of Essex, owning much land in the area. His long term common law wife Edith Swannesha lived in one of the manor houses in Nazeing, and Harold had a strong connection with Waltham Holy Cross, now Waltham Abbey, having provided for the re-building of the church there in 1057 after a miraculous recovery from a paralysing condition incurred during military campaigns against the Welsh.

Waltham Abbey Church can be seen in the view towards London from the high point of this walk near Monkhams Hall. The nave remains a superb example of Norman stone-masonry. Behind it, you can see the Gherkin and the Shard in central London 14 miles away: a thousand years of architecture in one glance.

Coal & Wine Post

Coal post

Coal and Wine Tax Posts were erected under the London Coal and Wine Duties Continuance Act, 1861, although the history associated with them goes back much further. The City of London has collected duties on coal and other coal and other goods entering London since medieval times. Initially the revenue obtained from these taxes supported measures such as the 14th Century 'Orphans Fund': in the 17th Century following the two disasters of the Plague in 1665 and the Fire of London in 1666 the duty payable was increased to create funds for rebuilding works.

Until the 19th Century heavy goods arrived in London via the sea, and duty collection was a relatively simple matter of manning ports, coastlines and riversides with revenue officers. However when the canal and railway systems opened up the process for collecting taxes became a lot more complicated. The 1861 Act allowed for taxes to be collected at all points where goods entered the City of London, and 'a Boundary Stone, or some other permanent Mark' was set up where any turnpike road, public highway, railway or canal entered the district. An official was stationed at these posts, to record the tonnage and collect the duty.

Although most of the posts were set up at the side of the major routes into London, tax collectors were well aware of the potential for wily entrepreneurs to avoid duty by simply carrying goods by foot or horse-back around these major tax collection points using more minor tracks. Therefore Coal Posts were also created along footpaths and green lanes, all around London, to deter some of this inland smuggling activity.

The revenue raised under the 1861 Act was used for metropolitan improvement schemes including the building of the Thames Embankment, the erection of the Holborn Viaduct and the purchase of the River Thames bridges, including Kingston upon Thames, Hampton Court and Walton on Thames, to free them from tolls.

Trig Points

TP 4887

A Trigonometrical Point (trig point) is a fixed surveying station, set up by the government, with known coodinates and elevation. Many were placed on top of hills so that they could be seen clearly from other vantage points. They usually have a metal plate in the top to secure a theodolite or reflector. They were used for surveying purposes when building and renovating major infrastructure projects such as roads and railways. These days modern GPS based systems have largely replaced the traditional trig points but they are still useful for walkers as a navigational aids, and are an interesting reminder of the skills and precision required by the engineers who laid down the infrastructure we all still rely on. The trig point you will visit on this walk is TP4887 - Monkhams Hall.


King Harold's Head

According to its website the King Harold's Head dates back to 1032 (although the current building was built in 1797 by Robert King). This might indicate it is named after Harold I rather than Harold II.

Following the death of King Cnut in 1035 the English throne should have fallen to Hardicnut, but he was away at war against Magnus I of Denmark. In his place his half brother Harold became regent. 2 years later Harold took the English crown for himself - Harthacnut being 'forsaken because he was too long in Denmark'. Harthacnut didn't take this well, made peace with Magnus I and began to prepare for an invasion of England to depose his brother.

Before Hardicnut could launch his invasion, Harold died; Hardicnut was then crowned King. However it would appear that Hardicnut was not one to forgive and forget: he had Harold's body dug up, beheaded and flung into a marsh. He did not endear himself to his people either. He was a harsh ruler, and imposed large increases in taxation to pay for the invasion fleet he had raised, and burned down the city of Worcester following an attack on his tax collectors. Two years later Hardicnut himself died suddenly at a wedding feast in Lambeth. The judgement of history on this monarch is dismal: according to the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, Hardicnut 'never did anything worthy of a king while he reigned'.