The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Loughton Camp

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


A companion site to the more defined enclosure of Ambresbury Banks, a little way to the approx north-east, Loughton Camp possesses the forest vibe of the former.... with bells on.... thanks to its location, well off the beaten track, in the middle of Epping Forest. As such, it is arguably not the easiest site to find, although it must be said that I am notoriously bad navigating through woodland. Perhaps the most straight forward way is to therefore take the main track from the car park until it bisects another. Follow this to the right for a little way, then veer to the right into the trees... (hopefully) you find the ramparts emerging from the forest in a short while. Ta dah!

As mentioned, the atmosphere here is intense, brooding... almost as if the forest is simply aching to tell you something of great magnitude... but not quite yet. I'd say you would hear a pin drop, but.... even cliches have to possess a basis of truth... As with Ambresbury, today the trees surmounting the rampart create shadow representations of themselves to paradoxically highlight irregularities in bank and ditch with shade, so forming a whole new abstract world to challenge the senses. Or something like that. Yeah, there is a real feeling of 'other-worldliness' here. It is pretty much accepted that the not-so-dandy-highwayman - and erstwhile all round 'nutter' - Dick Turpin used to hide out in Epping Forest, Loughton being one location cited as his camp. It would certainly fit, since this enclosure just feels right, you know? A place where legends just might be born.

Metaphysical doodlings apart, Loughton is also a pretty decent defensive enclosure, although I did find the rampart a bit difficult to track in places when walking anti-clockwise. Better off meandering clockwise, then. Like Ambresbury it is said Loughton probably also functioned as a defended animal fold in times of trouble. Always a good idea to protect your most important assets from the neighbours... Nowadays, however, all is quiet. Assuming you can put up with the occasional falling pin on leaf, that is.
18th April 2011ce
Edited 19th April 2011ce

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