I did this walk in the summer of 2019 when the crops were at their peak, the Borage fields in full bloom with deep powder blue stretching to the distance and the ripe Oats giving the hillsides a rich golden glow. The fact I’m writing this on a dark, cold, wet & windy late October evening makes me feel oddly warm and nostalgic.
I started this walk at Swaines Green in Epping behind Coronation Hill. The footpath takes you through a lovey enclosed green, rich in wildlife with a small pond on one side. It’s clearly well used by locals and dog walkers as a recreational green space, sadly on my visit the smell of dog mess was never far away in this otherwise pleasant spot.
It’s only a very short walk to the rear of the green where the footpath goes out through a hedge into the first stretch of open farmland. This is where the footpath runs west through the centre of Bury Farm and it is a beautiful walk. The land takes on a slight dip here where it seems to slope down toward the path from the left and right but away from the path there are long & wide views of the uplands, with the Rye Hill water tower never missing an opportunity to show itself above the treeline on the horizon.
The pathway exits Bury Farm onto the junction of Bury Lane and Lindsey Street. From here I cross the road and walk west along the edge of the field toward Cobbins Bridge. When I did this walk this field was filled with wheat, as I write this today it’s filled with rape seed ready for a yellow spring display. To my right is the source of Cobbins Brook at Haleys Manor Farm. I cross the road at the small bridge going over the brook and enter the field to my left which leads west to a footpath running up the rear of Chambers Manor. I notice that I can see around me a lot of badger activity on this path alongside the manor garden.
At the top of this path is a metal gate with a latch which takes me into the rear of All saints Epping Upland. This always struck me as a very large church for such a small and scattered community. The sign on the church wall warning of falling masonry doesn’t fill me with a yearning to hang around the building too long, although it has to be said this is a lovely church & a very interesting churchyard worthy of more research.
The footpath goes around the building through the churchyard then out onto Upland Road, where I cross over going through a hedge opposite to continue along the route. To my right an old farmhouse in the classic manor style, beside which a smaller weather boarded cottage my OS map tells me was once an Inn called the Chequers.
I follow the path diagonally through this field heading north west toward Epping Green. This path is eye catching because the ‘Desire Path’ – a name given to a noticeable line trodden through a field by walkers, is a straight line of pure blue where borage seeded itself from a previous crop, and the surrounding field is a crop of wheat. I find the perfect blue diagonal stripe through the field too good to miss for a photo opportunity.
Continuing through the fields behind Chambers Manor Cottages I approach the rear of Epping Green. Here the path goes through a communal orchard and open space used as a nature reserve, before going alongside a hedge into a peaceful small meadow once used as a paddock. The path then goes through a small gap with an old weather boarded cottage on the left & Epping Green Chapel on the right.
I now turn left going around the village pond then cross the road and go through the gate beside the Travelers Friend pub onto Epping Long Green heading south. This is the route I usually take all the way to Waltham Abbey but I’m taking a different route this time. When I reach the southern most end of the Long Green by Peacock Farm, instead of continuing south through Harolds Park Farm I follow another desire line south east over the brow of a hill marking the edge of the small valley Cobbins Brook runs through. This line doesn’t have a blue path to lead me, but it does give a fine view of the hills.
From here I walk downhill towards Claverhambury where the path goes down the side of a house oddly called Fallow Deer Barn, which comes out onto a farm track where I cross over heading west past some farm buildings on my left. I now continue west downhill to the bottom of the Cobbins Brook valley & follow the brook south. It’s hard to think of the depression the brook runs through up here as a valley as it’s quite shallow, but the views either side show that it very much is a valley. There hadn’t been rain for weeks when I did this walk and for most of it’s course Cobbins Brook had dried up into a series of muddy pools with no water running between them.
I look back the way I came and can see some beautiful views of the hills I usually walk on through Galley Hill & stop to take a picture. I cross over the brook and continue west coming out at Warlies Home Farm. I spend a bit of time here taking picture of the beautiful scenery from the hills here which go on forever across the uplands. Warlies itself is a beautiful part of the uplands deserving of it’s own walk. I stop to take pictures of the Temple built as a Folly on Temple Hill and on a neighbouring hill on private land the unmistakable Oblelisk tribute to Queen Boudicca standing alone on a hillside visible for miles, it’s only companion a lonely Oak tree growing beside it. The views from up here are simply stunning.
As I pass Home Farm I turn left onto a track which takes me to Lodge Farm on my left, opposite which I follow the path through a wooded green lane at the end of which purely by accident I find the deer tunnel that goes under the M25 leading to the Warren plantation. From here I cross Crown Hill then head south down the entire length of the western flank of the forest back to Woodford. I have not included the forest itself in this write up as it will feature in it’s own separate walks to give it the attention it so rightly deserves.
This was a different walk for me as it took me on paths I had often seen on my maps and my travels but had never been quite sure where they would lead me to, I am happy I can now add this one to my list as it crosses some of the most beautiful parts of the Uplands where the scenery is absolutely stunning. This is well worth a return visit and it is on my list to go back again for another amble along this section of the beautiful Upland hills for another spring or summer walk.