A walking event based on life's story


The next UK event is in Epping Forest near London on

Sat 9th June 2018

Ancestor's Trail map

The Ancestor's Trail is made up of several trails of varying lengths (from 3 to12 miles) guided by volunteers and starting at a train or tube station. Simply pick a distance that suits you best - one trail is suitable for (and regularly used by) wheelchair users. All the trails merge in time and, conveniently enough, finish at Cheshunt YHA which is right next to the train station with easy connection to central London.

The Ancestor's Trail is open to people of all backgrounds and age groups. It aims to support wildlife conservation and celebrate our belonging in nature.

This website allows you to book your place on the walk. There's also an evening event afterwards with entertainment. The following morning we host various natural history lectures - all based at Cheshunt YHA.

What to expect:

Sharing a walk with around 100 others through forest glades and along quiet country lanes

Quality time with friends and family - accompanied children welcome - meet interesting people.

Well behaved dogs welcome.

Bring a picnic

Enjoy live music, storytelling and learn about our origins in nature

Meet wildlife experts


If last year’s London Trail featured ravens and tango, this year is more spiders and Digeridoo! We have adopted a series of Trail minstrels over the years and for 2018 we are excited to welcome Chris Holland who has become something of a celebrity both as a musician and earth educator. He will play, amongst other instruments, the Digeridoo ~ perhaps you can guess where? 

Alongside him, we will welcome back James Rosindell of One Zoom fame, who will provide evolutionary insights along the Trail as well a fearsome quiz at the YHA afterwards if you think you can handle it. 

On Sunday, we welcome Nikhil Chaudhary, a postdoc researcher in Biological Anthropology at UCL who has worked with the Mbendjele BaYaka Pygmies of Congo to shed light on issues around mental health and the evolution of human sociality. 

Also on Sunday Polly Bramham - a Wildlife trekker - will give a lecture on Sunday morning titled  ‘7 days on a carcass’ documenting the life benefitting from an ex-giraffe in South Africa. 

Currently our numbers booked are lower than in previous years, perhaps because people are waiting for the long-term forecast after last year’s rain. Well, the 10-day forecast says Epping will be 21 degrees with sunny intervals, so please book ASAP

'Congratulations on this great thing you've created'

Tim Minchin


'A biological pilgrimage in Epping. Quite interesting!'

Stephen Fry



A new version of Richard Dawkins' and Dr Yan Wong's book The Ancestor's Tale, is now available. The book,on which our trail is based, takes us on a journey back through time meeting up with our increasingly distant common ancestors.
The One Zoom allows you to explore the tree of life in a completely new way: like a map, everything is on one page, all you have to do is zoom in and out.

© 2018 Ancestor's Trail

Background photograph by Martin Morris