Day Nine: Sections 18 & 19

Today we walked from Enfield Lock Station to Chigwell Station, a total of 8.5 – 9 miles. I took quite a few photos today so make no apology for perhaps more pictures than words!

The area around here is well known for things relating to guns. The Lee Enfield rifle was made in a factory near the lock, and this road crossing the railway is Ordnance Road.
Enfield Lock itself

The first section from Enfield Lock to Chingford followed the River Lea for a stretch. The spelling varies according to context and location, sometimes Lee, sometimes Lea. The river is one of the largest in London, and therefore an important waterway – once for trade, now mainly leisure, and always for water supplies.

Reflections in the river

The river looked clear and sparkling in the sun. It’s always very pleasant to walk along a river, and this was no exception. There were water birds, lots of reeds and water lilies, and the flowing water reflecting the blue skies.

The King George V Reservoir provides drinking water for large parts of London, as well as space for boating activities.

The reservoirs that supply over a quarter of London’s drinking water: King George V Reservoir and William Girling reservoir (chairman of the Metropolitan Water Board)

Just before this photo was taken we had been talking about how peaceful this whole area is, and then walked through a new burial ground, only opened last year, called The Garden of Firdaus. I have just looked this up, intrigued by the name, and discovered that it is a Muslim burial ground and the word Firdaus means Paradise.

Shortly after we reached the headquarters of the Scout Association in Gilwell Lane. A destination for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts all over the country, it is set in beautiful countryside. I cannot be sure but I think my youngest son celebrated the 19th World Jamboree there back in 1998..

I still have his cub uniform! 😂
There are two leopards on the gates, and if you look closely at the top there’s an axe. Recently I was on a Beaver/Cub/Scout camp and the Scouts were wielding axes with great enthusiasm (and care it must be said) to chop wood for the camp fire!

Then we were in the famous Epping Forest. Like many of the forests we have walked through on this journey it was a hunting forest in the Tudor times (and probably before too). It was also a source of timber to build the sailing ships that were used for trade and wars.

It was very warm today, and it was nice to get some shade under the trees.

At Chingford Plain we stopped for a drink, before setting off on the second section of the day towards Chigwell.

Here is Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Hunting Lodge, built for Henry VIII in 1543 and then rebuilt for 1589 for Queen Elizabeth. It was built so that Henry could look out over Chingford Plain, and the chase.
A very old oak tree, with signs of pollarding. This was done to provide timber for building. This tree could be 400+ years old!
Not so old, but still a magnificent oak
In between the woods were fields of grasses. (High pollen count today 😉).
The gravel pit lakes were formed when gravel was excavated for building the nearby M11

Although this area was very beautiful and peaceful to look at we soon began to hear more traffic noise and then crossed the M11, and walked along a busy road into Chigwell. There is an alternative route which adds a little extra mileage. In retrospect I think we would have been better off doing this quieter route, which goes through more of the Roding Valley Meadows Local Nature Reserve.

The river Roding. The name comes from an Anglo Saxon leader Hroda, whose people settled in the area. Epping Forest lies on a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Lea and Roding.
Much of this area was developed in the early 20th century. However there are still houses dating from much earlier – I just loved this little quintessential English cottage from probably the late 18th or early 19th century.
The noisy M11.
And finally to Chigwell station!
Deserted. We waited 15 minutes for a train, and it took 2 hours to get home! Well I suppose we are literally travelling from one side of the city (and Central Line) to the other!

We really enjoyed these two sections. On the whole the walks went through quiet and beautiful places. As usual we saw few people except near car parks or shops. The weather was perfect too, sunny and warm with a cooling breeze. Even the travel was straightforward, just lengthy. We’re looking forward to sections 20 and 21 next week!

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