This wasn't quite the post I planned on writing. Yes, there was going to be a forest, but one in Hertfordshire, not Essex, but it was not to be...
Last week I set out to meet up with Annie from Mammasaurus and some other lovely bloggers at the NT Ashridge Estate. I knew as I approached the Blackwall Tunnel that the day had the potential to go pear-shaped when I saw the sign warning of an accident at the Redbridge roundabout. Undeterred I changed my route in an attempt to beat the snarl up of traffic that was forming, what seemed to be everywhere across East London. Every route the Sat Nav suggested had at least a 25 minute delay, and we all know that any delay they give is seriously on the conservative side. But onward I went and feeling rather smug with myself I made it to a rather empty M11...
The Sat Nav had other ideas and furiously beeped again to let me know what was congestion, and then accident(s) on the M25 was now a road closure. It had though found a route that was 27 minutes faster, so off we set. By now almost two hours into my adventure with the Sat Nav and just twenty or so miles from home, I was starting to feel a little despondent. And knowing that I needed to be home for a 4pm appointment was doing nothing to lower my stress levels.
So when after a nose-to-tail slow drive through part of Epping Forest I saw the stationary traffic on the M25 that the Sat Nav was eagerly suggesting I join, I knew the game was up. Instead of heading up the slip road to join even more queues I double backed and found a quiet car park in Epping Forest.
I'd seen the traffic queuing on the way back too, so my plan was to have a stroll, take some photos and eat that picnic I'd shoved into my cool bag as I ran around the kitchen grabbing suitable items for lunch much earlier and let the traffic dissipate while I did.
I'd parked in the Broadstrood area and set out for what turned out to be a circular walk, join me but be warned this post now turns quite photo-heavy!
It wasn't long before I noticed some of the trees were odd shaped, but the path led me on and past some beautiful bracken (I have a bit of a thing for bracken and ferns it must be said)
The sunlight was dancing on the leaves but it wasn't long before I was back under the canopy. There were glimpses of blue skies. And trees trying their hardest to reach for it.
And there were forest paths and views that just made my heart sing and forget the London traffic altogether.
I found an upturned tree and where the forest opened out onto fields some wildflowers. The pink being the only other colour - apart from browns, greens and blue I saw on this walk - amazing.
And there was time to look up too, before reaching a pond with a solitary duck swimming about.
And as I made my way back towards the car park my eye was caught by these "loving trees" smiling to myself I was back at the car and consulting Sat Nav about the journey home. 27 minutes - that's definitely more like it!
So not the post I expected, but still a forest and one that if I've been to, before it hasn't been for many, many years (I'm sure I must have been to parts of it when I lived in Dagenham all those years ago) and probably not this part. It's peacefulness and tranquility were just the thing to rid me of the stresses of London's worse-than-usual-snarled-up-traffic. And while I was there MOH texted with instructions for me to suss it out for cycling - yeap I think it'd make a great place to cycle, so I've a feeling we'll be back.
And that 4pm appointment? Well they called, not to cancel but to ask if I could make it earlier instead... it was clearly meant to be!