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Essex Walks: Epping Green

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

Description & Map

Title: Epping Green
Distance: 4 ¾ miles
Time taken: 1¾ hours
Location: Between Harlow and Epping
OS Explorer Map: OS Explorer 174
Grid Ref.: TL 435 055
Parking:Entrance to Bridleway, near Travellers Friend, Epping Green CM16 6PU
Bus:busRegal Busways 381/382 Mon-Sat Harlow - Epping
Train: No train service
Refreshment: The Travellers Friend, Epping Green
The Cock & Magpie, Epping Green
King Harold's Head, Bumble's Green
The Sun Inn, Nazeing
PEAR Rating: PEAR Rating Parking: 1/3 Easiness: 2/3 Amenity: 3/3 Refreshments: 3/3

[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 Epping Green Map PDF
View online on 3 different interactive maps: Link to full screen OS map Epping Green Map (Ordnance Survey)
Link to full screen Google map Epping Green Map (Google)
Bing map Epping Green Map (Bing OS 1:25k)
Additional information: gpx GPX track
Elevation View Elevation Profile
Display local weather Epping Green Weather
Lodge Farm: Click to see HD video

Walk Description

This is a clockwise circular walk around sections of three named footpaths: The Forest Way, the Three Forests Way and the Stort Valley Way. The walk starts on the Forest Way heading west on a long wide public bridleway. The path then switches over to the parallel Three Forests way where there are views over the valley which is Nazeingwood Common. The route is over a fairly hilly part of Essex which makes for some lovely scenery. The footpaths are generally well-maintained and wide-enough for people to walk easily side-by-side, although the latest Ordnance Survey maps at the time of writing (April 2012) do not show changes to the waymarked footpath layout. At Bumble's Green the route joins the Stort Valley Way through the golf course, and climbs the hill behind the historic Nazeing Park. From Nazeing, the walk rejoins the Three Forests Way bridleway, and again there are some scenic views across Nazeingwood Common near Lodge Farm (video left). The walk continues back to Epping Green where there are two pubs to choose from. In fact this would be a great walk for a warm sunny day to sample the wares of no less than four watering-holes along the way!


pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

A. From the parking area at the entrance of the bridleway, (P) head south west along the Stort Valley Way signposted to Harold Park Farm. This is Epping Long Green (1)
B. After half a mile, you will come to Old Farm. (2) Turn right here at the footpath waymarker, go over the footbridge and turn left onto a track.
C. Follow the track taking in the open views of Nazeingwood Common on your right until the hedgerow begins to bend round to the right. On the left at the bend, the narrow footpath continues inside the wooded area (3) and bends round to the right before crossing a ditch and emerging into the open field (4).
D. Follow the field edge downhill in a north westerly direction, then turn left over an isolated footbridge (5).
E. Walk west for 280 yards, then at the facing hedge turn right so that the hedgerow is on your left (6).
F. After 340 yards, the hedgeline bends to the left towards a small footbridge heading south west (7). Cross the footbridge and carry straight on with the field edge to your left, crossing another footbridge. After a further 350 yards, turn right at the house towards King Harold's Head.
G. Just to the left of the pub, follow Belchers Lane north past Patience Cottage and Tays Farm (8) until you arrive at the Nazeing Golf Club entrance. To the left of the gates there is a stile into the golf course. Follow the green's edge round to the left until you see a footpath marker pointing across the green to the right. You are aiming for a waymark situated in the opposite hedge, in a line of red hedge markers. (9)
H. Follow the hedge with red posts down to the brook and turn right, following the Stort Valley Way markers. (10)
I. Continue for another 150 yards north east, until you come to a bridge over the brook with a small lake on the other side (11). Cross the bridge and immediately turn right following the hedgeline until you join a gravel track.
J. Follow the track round and cross over Nazeing Brook. As the track bends round to the right, leave the track (12), passing under the line of electricity pylons and walk up the left hand side of a driving range, alongside a hedge marked with red posts, towards a hillside white house. Look for a stile on the left field edge after 280 yards where the footpath leaves the golf course to walk along an enclosed path alongside the property (13).
K. The footpath leads onto Back Lane and carries on eastwards into the field opposite the house. Walk up the grassy hill towards the corner of the field diagonally opposite (14) with the Millenium Oak Circle on your right.
L. Take the footpath to the left of the timber clad houses and follow the path through to a tarmac access road. (15) Turn left and follow the track to the wrought iron entrance gates and to the T-junction with Betts Lane.
M. Turn left here and follow the road to the entrance of Longyard. Opposite this property, just before the red telephone box and postbox, there is a stile for the footpath to Broadley Common (16).
N. Follow the footpath through two fields, and in the third field head towards the righthand diagonal corner of the field (17) where there is a willow tree behind an electricity pole. Take the right-hand footbridge for the path passing alongside the Sun Inn's beer garden.
O. On reaching the main road (Common Road), turn left and look for the bridleway entrance about 50 yards away on the other side of the road, opposite Upper Gate House.
P. The public bridleway is signposted with 'Lodge Farm 1.2 Km' and is part of the Three Forests Way. After 500 yards a footpath crosses the bridleway. Take the footpath on the right and walk south along the field edge with a ditch on your left (18).
Q. After 180 yards of field edge, you will reach a footbridge. Cross the footbridge and carry on with the ditch on your right and join the farm track heading south to Lodge Farm (19).
R. As the track passes Lodge Farm and bends behind it, take the track on the right, initially downhill along a field edge (20).
S. The rest of the walk is a simple stroll straight back to Epping Green emerging rather appropriately by the Travellers Friend.

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here


Download PDF photo-set here pdf
P Epping Long Green 1 Epping Long Green 2 Epping Green
3 Epping Green 4 Epping Green 5
6 Epping Green 7 Epping Green 8 Epping Green
9 Epping Green 10Epping Green 11Epping Green
12Epping Green 13Epping Green 14Epping Green
15Epping Green 16Epping Green 17Epping Green
18Epping Green 19Epping Green 20Epping Green
Download PDF photo-set here pdf


Nazeing Park

Nazeing Park: Click to see HD video

Grade II listed Nazeing Park was built in the Georgian style in 1797 by the merchant William Palmer and originally known as Nazeing House. It was extensively remodelled around 1814. To secure his new estate and privacy, Palmer stopped up the main public highway from Nazeing to Harlow. The local barrister on the Parish Council objected that

'the Public Road or Highway from Nazeing to Harlow which formerly passed by the Door of the House of this William Palmer Esq. was diverted and turned by him of his own great benefit and convenience... without the consent of the Freeholders.

The resulting acrimony meant that he no longer served as a Trustee of the Common, but it appears that he got away with it. The proud Essex tradition of venal landowners stopping up Public Rights of Way for their own advantage has continued until this day. William Palmer died in 1821, and the property passed to his son George Palmer (1772-1853) shipowner and MP for South Essex. George Palmer had served with distinction in the naval service of the East India Company, and continued to expand the family wealth in partnership with his brother as merchants and shipowners. The Palmer family owned large parts of the Nazeing Parish including Belchers, Mansion House and Nazeing Lodge farms, totalling 760 acres by 1847. The bulk of the estate was sold off by Archdale Palmer (1865-1950) to the sitting tenant Sir Walter Hargreaves in 1937. After the Second World War, Nazeing Park was bought by Essex County Council and became Nazeing Park Special School. It was restored to its former glory by Jim and Jayne Egan, and in 2005, sold to BJ Smart, the grandson of circus tycoon Billy Smart who lives there with his sister and mother.

Nazeing Park Stable Block with bell turret Set on a hill in the heart of its rolling estate, Nazeing Park is an instantly impressive house with two octagonal wings and five slender Ionic pillars lending elegance to its front elevation. The 13,500 square feet house has 12 bedrooms, a coach house, a two-story stable block with an unusual wooden bell turret and even an indoor well.
The 70 acre property with views across Nazeingwood Common, slopes gently down to a stocked carp lake, that forms part of Nazeing brook.


Long Distance Paths

Stort Valley Way Forest Way This walk lies along the route of three public rights of way named on Ordnance Survey as The Stort Valley Way, The Three Forests Way, and Forest way. The 28-mile circular Stort Valley Way follows part of the Stort Navigation towpath, through Sawbridgeworth, Harlow, Matching and finally to Epping Green, while the Three Forests Way is a 60-mile circular walk, passing through Hatfield Forest, Hainault Forest and Epping Forest. The Forest Way is a 25 mile walk between Hatfield Forest and Epping Forest: further details can be found on the Essex Council's 2008 guide to the walk The_Forest_Way.pdf pdf


Nazeingwood Common

Traditionally, the parish of Nazeing lay within the boundaries of the Royal Forest of Essex - incorporating a huge area that would have included what is now Hainault Forest and Epping Forest. Forest is a legal term introduced by the Normans in the 11th century denoting the Monarch's right to hunt there, with severe penalties for any commoner harming or poaching the deer. However, local residents could put cattle and pigs onto wasteland within the Forest, the cattle to be branded with a Parish Mark by Forest Officials known as Reeves. The parish mark for Nazeing was the letter B surmounted by a crown. In 1229 the Abbot of Waltham Abbey, who had administrative control over the parish, was allowed to enclose 'the wood of Nazeing and Epping', with a ditch and low hedge, so that deer could come and go but cattle grazing there would be kept in.

The wood was deforested by 1285 and in 1286 the Abbot was permitted to erect a high fence with two gates, one towards Roydon called Lord's Hatch, and one towards Epping called Abbot's Hatch. The former was possibly Harknett's Gate at the north-east corner of the Common. The enclosed Common - of some 600 acres - provided inhabitants of Nazeing with exclusive grazing rights for at least 700 years. In the time of Oliver Cromwell, 450 acres of the Common were formally placed under the stewardship of trustees who recorded in 1657 some 101 households who were entitled to enjoy grazing rights. Tenant poverty led to under-use of the Common by 1778, when a trustee of Nazeing Common, William Palmer of Nazeing Park, put forward a Parliamentary private members bill to regulate the management and stocking of the Common.

Arthur Young, the leading agricultural writer of the day, noted that the Common

... had been stocked in a manner that had deprived the poor of a benefit, which they might under a better arrangement, have derived from such a fine tract of land. William Palmer who possesses considerable property here, had the praiseworthy humanity to offer to lay down money to enable every poor man, otherwise unable to fiind stock, to buy ten sheep, the produce of which was to be his, until he was repaid, and then to remain the cottager's.

According to the rector of Great Parndon, 'the villagers of Nazeing were a sad lawless set until Mr. Palmer took them in hand, but that now there were not a better set in the country'. Having a specific parliamentary act guaranteeing common rights seems to have helped Nazeingwood Common resist the 'land-grabs' of enclosures that threw so many agrarian workers off the land in the 18th and 19th centuries. It remains on the Register of Commons as the largest in Essex.

It continued to be used for grazing until 1940, when it was used as a North Weald decoy airfield from June 1940. The airfield lighting was mounted on wooden poles of varying lengths across the hilly site, so as to give the illusion of a flat airfield from the air. Unfortunately the Germans had detected Nazeing 'KQ' as a decoy site by the end of December. The decoy had been built on common grazing land, but the land was requisitioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and put to the plough in August 1941 to increase wartime food production. The Nazeing Wood or Park Act (1947) repealed William Palmer's Act of 1778, allowing the freeholders of qualifying properties to continue to cultivate the land for food production. In effect, the usual 'rights of common' were in name only, and the Common became private agricultural land.