Epping Forest, also known as Waltham Forest in North East London, is an ancient ex-Royal forest just bulging with green walks, cycle routes and picnic spots. Located just 15 miles from Euston, the route is easily fully- or part-“cycleable”, and with public transportation links (albeit somewhat slow), Epping Forest is the ideal spot for a countryside ride from the comfort of your beloved sprawling metropolis.
Here is London City Council’s guide to the Forest (they are its official operators). And here is the district’s [slightly tacky and overly commercialised] website with a broader overview of the area and its history.
A Little History
Originally a Royal forest Epping may have been used as Tudor hunting ground, with a lodge use by Elizabeth still standing in nearby Chingford. The forest historically contains bogs, rivers, ponds and areas of grassland and even homes the embankments of two Iron Age camps within its c.6,000 acres of land.
According to the Epping Forest District Museum, the name Epping comes from the Anglo-Saxon for “up” and “cultivated lands”. The area was granted a charter to hold a weekly market in the C13th, which remains active today.