This is the walk I did this afternoon depicted in a beautiful map in Edward North Buxton’s ‘Epping Forest’ (1923). Wish I had refered to Buxton’s book before heading out as he would have pre-warned me 88 years in advance of the swamp that consumes Gilbert’s Slade in winter. Not only did this fill my left shoe with freezing mud but also cause me to twist my right knee in the midst of the hornbell and holy. I swear the blackbirds and sparrows celebrated this throughout the treetops. Nonetheless I pushed on through dusk. By the time I reached Salway Hill I was a limping muddy wreck, albeit in a nice new cap sent by some kind folk who live on a cotton farm in Mississippi.
Had I been visiting in the later half of the 18th Century I could have dragged my right leg along the old Lea Bridge Road to Woodford Wells where SP Sunderland (1912) informs us that the chalybeate spring was used by invalids to ease their pains. But alas this is 2011 so I was left to slope down Snakes Lane to board a rail replacement bus service.