Connaught Water - Strawberry Hill Pond – Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge
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Connaught Water is a stunning, ten-acre lake located within Epping Forest, one of the largest forests in the country and the biggest wooded area around London. The water is named after the Duke of Connaught, the first-ever ranger of Epping Forest. In dry weather it is possible to walk all around the Water with ease and fishing is free apart from the requirement for a rod licence.
The Warren is home to the Epping Forest administrative headquarters, which was acquired by The City of London in 1876. Located behind the offices is Warren House, a Grade II listed building and the residence of the Superintendent of Epping Forest until 2001. The house is now available for hire as a unique events venue.
Highlight of the walk is Strawberry Hill Pond, one of the most attractive areas in the forest, with a small island where many wildfowl take refuge. The pond was built about 1830 being the end result of gravel excavation for road construction. Bracken, gorse and roots of trees stick out from its banks, giving the pond its unique character.
The walk finishes at Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, which was originally called the Great Standing and built for King Henry VIII in 1543 as a grandstand to watch the hunting of deer. The lodge is the only remaining timber-framed standing in England, possibly in Europe; and is an excellent example of Tudor carpentry. Today, it is calm and peaceful: a fabulous historic building on the southern edge of Epping Forest. The lodge is normally open to visitors between 2 and 5pm except Monday and Tuesday.
Butler's Retreat, adjacent to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, is a Grade II Listed Building. This 19th Century timber-framed weatherboarded barn was converted into a 'retreat' in 1891 by the Butler family, who ran it until 1971. Between the 1870s and the 1940s there were almost a dozen retreats in Epping Forest providing food, drink, amusements and entertainment for the many thousands of people from the East End who visited Epping Forest every weekend. Only Butler's Retreat remains standing today and is still open for light snacks.
Please note that much of this walk is in woodland which can be tricky to navigate. Walkingworld strongly recommends the use of a compass or GPS to assist following the map on this walk.
England - East England - Essex - Lea Valley
Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Flowers, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Pub, Public Transport, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
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