Bank Holiday Walks in Epping and High Wycombe

View of a woodland at Epping Forest

Hasn’t the weather this month been fantastic? It’s been great to be able to get outdoors, especially as we’ve had so many long weekends. I love a Sunday out exploring as a family, and we recently visited Epping Forest and Bradenham Woods, in High Wycombe.

The latter may not have gone quite as planned, but we still had fun. We had decided on visiting the National Trust site West Wycombe Park, but when we arrived the gates were locked, and the website said it was partially closed – opening a little later in the day. As we’d driven all that way (around an hour), we decided to get a quick Plan B.

Both days out involved packing a picnic and exploring…

Boy balancing on a log at Epping Forest

Epping Forest

I can’t remember the last time we visited Epping Forest, I thought it was when Alfie was really little, but this life update blog post was written the month before he arrived, so who knows anymore! I did wonder if it was in between all the lockdowns, as those times were crazy and merged into one… I digress!

We packed our new picnic bag and Alfie’s bike, in case he wanted to ride it – he didn’t, but the terrain probably wasn’t the best for cycling – and after eating, we just went with the flow. We didn’t follow a particular route and just enjoyed strolling through the woodland, stopping to look at the tall trees, streams and listened to wildlife. We saw lots of stick dens – and Alfie had to go inside each one, as well as all the hollow tree trunks.

We ended up walking around 8km and probably only really scratched the surface on this extensive area of woodland. In fact, there are over 284km of paths across the 8,000 acres of land – so plenty more exploration to be had! There are 10 different trails here which we will have to bookmark for another time.

While the car parks were all busy, we didn’t see that many people, although there were a lot of families, dog walkers and motorcyclists when we stopped for refreshments. We paid for four hours’ parking and ended up extending it by an hour to get an ice cream. On our last visit, we enjoyed drinks and crisps sat outside The King’s Oak pub. This time, we went to the café-style kiosk next door for Mr Whippy. Alfie chose a double cone with whippy ice cream, chocolate sauce and chopped nuts… and managed to demolish the lot! I had a double cone, with one side whippy (with a flake) and the other, cherry ice. It was delicious.

Boy sat on a picnic blanket pointing at the view of the Chilterns

Bradenham Woods

As far as spontaneous trips go, this one wasn’t all bad! While we weren’t able to visit the places as planned and then had to find somewhere else so that it wasn’t a completely wasted journey, we had lots of fun – and the sun was shining!

While there’s more parking in Bradenham Village, we parked in the small National Trust car park on Smalldean Lane, which probably had space for about seven cars – so we were lucky to get a space. Again, the picnic bag (and blanket) was carried, and we followed the path up until we got to a small field to stop and eat – and enjoy the fresh air. It was also very quiet, which was lovely… oh, and we saw some butterflies!

We had no idea where we were going, and there were no signs to follow – so we just followed paths (getting Alfie to choose left or right), walked through beautiful green meadows and woods full of tall beech trees. We found bluebells – but only a few, not enough to create a stunning photo backdrop – and I loved the blossom trees on our descent back to the car.

The Chilterns are a beautiful area though, so I’m sure there are plenty of other routes or locations we could visit. And hopefully we’ll eventually get to West Wycombe Park, too. Fun fact – this was actually Plan C, rather than Plan B as I had considered visiting Shaw’s Corner, which was fully booked the day we wanted, but it’s another place to add to our list.

This Bank Holiday Monday was much more chilled – which was a welcome bonus. I hope you all had a lovely long weekend.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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