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Hatch Grove and Bluehouse Grove in Epping Forest

Bluehouse Grove is one of the best sites to find bluebells in spring. On the map it appears to be a neat, compact rectangle linked to Hatch Grove but stray away from the main thoroughfare and it's almost inevitable that you will soon lose your sense of direction and find yourself lost in the woods in the tangled maze of narrow footpaths which lead you round and round the dense woodland.

As you try to re-orientate yourself, you find that you cannot continue in the direction that you hope is the right one – the River Ching cuts such a deep and wide channel that only the most athletic and adventurous would attempt to cross it.

By following the river – a good strategy for anyone lost in the wilds – you will eventually reach a road once again. But if you are unlucky – or lucky, depending upon your feelings about being lost in woodland – you can spend a very long time in this small area of forest which feels a lot bigger when you do not know where you are going.

These two ancient coppice woods are where people came to cut branches from the trees – sawing off any that they could reach above their heads which provided them with timber and fuel but which did not damage the trees. All over the forests we can see how the trees have been shaped by this practice over the centuries when people relied on the woodlands for the basic essentials of life as well as for health and recreation as we do today.

Walk from Hatch Grove or from Highams Park


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