Thank God for spontaneity. By 10 am on Saturday morning, Katie and I were welly deep in Epping Forest. I hadn’t even brushed my hair and we looked more like ‘Land Girls’ than locals who favour a more ‘lippy + lashes look’ for their rural rambles. Well, we are bordering Essex here people. But let’s not be rude, take it from me, Essex it’s a much underrated/maligned county.
Avoiding the showers we dashed into Butler’s Retreat to sip tea. Such a pretty timber barn, shame about the interior. Best admired from the benches outside where the leaves are crisping up in the autumnal glow. Victorian walkers would have escaped the gin palaces of the city and taken light refreshments here.
We whizzed round Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting lodge for ten minutes before a blushing bride arrived for her wedding. Let’s cut to the chase. The decoration committee chose a strong ‘hunt’ theme for this Grade II listed building when they met in 1543. Antlers rest in fireplaces and the splendid beams above. A deer even dashes across the beautiful carved marzipan cake on the sideboard. It’ s Bambi meets Henry VIII, with the kill in sight!
Most people visit Richmond at this time of year, but Epping Forest feels more rural, quieter and the people watching is better. I’ll come back with my face on though - wouldn’t want to scare the wildlife off!