Dave Sergeant

The London Loop is a walking route of 150 miles length around the outer boundaries of London split into 24 sections. I am currently walking the loop and this is a blog of a few sections. See tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/loop-walk for more details.

London Loop Section 19 Chingford to Chigwell - September 4th 2019

Section 18  →Section 20

Very pleasant day today doing my next London Loop walk - section 19 from Chingford to Chigwell in rural Essex, around 4 miles. I was intending originally to do this leg on Bank Holiday Monday but with the hot weather I decided otherwise. Yesterday's plans were cut short by a points failure at Staines and the trains in chaos. Today looked good, but I was a bit concerned when I saw the whole of the Northern Line was suspended, rumours are they had a power failure in their control room. But I didn't need to use that line and all the trains were running on time, arriving at Chingford station bang on 11am.

Starting off section 19 goes straight into open common land of Chingford Plain and into Epping Forest. Shortly along here was Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge which dates from the 16th century and is an example of a 'standing' used to view hunting in the forest below. The lodge was free to enter and there were some exhibits showing its history. Next door is a visitors centre which I didn't visit, a pub and a collection of fine houses.

Rather nice views from the top floor of the lodge across Epping Forest.

Plenty of nice woodland in places although there was one particular place which was quite waterlogged.

After quite a long stretch of woodland the track crossed the Central Line, the Epping branch of the Hainhault Loop which I would pass along later on my way home. Sorry about the blurred bits, the narrow meshed netting they had put over the walls of the bridge got in the way. After this bridge there was a stretch of road walking through the suburb of Buckhurst Hill, although the Loop did its best by using the Green Walk between the houses.

Now we reach one of the highlights of this section. This lake, which seems not to have a name, within the Roding Valley Meadow Nature Reserve, was formed in the area they quarried the gravel for the adjacent M11 motorway. It is huge and the loop goes round two sides before crossing a bridge and following the River Roding. Quite pleasant and very popular with walkers.

Plenty of swans and other wild life on the lake. This group, proudly showing off the family, seemed very tame.

So a short walk along the River Roding but then the nice part of the walk was over. After passing the big David Lloyd leisure centre the walk comes to a road and at the bottom of the road is this:

The M11 itself, the last of the major roads I will be crossing on the Loop. The slip road to the left was intended to go to the planned Chigwell services which were never built. If you look at the map you can see the complete outline of that service station. The exit is now just a works exit with a big no entry sign at it.

After this there was a trudge of the best part of a mile along the busy B170 where apart from one place with a good view of the Shard and central London was of no interest. A short chat to a couple of workmen feeding fibre optic cable down a hole in the ground was the only bright spot, I don't think they understood why anybody would do a 150 mile walk. Then into Chigwell itself, which seems to have more mini roundabouts than Bracknell, and lunch in a convenient 'gastro pub' finished the day. Off to Chigwell underground on the other half of the Hainhault Loop where I had to take a train to Woodford to pick up the one back to central London. Chigwell is the second least busy station on the whole of the tube network, only Grange Hill down the line (with no posh secondary school) is quieter. Back to Waterloo then home at around 5pm.

Section 18  →Section 20