This route gives the lie to flat featureless Essex; there is more than 1200 ft of ascent to come, with some notable steep climbs; plenty of varied landscape throughout and very little of town or suburb until the final miles.
Starting at Enfield Lock as the best rail connection, Bradley Road connects to Spoke 1E 0.2 and thence to Enfield Lock proper 0.7, with its links (Arc 1 north, Arc 2a south). Follow NCN1 signage to start with, into wetlands over the Lea Flood Relief channel 1.1 but continue straight to Stewardstone Road 1.6. L and immediately R Mott Street for a stiff climb up onto Epping Forest and the various facilities on Wellington Hill 3.6.
Epping Forest has a north-south axis, so to enjoy a long ride among its trees choose Chingford Link, but this route gives you the best of an east-west traverse using the quiet roads through the forest – plus a couple of miles of well-surfaced track from High Beech 3.7 to Jack’s Hill 6.2 (including short steep descents/ascents on two exhilarating switchbacks; the largest swoop down to Bellringer's Hollow earns a Warning symbol) before heading into open Essex countryside.
This starts with a rapid descent to Theydon Bois 7.5, a broad road to Abridge 9.1 and then a quieter ascent on Hoe Lane to R New Road 10.3. Continue straight for Hainault Country Park on Romford Link N.
Downhill again on Bournebridge Lane, up L on Stapleford Road 12.7 until L Tysea Hill 13.3 (straight on for Romford-Brentwood Link to Havering Country Park). R 13.7 for Horseman Side 14.3 (R for Noak Hill and southern options on Romford-Brentwood Link and Spinoff 1-2-3).
Horseman Side takes you over the M25 and the junction with Spinoff 1-2-3 15.7 from the north. This you shadow R Dytchleys Lane 15.9 for the short section to Coxtie Green Road 16.2. Off R goes Spinoff 1-2-3; L on Coxtie Green Road brings this route to access on Park Lane 17.3 into Weald Country Park.
There follows a good mile of off-road riding. The cycle track takes you round the eastern edges of this huge park, reminiscent of Richmond Park, but much wilder and quieter. Deer abound. Take care unconsolidated surface in places. Romford-Brentwood Link skirts the more public southwest side of the park with the visitor centre. After a short ride on Sandpit Lane 18.7-19.1 the two routes combine briefly, over the A12 trunk road, until Honeypot Lane 19.5 when the link peels off for Brentwood.
Now it's one last steep hill up to Brentwood town centre 20. L up High Street R past the church and on through prosperous suburbs to Shenfield for eastward connections and faster (non Oystercard) trains to London.