In the timeless wilds of Epping Forest lie the remains of two partially-preserved prehistoric earthworks:
Ambresbury Banks, a little over a mile north-west of Theydon Bois;
and Loughton Camp, a mile north-north-west of Loughton – at the end of a muddy slalom!
Both are banked and ditched enclosures with areas of around 4 hectares. When they were built, the banks would have been 3m high and the ditches 3m deep. They are believed to have been built by Ancient Britons during the Iron Age, circa 500BC. They are further believed to have built to mark the boundary between the tribal areas of the Catuvellauni to the west and Trinovantes to the east, or as lookout posts, or defensive positions, or livestock pens, or some combination of any or all of the aforementioned.
They remained in use at least until the Roman period. According to local legend, Ambresbury Banks was where the Iceni Queen Boudicca made her final stand against the Romans in 61AD.
The notorious highwayman Dick Turpin is rumoured to have had a hideout in Loughton Camp in the eighteenth century.