Mostly because its soil is unsuitable for farming, for a millennium it remained a semi-virgin woodland, so it’s the best place to get a feel for what Britain felt like before humans denuded its land. It’s the largest open space in London, 6,000 acres, 12 miles long by 2 1/2 miles wide, and containing a universe of diversion—650 plant species, 80 ponds where waterfowl splash, and even some 1,500 species of fungi. Getting lost in the wood is feasible, but not likely, since it stretches in a single direction. Henry VII built a timber-framed hunting lodge in 1542 that was inherited by his daughter Elizabeth and, astoundingly, still stands: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge (reach that via the Chingford rail station).