Epping Forest has had short shrift from Cycle Orbital. The reason is that rides taken a decade or more ago, before this network was conceived, were disappointing; there were few off-road tracks well enough surfaced to replace the busy A104 road that runs as a spine through the forest. Spinoff 2 has a rewarding section running east-west through the forest, but now at last Zone 5 Chingford and Zone 6 Epping are linked into the network.
Not before time; the main path through the forest is now wide and well surfaced throughout, and the Corporation of London encourage the shared use of the forest by cyclists, walkers and riders. And for an 8-mile ride through unbroken forest, this ride is remarkably varied. The first feature of note is
Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge 0.3 with the Forest Visitor's Centre adjoining; thereafter the variety is in the woodland landscape and of relief - flat, then rising, a central switchback section to the halfway point of Wellington Hill 3.2 with its facilities. After that you ride the edge of a high plateau and finally an undulating section towards Epping. Throughout, the trees are ever-changing.
By merging with Spin-off 2 near Wellington Hill, riders on that route can ship to Chingford Link for the more westerly route to Jack's Hill - or vice versa. The Link route takes in the big view at Big View 3.9, whereas Spin-off 2 chooses the path that swoops down and up two exhilarating switchbacks. In fact the Link path around High Beach is nicknamed "the Up and Down" as it swoops up and down gullies and vales, but the largest swoop on Spin-off 2 down Bellringer's Hollow earns a Warning symbol.
Epping town lies beyond the M25, which lies beneath your wheels in a short tunnel 6.6. If you plan a one-way traverse of the forest, Central line tube trains from Epping will take your bike, but only as far as Leyton.