Trailing the Loughton Brook through Epping Forest

At the beginning of summer I headed out one evening to follow the beguiling Loughton Brook through the suburban streets back to its source high up in Epping Forest.

We pick up the trail near Loughton Station in Brook Road and follow the brook as it flows through the backstreets of Loughton. I’d only previously walked portions of the brook so was keen to trace its course back to the source, which I’d been told in the vicinity of Wake Valley Pond.

As ever on my forest walks I was accompanied by Edward North Buxton’s essential guide to Epping Forest (first published in 1884). The maps included in Buxton’s book are still some of the most detailed maps of the Forest.

Loughton Brook Epping Forest
As the river led me over Baldwin’s Hill I thought of the painter and sculptor Jacob Epstein who moved out to the area from central London and made a number of paintings of the forest.

We climb through Great Monk Wood, which I believed is named after its association with the monks of Waltham Abbey who collected firewood here. You can imagine the monks in their cassocks walking through the forest from the Abbey and carrying the wood all the way back in the gloom singing as they went.

For further info on the Loughton Brook and links to Spaceship’s brilliant A Prospect of Loughton Brook album see my post from last year. Mark makes wonderful ambient recordings of the stream that capture the magic of this enchanting watercourse.


  1. M Swart   •  

    Yay – a new video! But as I watched I had an eerie feeling of déjà vu … Could it be that I have been along this same path before – perhaps in a different (yet obviously recent) life? I recognized markers … the dentist, that curve in the brook, the raindrops…. I have been here before! But how could that be? Could this be proof of Everett’s multiverse theory??
    Oh, wait. I have seen this video before. About 4 months ago.
    (But I enjoyed it even more the second time around….)

  2. Paul Reynolds   •  

    Great video of your journey along the brook. Brings back so many memories throughout my life having lived and grew up in Loughton.
    My Nan lived on Baldwins Hill for 60 years and it was my fathers childhood home so Loughton brook was like his back garden and I also have literally hundreds of experiences in the area.
    Many, many walks up and down the brook with family, brook jumping with my brothers and friends, which once led to two fractured wrists when i was just 7! Sledging down Baldwins Hill on many a winters evening, and on a good run onto the ice of the pond at the bottom of the hill. I can remember venturing up the dark, slimy tunnel under the Clay Ride to the weir of Balwins Hill pond (now closed off as seen in your video).
    While at school at Staples Road, we would run a cross country course through the forest and along the brook before turning up Drum Maids and back towards the finish by the school. Later on as a teenager, I would play golf (!) with a friend through the trees and leaf mould of the brook. Then later still in the the early 90’s I completed my own Geography GCSE case study on Loughton Brook.
    Loughton Brook accounts for many memories of my formative years and couldn’t believe it when a few years ago I stumbled across Spaceship Mark’s album A Prospect of Loughton Brook online. Love the album and it’s comforting sounds which take me back to my childhood.
    Great little video and commentary, always good to see Epping Forest especially this section.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Many thanks for sharing those fantastic memories Paul

  3. Pingback: A walk through Ilford along the Cran Brook - the lost byway

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