Being far away from my beloved Alps is a lot harder than I initially thought. My longing for high peaks is constantly there – my desktop background speaks for itself. However, instead of falling into a long depression, I decided to tackle the issue differently: discover hiking routes around England. Unless I make my way to the Lake District, the Highlands or Snowdonia I need to exchange the feeling of mountaineering with long walks through forests around the Southern part of the Island. I started this morning with the nearby Oak Trial, a nice trail in zone 6 which served the purpose of walking in my new hiking boots.
Conveniently, the Oak Trail can be reached by tube: take the Central Line until Theydon Bois. The moment you get off the tube you start embracing country side and longing for a pint in the cute village pub. Yet, this pint will be learnt first! If you turn right at the station, then right again into the Forest Drive, the Oak Trail begins at the end of this cul de sac. For the most times the path is either marked with Oak Trail or Public Footpath that should it make easy to follow…unless you are me and get lost a couple of times.
I loved the wildlife during the hike, as hares, deer (there is a deer sanctuary) and not-so-scary squirrels. I also found that the trees, mainly oak trees, were very spectacular and I cannot wait to make the same hike some time in summer/autumn again when the trees are blossoming.
The trail is about 11 km (7 miles) long and should take you – depending on your speed – between 2 and 3 hours. Of course, if you have to do a couple of detours like me it takes you definitely the 3 hours and longer. The small challenges to find the path again added a bit more adventure to this otherwise very moderate walk. Speaking of detours, let me shout out where you can get easily lost: at one point you’ll reach the community of Epping and once there, make sure you somehow get into the Epping Forest . The other pitfall is in the Epping forest, after the Jack Hill Car Park – do follow the footpath sign to the left, otherwise you will need to climb through unknown territory as I did.
My plan is to go on a hike in the UK once per month, more inspirational hikes can be found here.