Download or view our Rules &
Safety document here in PDF format.
We're often asked about who we are
and what we do...
Q. Who are you?
A. A group who like walking in the forest,
the countryside and the town, also socialising with
common interests. We're known as the Epping
Forest HF Group and have been around since 1938.
Q. What does HF mean?
A. The letters HF stand for Holiday
Fellowship, an organisation set up in 1913 to
which we're linked - please look at the HF Holidays
Ltd page for more information.
Q. How many people are there in the
Epping Forest Group?
A. At present, over 120.
Q. Do ALL of you go out on walks
A. No, not simultaneously! In practice
the numbers going out on weekly walks tend to vary
between half-a-dozen at the least and twenty-five at the
most. Sometimes, depending on the weather, numbers
can drop below six and just occasionally they can soar
well beyond twenty-five.
Q. But isn't it just possible
that all could turn up for a walk?
A. In theory, yes, but in practice a number
of them no longer come out on a weekly basis, although
they might have done so a few years ago, and some of them
Q. So why are they in the
A. Partly to keep in touch with old friends
and partly because of all the other activities which we
have to offer - such as our social evenings, our
twice-yearly coach outings and our holidays. Please
look at the different pages on those subjects to find out
more. Remember that this particular FAQ refers to
our weekly walks.
Q. So who decides where to
A. Each walk has an appointed leader - a
different person each week - and it's those leaders
Q. Where do the leaders come
A. Our Ramble Co-ordinator draws up a programme
two or three months in advance, approaching various
members to see whether they'd like to lead a
Q. When do you walk?
A. On most Sundays, usually starting at
Q. Where do you walk?
A. Epping Forest and the surrounding
countryside, central and greater London areas but we
sometimes go further.
Q. At what points do your walks
A. Usually at Underground or National Rail
stations, so that people without private means of
transport can reach us without difficulty. Have a
look at our walks programme.
Q. What about meeting points that
aren't at stations?
A. Those places are usually within close
range of a bus route - but when going, just occasionally,
to destinations further afield, such as Chipping Ongar,
members with cars offer lifts to those members without
Q. How long are your walks?
A. Full day walks vary in length from 5 to 8
miles. Sometimes half-day walks are included, possibly 3
-5 miles to visit an event at a certain time.
Again, have a look at our programme.
Q. Why Epping Forest and London in
A. Epping Forest. Because it is so
near at hand it is a marvellous and fascinating place to
visit, its character varying from one part to another and
from one time of the year to another - Stretching
for over 12 miles from east London into south-west Essex,
it is London's largest public open space and
impressively and sensitively maintained by the
Corporation of London. For more information, do
visit the Corporation's website www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/epping
London. Because it is so
easily accessible and offers varied and interesting
aspects of parkland, waterways, open spaces, buildings,
new developments and of course history.
Q. Do you go non-stop?
A. No, we're not trying to break any
records! Our main object is simply to enjoy
and appreciate the area we're passing through.
We pause once in the morning, for a coffee break,
followed an hour or 90 minutes later by a break for lunch
(sometimes in close proximity to a pub or cafe,or quite
often at a spot miles from anywhere - those stops are
known as "dry lunches"). There's
often a "tea stop" in the afternoon, but if the
weather's bad, or the walk is short, we sometimes
give that a miss.
Q. What about food and
A. Bring your own, please, in the form of
packed lunches including a drink. Lunch breaks near a
café or public house are 30-40 minutes maximum duration.
There is not normally time for an ordered sit down meal (
unless pre arranged). Have a look at our Rules and
Safety Guidelines page, which is essential reading.
Q. What time do your walks
A. Depending upon their length, usually
between 3.00pm and 4.00pm. In summertime, when the
days are longer (and if it's a very hot day), it may
be an hour later.
Q. Where do they end?
A. Usually, at the place where they began -
at an Underground or National Rail station.
Occasionally, however, somebody leads a linear walk
from A to B, which will be noted in the programme, with
the terminating point also within easy range of public
Q. Do I need to wear special
A. Yes. The most important of these is
walking boots throughout the year - although wellingtons
are acceptable in very wet weather - have a look at our
Rules and Safety Guidelines page. A rucksack is
strongly recommended.to carry waterproof jacket and
trousers in case of bad weather, and essential food and
drink. For town and in dry weather, lighter footwear may
be more comfortable, but even in Summer, in forest and
countryside we may encounter puddles and muddy patches,
so suitable strong footwear is advised.
Q. Are there public conveniences on
A. Sometimes, yes, although often there are
Q. Is there any payment that I need
to make when coming out on a walk?
A. There is no separate charge for each
walk. Instead members pay an annual subscription, see
Q. Would I be expected to come out
on every walk, or a certain specified number?
A. Members make their own decisions from the
Q. So how do I join your Group and
what does this entail?
A. Well, see whether you like us or not
first! You are welcome to join us for two walks .
You will then qualify for our ”Green Card” membership,
free until 1 April next . We'll then invite you
to become a fully-paid up member of the Group and to be
on the mailing list for future programmes and special
offers such as those coach outings and holiday trips.
The annual subscription is £5 per annum or
£10 per couple. There's usually a member
of the Committee out on each walk, who will be able to
explain membership to you. If not, use the
'Contact Us' button above.
Q. Are there HF Groups elsewhere in
A. Yes, there are around 40 such groups in
all. Have a look at the HF Holidays Ltd page.
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