This week I met with a lady called Cheryl at Pole Hill who used to play there as a child in the 1960s. Pole Hill is in Chingford and sits on the border between Greater London and Essex in line with the Greenwich Meridian. She had so many interesting stories to tell including tales about riding their bikes around the tracks, picnicing and even a rumour that her Aunt used to deliver milk to Lawrence of Arabia who once lived there. We searched for a special tree she called the ‘Aeroplane Tree’ that grew on the slant so you could easily climb it and spread out your arms as if you were flying. She last saw it about 10 years ago but sadly there is just a stump where it was located. She also told me about her Great Grandfather who was on the committee to get the Forest Act through in 1878. Cheryl also cares deeply about what happens to the forest which obviously runs in her family. I am saving the full story to go in my Epping Forest Storybook which I will be starting soon.
The whole place is full of hills and dips which Cheryl and her friends named ‘The Dips’. I can just imagine them whizzing around and up and down them on their bikes, it still looks like it could be great fun.
I met some dog walkers who come to the same place everyday to let their dogs play with, jump and bite a wooden swing which hangs from an old hornbeam tree. The dogs came rushing over the hill in excitement but were a bit wary to see me with my tripod and camera in their usual play spot. As you can see I soon got out of the way quite quickly so they could get on with their fun.
At the top of Pole Hill is a nice location for quiet contemplation with stunning views overlooking the City from the forest. In the distance you can see the Post Office Tower.
Whilst there I saw a boy catching Pokemon on his phone whilst his mum waited anxiously at the bottom of the hill, great to see kids out and about in whatever capacity. Lastly this was one of my favourite veteran oak trees on Pole Hill, it looks like it could almost get up and walk away.