Epping Forest is a mix of deciduous woodland and grass heathland occupying a ridge on the north-east outskirts of London. Miles of fine singletrack, almost all of it open to bikes, lie within it’s tree-lined borders, making it a staple favourite with the mountain bikers among the capital’s 10 million population. The route is 95 per cent off-road and 90 per cent singletrack, so what it lacks in undulations, it makes up for with twisty, turny stuff.
Due to the myriad of trails within Epping Forest, many of them un-mapped, navigation can be extremely difficult. Other than dropping breadcrumbs, the best option for Epping rookies is to join one of the regular shop or club rides that occur every Sunday. Details of both can be found in our Killer Factfile. If you go it alone and get lost, you can comfort yourself with the fact that the forest never gets more than 4km wide and 19km long, so you’ll never be far from a road or a landmark.
In winter, Epping can suffer at the hands of the weather. Many parts get very slippery after heavy rain, and where the horses tread, the ground can become a quagmire. The trails take a while to dry, so even in high summer you can encounter muddy sections.
Don’t let that put you off though, because with the right frame of mind, slithering around in the slop can be a real blast!