Approximately 6.5 miles / 10.5 Km (about two and a quarter hours).

Click on image to go to an interactive version of this map

Starting at Manor Park, this linear walk follows the path of the River Roding to Ray Park in Woodford. Although much of the walk runs alongside major roads, the river is surprisingly rural for lengthy stretches, and the river bank provides a different perspective on places familiar from the road.

You can follow the walk directly from your phone. Directions are in black, historical notes are in dark red. There are also links that lead to further information about points of interest.

If you don't want to follow the walk on your phone, you can download a printable PDF version of this walk guide



WAY POINT 1 - Manor Park Station

Leave Manor Park Station and immediately turn right to use the crossing over Station Road. Turn left, cross Forest View Road, and proceed to a large information board just inside Manor Park Flats, the most southerly point of Epping Forest. Turn right to use a path just inside the Flats paralleling Forest View Road. 

Manor Park Flats was the site of East Ham Borough Council’s  cold war bunker to be used in the event of nuclear war, and was also used for a large temporary mortuary during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Link to more information about the bunker

Link to a photo of the bunker

Link to video showing the building of the mortuary

At the end of the path, cross Aldersbrook Road towards the side-entrance gates of the City of London Cemetery (usually locked) and then turn right.  

Historical Note
William J. Haywood, the Chief Engineer of the City of London Commission of Sewers in 1849, reported on the poor condition of the city's churchyards and the health risks this posed. The commissioners decided that a new cemetery should be built for the city's 106 parishes, which would replace burial within the city.

In 1853 , about 200 acres of former farm land, part of the Manor of Aldersbrook and belonging to the 2nd Duke of Wellington, was sold to the Corporation of the City of London for £30,721. The new cemetery was then built under the direction of Haywood. The first burial there was in 1856.

By buying this land the City of London acquired commoners rights to graze cattle in the forest which became the basis of their eventual assumption of control of the whole forest under the Epping Forest Act of 1878. Cattle continued to be grazed on the Flats until the BSE crisis in the 1990s.An experiment to use cattle to manage the grasslands of Wanstead Park is currently underway

If you are interested in the history of the cemetery we have a walk specifically about it. See Walk 4. 

Link to more information about the Cemetery

In a few yards there is a footpath to your left, between the cemetery and a storage depot. The path is waymarked for the Roding Valley Walk. Follow this as it turns sharply left to parallel the railway, which carries the main line from Norwich to Liverpool St and will eventually carry the Shenfield branch of the Elizabeth line.

Historical Note
This is one of London’s earliest railways, opening from a temporary terminus at Mile End to Romford in 1839, and later from Bishopsgate.

Link to more information about this railway line

Continue between the railway and the cemetery for some time. Eventually you emerge from between the two fences with the bank of the “Aldersbrook”, a tributary of the Roding in front of you, and a viaduct taking the railway over the river to your right. Follow the cemetery fence as it turns left with the river and then a group of allotments on your right.



Shortly after leaving the allotments there is a signpost for the Roding River Walk which takes you to the right, away from the cemetery and towards the Roding itself. 

Historical Note
The River Roding rises at Molehill Green near Dunmow in Essex. It passes through or near  nine villages in Essex known as the Rodings, which are mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The Roding then flows south to east London, forming Barking Creek as it merges into the River Thames. 

From the middle ages Barking  was a major fishing port, home to over 200 fishing vessels in the mid Victorian period, prior to a rapid decline as the railways made northerly rivals more able to serve the London market. 

The villages around the upper part of the Roding are thought to be the remnants of an Anglo Saxon community (the Hroðingas, whose leader was Hroða) and who sailed up from the Thames to settle. It's from the Hroðingas that the River Roding gets its name.

Link to more information about the River Roding

Follow this path with the river on your right and the tall buildings of Ilford occasionally visible across the golf course on the far bank. 

As this path enters Wanstead Park it swings slightly left away from the river and then makes a junction with a way marked cycle path signposted to Redbridge Underground Station, and Valentines Park. Turn right onto this.

Cross the bridge over the river and follow the signs to Redbridge which take you left to the river and then right along the river bank. Follow this path along the Roding, with views across Wanstead Park to your left.  Eventually the path turns sharp right to temporarily leave the river in order to negotiate the M11/A406 junction.

Proceed on the path between allotments to your right and an overgrown sports field to your left. At the end of the allotments turn left with the sports field still on your left and the A406 now on your right. Continue to the end of the playing fields, and as you emerge onto paved roads, follow the pavement first right towards the flyover, and then immediately left into Royston Parade.

Historical Note
The name Redbridge derives from a bridge (originally known as Hocklee's Bridge) which was made out of red brick, built over the River Roding. Other bridges locally were made of white stone, so the name Red Bridge stuck. This bridge was demolished in 1921. 

This bridge replaced the red brick bridge in 1922.
The current bridge is a modern replacement.

The name 'Redbridge' was later applied to the wider London borough combining Ilford Wanstead and Woodford which was created as part of the expansion of London which replaced the London County Council with the GLC in 1965. 

Link to more information about the history of Redbridge

From Royston Parade gothrough the subway  on your right beneath the Redbridge roundabout. Now turn left, following the sign to the River Roding. The path goes under another subway, and emerges onto the Eastern Avenue (A12). Follow this until it crosses the Roding, at which point there is a path on your right to rejoin the river.


Following this path with the river on your right, pass under a concrete bridge with four sections, then past a metal footbridge. Cross over the river at the third bridge, signposted to Roding Lane South. Once over the bridge, turn left along the path on the other side of the river. Continue with the river now on your left until the path leaves the river to cross the A1400.

As the path rises to join the roadway turn right to the pedestrian crossing at the junction of the A1400 and “Charlie Brown's” roundabout. Cross here and proceed straight ahead signposted to Roding Valley Path. 

*ALTERNATIVE ROUTE NOTE If the path on the right hand side of the river is too muddy (as it sometimes is after rain),  you can continue on the original path on the left side of the river, which also ends at Charlie Brown's roundabout.  On emerging on the roundabout, turn right and follow the pavement around to the pedestrian crossing mentioned above. 

Historical Note
Charlie Brown’s Roundabout is so named because it was the name of a pub that was on the roundabout.  It was named after it’s landlord, Charles Brown Jnr.  The pub was previously called ‘The Roundabout’. When the roundabout was enlarged in 1972, the pub was demolished. 

The Roundabout pub,
subsequently renamed Charlie Brown’s.

The landlord's father was also called Charles Brown (1859–1932) , and had been well known as the “Uncrowned King of Limehouse”. He was the landlord of the Railway Tavern in Limehouse, which was famous for being full of curios collected by the landlord.  This pub was also known locally as “Charlie Browns”. 

Link to more information about the original Charlie Brown

Continue  with the river on your left and the M11 on your right until the river flows under the entranceway to the Chigwell Road Recycling Centre. 


Leave the river (briefly) at this point to go right towards the main gate of the tip on a raised embankment. Come down from the embankment and take a narrow alley to the left of the tip entrance, with metal fences on both sides. At the end of this turn right between bollards and immediately left to regain the river.

Continue past one bridge, with the river on your left and the M11 on your right until the river is crossed by Chigwell Rd (A113). Walk up to the roadway and use the pedestrian crossing to rejoin the river as it forms the eastern boundary of Ray Lodge Park. Follow the river and cross over a pedestrian bridge on the left to enter the park. The park opening times are 8 a.m. until 30 minutes before dusk, every day.


Link to information about Ray Park


Continue on the path and then turn left at a large old wall.  The wall surrounds an octangular, late-18th-century, walled garden, the last remnant of Ray Lodge (see below for more details). Follow the path around by the wall, then turn left towards the James Leal centre, which has a cafe.

Historical Note
Ray House was the principal estate at Woodford Bridge, dating back to before the 15th century when it was owned by a family called atte Ree. The name Ray is thought to come from a derivation of that family name.

The original Ray House park is now divided by the M11 to form two separate parks, Ray Park to the west and Ashton Playing Fields to the east.

In the 16th-century a new Ray House was built.  This was burned down in the early-19th century, ironically just as the Bryant and May company were negotiating it's purchase.

A smaller house, Ray Lodge, was built around 1793 by Sir James Wright, a British minister, who owned Ray House at the time. Ray Lodge was built for his son, George.

In 1958 Ray Park was sold to the borough council, and became a public park.

To the north of the James Leal Centre,
north of the house, is an octangular
late-18th-century walled garden,
the last remnant of the Ray Lodge.

Link to more information about the history of Ray Park

Walking past the tennis courts and the James Leal Centre café, you will pass the Ray Lodge Primary School on your right. 

Exit the park onto Snakes Lane East.

Historical Note
The name Snakes Lane derived from a family called Sakes who owned a building here in around 1235. The lane became Sakes Lane, which was later corrupted into Snakes Lane


Turn right towards Woodford Station, which is at the end of Snakes Lane East and is accessed via a pedestrian underpass. “The Railway” pub is conveniently sited about halfway between the park and the station.




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Russell & Paul