Recent outings and activities...

To Holland and Back Again

At the beginning of 2014, I went back to live and work in Holland. Why? Please read on.

I said goodbye to my English dance school, which I ran for 15 years, I said goodbye to my whole family. I said goodbye to the good friends I have known in England for many years. I said goodbye to my Epping Forest Outdoor Group friends. Why? Because I felt I needed a change of scenery and a change of work.

Returning to Holland, where I had previously lived for 20 years, revisiting my old life and old friends seemed to be the way forward.

Maz”, I asked, “Could you please continue sending me the weekly EFOG emails with all the activities. I want to keep in contact with The Epping Forest Group and their members and all the club news!"

Once I was settled in Hilversum, (the Dutch centre of radio and television), with my own apartment and garden (for my dog Serena), I wanted to do some exercise (a second nature to me) but what should I do? Should I join another outdoor group in Holland? Instead I chose tennis, which I played four times a week. Also I had extra tuition from my coach, Ingrid, as I wanted to go back to playing competition. By joining the local gym I could build up my fitness level quicker. Twice a week I trained in the gym.

I was quite happy with all of this for a while, but noticed how I missed my outdoor group and its activities. Paul Ferris and Val Shepherd and I are qualified RYA Canal Boat Handlers. We were so excited with the canal boat trip in Wales organised by Peter Gamble that we had to take it a step further. I trained further to become a helmswoman for Canalability in Harlow, taking groups of disabled people on day trips along the river.

gill en serena artAlso my dog Serena, who was used to regular group walks with EFOG, did regular weekly dog group walks. The big dogs always leapt out in front whilst the small dogs like Serena - my Shih Tzu -  and Marvin the Chihuahua, always followed in my footsteps

The forest walks with Serena in the area were delightful. Serena loved that, but it still wasn’t the same as the walks we did with the Epping Forest Group. Serena missed all the attention she received from the adult members and I missed all their friendly chats along the way.

As time went on, I realised that I was not happy in Holland - all my good Dutch friends now had families and therefore had little time for anything and anyone else. That is what can happen when you are living alone, unfortunately. That made life pretty lonely for me. When I caught a nasty bacteria in the spring of 2017 and felt very unwell I realised the importance of family and friend support, so I decided to return to England for good.

So back to:

Thursday EFOG club evenings – full of quizzes, bring and buy sales, various themed parties, dance events and guest - or club-member - speakers.

Weekend walks; visits to places of interest; foody evenings in our favourite restaurants; bike rides through the forest; boat trips.

I love it.

Wow, I am so pleased to be back with the Epping Forest Group!! And I am building a happy life now which is full of family involvement plus plenty of Epping Forest Outdoor Group activities.

Gill L,  5th February 2018

Swimming at Walthamstow

As planned, the Sunday morning swimming session at the Walthamstow Feel Good Centre went ahead. I was delighted that Lynne joined me.

When going through the barrier from reception Lynne got through, but a mug shot of me came up and denied me access. Apparently I had not flashed my receipt, but the problem was soon sorted out and it made us both laugh; I looked like some criminal!

This was Lynne's first swim since her accident and she did very well. We were fortunate to have the small pool to ourselves and really enjoyed it. We then went to Weatherspoons at Chingford Mount for a very enjoyable breakfast.

Jenny J.  4th February 2018


Walthamstow Wetlands Visit

A big thank you to those who joined me on a visit to the new Wetlands Centre at Walthamstow.

Marilyn, Amina, Jim, Sue,Trevor, David, Eileen, Louise, Ian, Val, and  Ken.

We did have a very nice time despite the weather and enjoyed nice chats in the lovely warm cafe after our fairly short walk.

I think most people would like to come again maybe in the spring when hopefully the weather will be much more pleasant.

wetlands walk 2754c

Jenny J.   2nd February 2018








Photo by Sue. U.






Wanstead Park Walk

Looking out of the window on Sunday 10th December I wondered if the walk was going ahead as the snow fell down. I already had a text from one person pulling out. But there is Ken at the door so we slither out in the car and slip and slide our way to Wanstead Park.

efog grotto brian 20171210 114244cIn total there were 5 hardy souls who braved the elements, all well wrapped up. We met at Wanstead station and walked through the streets to the Park, passing Wanstead golf club whose building used to be the stables of the once grand Wanstead House. Into the Park and there still are traces of the grandeur that it once was, with a broad avenue immediately in front of us. We followed the City of London walk and went up the side of the Ornamental Water, round the top and came down between the River Roding and the lake. Rounding the Canal (another remnant of the old House) we pause for a photo in front of the Grotto.

Stopping at the Perch Pond we fed the birds with proper duck food, not bread, as supplied by the visitor centres in Epping Forest. On to the tea hut and the Park is very busy all of a sudden. We had seen few people on the walk and this was a surprise. Children had been busy and the area looked like the Terracotta Army, with snowmen all over the place. We had a warming cup of tea and moved on to walk around the Heronry Pond. We didn’t see herons but saw nests high in the trees which at first we thought were heron's, but were probably crow's nests or squirrels dreys. Herons haven't apparently nested in the park since early in the 20th Century.

On to the Temple visitor centre where we warmed ourselves and looked at the information regarding the history of Wanstead House. Downstairs there was a photography display including an offering from our own Sue Carroll.

That was the end of the walk and we returned to Wanstead station and home.

Brian U. 13th December 2017

Epping Forest Bike Ride

Five of us met at Bury Road car park at 10.30 on Sunday 16 July and set off on our bikes.

Passing through Buttonseed Corner (how did it get that name?) and past Grimston’s Oak, we crossed the Epping New Road and set off up the Green Ride. Puffing up the gradient past Loughton Camp and again past Bellringers Hollow we stopped occasionally to regroup and have a drink. The weather was warm and humid and a slight sweat had been raised despite the easy pace.

A final up-gradient past Furze Ground and on to the more level surface past Ditches Ride. We diverted close to the Epping Road to see Ambresbury Banks, an SSSI and very impressive earthworks. Brian pointed out the apparent milestone on the main road which is actually a coal duty marker post and is almost opposite the entrance to Ambresbury Banks.

Back down to Wakes Arms, crossing Epping Road and the very busy Woodridden Hill and a quick stop to admire the Big View. It was a fine day and we could see across North London for miles. Then on to High Beach where a tea stop was made. Very reasonable, tea and a slice of fruit cake for £1.60.

Val was visibly relaxing as she could see that Brian was keeping a pace which meant she could get home in time to see the Wimbledon men’s final. It was a bonus that from High Beach it was virtually all downhill and we arrived back at the car park around 1 pm.

Only two of us were on knobbly tyres but it has been so dry recently that even on the track near Ambresbury Banks there was only a trace of mud and we all coped easily with the conditions.


egog epping bike 170716 114921art

Brian Unwin, 16th July 2017