Recent outings and activities...

We meet where?

Just three words, but it is an important question when we are organising a meeting-point for a walk or such.

On Lynne’s recent Sunday walk along the River Lea Navigation the instructions were to “Meet Stratford Station near cafe on ground floor”. So some of us met at the ground floor cafe within the station barriers, perhaps "near the Jubilee Line platforms", and others outside the barriers at theground floor cafe near "the stairs leading up to the bridge across to Westfield".

Maybe we should have said “Meet at O.S. Grid Reference TQ 38622 84388” rather than TQ 38627 84478. After all – as an outdoor group, with walking and hence map-reading being somewhat fundamental – that would have been a more appropriate and concise reference, wouldn’t it?

Well, of course, no. Some of us don't even have maps - and I know a lot of us can't really read them! I am not bad with maps and grid references, but to distinguish between those two cafes on a standard OS Landranger, 1:50 000 Series, map is on the edge of my capabilities. And if we’d used the International Latitude and Longtitude system – however precise it may be – we would have been advised to meet at – something like – 51º32´28.9´´N. 0º0´06.8´´W. I even had trouble finding the special characters for that, let alone trying to work it out on a map!

What about, though, “Meet at Stratford Station, at  “shapes.soft.grows” ? That would have saved some of us going to “hang.orbit.saving”. That would have got us all together pretty well right where the cafe is near the Jubilee Lines. At the very least, within a few metres.

This system – called “what3words” - can pinpoint a location to a 3m x 3m square. Anywhere. That’s pretty impressive. Increasingly, emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance are using the system to locate people trying to contact them. Epping Forest is also encouraging members of the public to use the system, to say where they are in the Forest if they have an issue. It is dependent on a mobile phone signal, though – but then an emergency call from the heart of the Forest is, anyway - and a G.P.S. signal.

The app is available for iOS as well as Android phones, is free, easy to download and easy to use. It incorporates an aerial view as well as a map view, so can be used for map-purposes as well.

I really do advise mobile phone users to download it. Hope to see you at dozen.cling.holly on a Thursday evening.

Paul Ferris. 19th September 2019

ps. I have just realied that three characters in a well-known play could have made use of this. I have just re-read the quote, and the suggestion is "Upon the heath". That's really not very explicit, is it?


A message from EFOG to potential Rodings Rally Contestants:

Dear Rodings Rally Contestants,

As you may recall from the 2018 Rally Report, the Rover Scouts were interested in taking over the Rally from us. Their initial response was that they could not do the Rally in 2019, because they were involved in a fundraising jamboree and would only be able to run the Rally if we organised it for them. As the Epping Forest Outdoor Group (EFOG) had retired from the Rally last year, we declined to do so.

Since then the Scouts have obviously been talking in-house, and we received a response from then to inquiries made by some of last year's contestants who wanted to know what if anything was up. Unfortunately this reply was not what we were hoping for, so at the moment the Rodings Rally is on permanent hold unless any other large and willing group of people would like to take up the challenge.

Thank you to everyone for your interest and support over the years, it is how we managed to carry on for 64 Rallys!

Best Wishes,

Susan Carroll



Circular walk to Davy Down, Mardyke Woods and in Thames Chase, Saturday, 17 August 2019

In true EFOG style we began our day by meeting for a coffee at Thurrock Garden Centre in Ockenden, and once refreshed the eight of us travelled to Davy Down car park in two cars.

The circular walk was more like a figure-of-eight, taking us through the woods at Davy Down and then through open meadows, past the water pumping station and the viaduct. Much of our walk followed the Mardyke river, where we spotted some wildlife including a Grey Heron and ducks but also some sculptures of animals, including a mammoth (which was quite hard to spot among the trees), foxes, dragonfly and heron. Most of the walk was in fields or woods but we did have a short walk on the road up to North Stifford village, passing the cricket green on the right-hand side. We then walked through the Field of Peace and alongside the Mardyke, crossed the road back into Davy Down and then over the bridge on the other side of the river and under the viaduct which serves the C2C railway. We then proceeded to walk through Brannetts Wood which is very pleasant and leafy. We returned to Davy Down along the river, across the bridge, passing the fish sculpture and over the small lake where we were able to see some Marsh Frogs taking in the sun.

We returned to Thurrock Garden Centre for a tasty lunch and a circular walk round Thames Chase Forest before finishing with a cuppa and an ice cream at the café. Thoroughly enjoyable day for Eileen, Fred, Jinan, Trevor, Sue S., Ann, Marilyn and Tina who took the pictures. This was Tina’s first walk with EFOG and hopefully the first of many.

Ann W.    26th August 2019


efog davydown viaduct WA0001cRailway Viaduct at Davy Down

 efog davydownthameschase cHeading for Thames Chase Visitor Centre








Trip to Kentwell Hall, Saturday 24th August 2019

efog kentwell redkite cAnn, Jenny, Jinan, Fred and Louise travel together in one car to Kentwell Hall to see the “Meet The Tudors” weekend where we spoke to various volunteers dressed in Tudor costume who were speaking in the Tudor form of English to us. We first encountered a group of musicians playing on instruments from the Tudor period followed by a gentleman who had a red kite perched on his arm. He told us a little bit about the bird of prey, who at the time was shedding some of its feathers.

efog kentwell women cWe then made a circular tour around the site watching pottage (soup or stew) being made for the workers, blacksmiths working on tools, told how wool is dyed using various plants, and we watched young men and women spinning yarn and weaving as it would have been done in Tudor times. We visited the house and observed the gentry eating their meals and also the servants in the kitchen as well as the group of musicians we had seen earlier, come into the house and perform a short comical play in front of the gentry as they sat eating their meal.

We were given a full history of how to make butter and cheese in the dairy and went into the camera obscura which is a small room with a small hole cut through and when the door to the room is shut you get a reflection of the bridge and the land outside on the inside wall of the room. Finally we spent some time in the walled garden and gardens, looked in the ice house and finished with watching the basket makers who were wisely working in the shade under the trees.

A thoroughly enjoyable day rounded off with an ice cream very kindly bought by Jenny for the group.


Ann W.    26th August 2019


Chislehurst Caves

Eleven of us turned up at Chislehurst Caves in South London. Chislehurst Station (zone 5) is just 500 metres away, so very convenient.

The man-made chalk tunnels and caverns cover a large area, and the map looked like a small town. The entertaining guide occasionally dodged round a corner leaving us groping around with our feeble lamps until he suddenly popped out from an unexpected direction, such was his knowledge of the paths. The caves were used as an air raid shelter in the Second World War and there was a recreation of the conditions suffered by the people – triple bunks, the top ones getting wet from the chalk ceilings, basic medical provision, poor ventilation and so on. Discipline appears to have been rigid, which with that many people in an enclosed space is perhaps just as well. The caves were also used for storage by the army.

One hour later we were outside thinking what to do, the pub being uppermost in some minds. Instead we walked down the road to Petts Wood. This is a wood owned by The National Trust, along with Hawkwood Estate next door, but does not feature in their 2019 handbook. It is in their leaflet “Around London”, which is how we came to know of it. It was more than a mile to walk there, so we did the North edge of the Wood then went hungrily in search of a pub. The first was full – natch, it is Sunday – but the second, the Crown Inn on School Road, had tables outside. The weather was fine and so, ignoring the wasps, we had an enjoyable meal.

A walk along the busy roads back to Chislehurst and then off home.

Brian U. 28th July 2019