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At the southern tip of Epping Forest, there lies a little Parkrun with a big heart.
Friendly locals and four train stations within one mile of the start make it a popular trail for tourists in one of the largest expanses of common land in urban London. The Flats have been almost treeless since the 12th century when the Abbots of Stratford grazed sheep here, yet continue north, and there is the 19-kilometre stretch of Epping Forest in its entirety, containing ancient woodland, grassland, heath, rivers, bogs, and ponds.
The route encompasses flat trails and open grassland for two laps, coursing through a wooded forest and passing the “Narnia Lamppost” situated midway, creating a magical atmosphere.
The welcoming locals meet at the Wanstead Flats Playing Fields on a Saturday morning at 9am for the parkrun.
Stay for the freshly brewed tea and coffee at the Pavillion afterward, or bring a football and have some fun with the family.
Delve deeper into the forest, and you’ll be sure to stumble across the Chalet Wood, awash with flowering bluebells in late April.
The Temple, now a visitors centre, displays 18th-century artefacts of a “Lost Roman Villa,” excavated from the park.
You can find more information at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.