London Loop Walk 1:
Enfield Lock to Chigwell

14 January 2006

The London Loop (London Outer Orbital Path) is, as its name says, a path around the outside of London of around 240 kilometres (150 miles). Officially it starts at Erith on the south bank of the Thames, but I decided that I would start at Enfield Lock, our nearest official stage starting point. If I do all of it, I don't want to finish at Coldharbour Point, which sounds anticlimactic, and finishing back at Enfield, through some familiar territory, sounds interesting. I also started at Enfield Lock itself, rather than at the railway station, as that isn't an inspiring finishing point, either. Whether I will walk it all remains to be seen, but it is an interesting project.

The 24 stages vary from 6 to 17 kilometres each - this morning I did two of the shortest stages: most of section 18 from Enfield Lock to Chingford, and section 19 from Chingford to Chigwell.

London Loop sign
As I leave the car park, the first of many London Loop signs points the way towards Sewardstone.

King George's reservoir, Enfield, from London Loop path
Having crossed Sewardstone Road, we climb Barn Hill, with views on this hazy morning across King George's Reservoir.

King George's reservoir, Enfield, from London Loop path
These reservoirs together supply about a quarter of London's drinking water.

Sign at Scout Association's national headquarters, Gilwell Park
This varied route takes us through the site of the Scout Association's national headquarters

Green lane on Yardley Hill on London Loop path
Green lane on Yardley Hill

Fungi on Yardley Hill
Fungi on Yardley Hill

Golfers on Chingford golf course
Golfers on Chingford golf course. By ancient law, all golfers on this course must wear bright red.

Royal Forest pub, Chingford, Epping Forest
The rear of the modern Royal Forest pub

Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge at Chingford in Epping Forest
The much more ancient Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge at Chingford dates from 1543

Horse ride near Chingford in Epping Forest on London Loop
Looking back down the ride from Chingford

Houses in Buckhurst Hill on London Loop
Houses on the northern edge of Buckhurst Hill

Dogs on London Loop path
George meets a tricolour Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, called Rupert, who had escaped from his owner.

Central Underground line on London Loop
To prove it is still London, we cross the Underground - Central Line.

lake formed from gravel pit near M11 on London Loop
This lake next to the River Roding is a flooded gravel pit created during the construction of the nearby M11 motorway and now forming part of a recreational area with walks and sports fields.

M11 motorway near Chigwell on London Loop
Crossing the M11 as we approach Chigwell.

Section 18: 6.1km, 1 hour 30 minutes, 127 metres of ascent
Section 19: 5.9km, 1 hour 40 minutes, 92 metres of ascent

An enjoyable morning, and enough to make me want to do the next stage. Havering here we come!

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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson