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Ghost of the Epping Forest Highwayman

Listed under Paranormal in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Ghost of the Epping Forest Highwayman
  • Photo of Ghost of the Epping Forest Highwayman
  • Photo of Ghost of the Epping Forest Highwayman
Photo of Ghost of the Epping Forest Highwayman
Photo by flickr user mell242
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Around this time last year, I went camping with a group of friends in Epping Forest. We were a bit of a mixed bunch, and some of us came to make a Blair Witch Project style video (embarrassingly) and the others to watch wildlife. Epping Forest is perfect for the latter in Autumn, though the results for the video were somewhat debatable on our trip, and the cold overrides any other points of interest anyway! We stayed at a designated camp site called The Elms instead of sleeping rough properly, mainly because we weren't sure if we were allowed to (although if I'm honest, it was also because the idea seemed a little scary!) but we managed to stay out from dusk until 1am and the whole party was distracted for the first half of the evening by two water rats playing about on a bank by one of the streams in the forest. The forest is reputedly the home of Dick Turpin's ghost, which might have explained some of what happened later, although Leytonstone is where the sightings of it are supposed to be concentrated, which is quite some distance from where we were. Anyhow, the video-makers eventually separated off from the wildlife watchers (me and two others), and after a couple of hours of aimless wandering around and chatting (with not an owl to be seen anywhere), we heard a scream in the distance. Of course we were terrified, but ran in the direction of the sound in case the source of it was one of the video group. It turned out that it was, and a huge argument ensued when we discovered that it had been staged as part of a fake ghost sighting, designed to add some excitement to the film. Eventually the rage turned to laughter when the video party told us how terrified we had looked when we finally reached them, and as we stood about laughing, we heard another shout coming from a short distance away. We checked that all of us were present and were just about to go and investigate as a group, when we heard a loud crunching sound on the leaves, which sounded like a horse walking through the trees because the footsteps were too irregular to be human. It was dark, but not so dark that we couldn't see each other a couple of metres away, and every second we expected to see a riderless horse wandering aimlessly - naturally we thought the scream would have come from the rider falling off. We stopped to listen and the sound seemed to come really close before stopping, and then we never heard it again. We looked around and called 'hello' but found nothing. Was it a ghostly highwayman? It certainly seems that way!

Written by  clover.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

My uncle actually had an experience in this forest a few years back, im not sure where abouts it happened but I can assure you he avoided it at all costs after.

So, him and 3 friends were driving through the forest, with my uncle as the passanger, the roads quiet and dark and not a car in sight as it was quite late at night.. My uncle exclaimed to his friends about the lady in white he saw standing on the other side of the road in the distance, they all laughed and brushed it off as he is known to be abit of a joker, at this point he was getting frustrated because none of them believed him, he asked for them to pull over because he felt unsafe and he started crying, as they was comforting him pulled over on the side of the road, two cars drove past from each direction and had a head on collision. My family and I believe it was his guardian angel warning them the forest at that time wasn't safe to be driving in.

Safe to say they was all very shaken after what happened, now my family are very spiritual and we all believe what he says as the events after are very unnerving.

I live in Loughton, When we was in school we used to camp out all the time have BBQ's and fires and have never come across anything remotely scary. Sure you here a few things at night but that's the wildlife. We made sure the fire was under control and extinguishable if needed. Never had any bother with forest warden and when stopped one night by the local police, tents and beer in hand they asked us what we was doing we told them and they sent us on our way. Totally fine with it.

Kate Cellar Epping Forest Witch,BOOK ISBN 978-0956588302

2 Replies

Thanks for recommending a book - is the Highwayman in it too?

no but the book tells of kate's cellar the epping forest witch of 1313 in the book kate's cellar isbn 9780956588302 you can buy it on line waterstones 7,99, or google it.

I camped right in the middle of epping forest a couple of years back. Me and my mates were sitting talking and one of us said "could you turn the I-pod of Please" we all looked at each other and fell silent. There was no ipod playing but we could hear very faint singing. It sounded like a little girl chanting or something.It absolutly s**t us up. There was no way in hell that it was someone playing a trick on us because we were way to far in to be found and there was no fire.

With a little research we found that a girl was killed a few weeks before we had decided to camp. I think her name was Natalie or natacha, i cant remember.

I can honestly say that there are some strange things in that forest, i have heard lots of weird things from fellow campers and mountain bikers.

The forest itself is only 2 miles deep at the most, but as long as you dont make a fire you wont get caught. There are many forest wardens and they will drag you out by your hair if they find you with a fire!

Iv been in that forest a thousand times and only had the one scare, the Dick Turpin storys are complete S**t. But beleive me we could hear singing from a small girl in the middle of the fucking forest a 4am. Why would I lie?

Dont leave litter and if you do make a fire dont do it on the roots of an old oak, you might kill it.

1 Reply

Good point re: fires! Thanks. I love this part of the world. It can be spooky and atmospheric at night though.

benjamin, contact me at

I've camped many times in the forest, once for several weeks. It's a large place with few people, and even leaving my tent up each night worked well.

I didn't use a fire, but had a small stove which is probably the thing to do.

I never felt the need to go too far into the forest for a single night. Arrivng at Loughton tube station, I marched up the Forest Road, and beyond Staples Road (see google maps) there is plenty of secluded woods for a tent.

If you want to stay longer, carry on up the Earl's Path, turning right onto Nursery Road and find the King's Oak pub.

There are loos in a separate building open 24 hours which is handy for the morning after. Again, there is plenty of good ground to be had.

I believe there is a forest warden but I've never encountered him and you can be sure that rogue camping is well down on the list of greater London priorities these days.

A tip if you're staying awhile in the area: Loughton library offers free internet access, even for an overseas visitor like myself.

are you allowed to camp in epping forest without camping on a site

camping in epping forest

1 Reply

You definitely can't have a bbq! You're also not allowed to pick ANY mushrooms - and I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to just set up camp where ever you like...

I have done a lot of wild camping in Epping Forest over several years but I have never encountered anything unusual.

I have been told that the locals won't go into the forest after dark due to reports of ghostly encounters.

1 Reply

hello freddie,

I would like to go wild camping in Epping forest and would like to know about your experience. have you had fires? how deep into the forest did you need to go? did you ever encounter any issues with authority?

any advice would be greatly appreciated

Not a fox then?

Not exactly conclusive evidence, is it? A scream was heard in the woods. If you've ever heard a vixen in heat then you won't forget it. If you have, then it sounds like a woman being killed. I imagine that's what a woman being killed sounds like, anyway. It is not pleasant. And the footsteps.... there are more than a few deer, badgers and hedegogs (very noisy little things) as well as foxes in Epping.

Paranormal things need investigating, but "I heard a noise in the woods at night so it must have been Dick Turpin's ghost"? Come on!!!

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