A walking event based on life's story


Saturday, July 27th 2019

Ancestor's Trail map

The Ancestor’s Trail is an annual event, based on Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’

This year’s Ancestor’s Trail will take place on Saturday 27 July in Epping Forest and the Lee Valley Country Park.  The five trails that make up the main Trail – human, gazelle, amphibian, plant and bacteria - will follow the paths of previous years, with the exception of the bacteria trail which has a new route. 

The trails are of varying length (from 3 to 12 miles), ranging from longer, more challenging hikes to shorter, easier wheelchair-friendly flat-terrain walks.  Walkers will be met at specified times at each starting location and guided by marshals back to the origins of life.  

Most trails begin from train or tube stations and all end near Cheshunt railway station with easy connection to central London.  

See the Trails page for details of all the trails.  Choose one that suits you best. The bacteria trail is suitable for (and regularly used by) wheelchair users.  

The Trail finishes at Cheshunt at around 5 p.m. where tea and cake will be available in a private room at the Maltsters pub.  Drinks will be available throughout the evening.  The pub does not provide food, but they are happy for us to bring our own or order from nearby takeaways.

No overnight accommodation has been pre-booked this year but you are, of course, welcome to make your own arrangements or take advantage of the frequent rail service from the nearby Cheshunt Station.

There will be a flat fee of just £3 per person (no charge for children).

Please RSVP using the booking page indicating which trail you will be walking so that the marshals can look out for you.

We look forward to seeing you there!


'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