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Outlaws of the Forest

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to enact their vision. Writer Will Ashon walks Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough through the artistic hotspots of Epping Forest.

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to enact their vision. Just fourteen stops from Soho on the Central Line, Epping Forest provides a particularly convenient place to lose yourself and hide from worldly distractions.

Sculptor, Jacob Epstein used Epping as artistic inspiration and venue for innumerable affairs. But was he lost in the forest or hiding there? John Clare was incarcerated there in an asylum, a place where he lost his status as the peasant poet but found a new identity. First he believed himself to be Lord Byron, latterly he was William Shakespeare. Skip forward a hundred years and the forest continued to intrigue, sheltering the Punk collective, Crass from Big Bang London and providing a surreal playground for theatrical provocateur and forest pixie, Ken Campbell.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined on a walk through the artistic hotspots of Epping Forest by Will Ashon, author of 'Strange Labyrinth', a cultural guidebook to the lungs of North-East London.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

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14 minutes

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