The route was published in 1978 to mark the centenary of the Epping Forest Act of 1878, which preserved this remnant of the Great Forest of Waltham from development. From Manor Park on the urban fringe, the route heads north through a narrow strip of forest to Leytonstone, Highams Park, and the outskirts of Chingford. From here the route becomes more undulating and tree-covered as it passes Connaught Water and High Beach Conservation Centre to reach Epping.
The Centenary Walk can be combined with the Essex Way at Epping to make a 96-mile traverse of Essex into Greater London. From Epping the Centenary Walk provides a link to the Forest Way and then heads into suburban east London, mostly on green corridors.
The original Centenary Walk route was developed by Fred Matthews and Harry Bitten and published in 1978, with an updated edition in 1992. Matthews and Bitten, then members of West Essex Ramblers, between them created much of the LDP network in Essex.
Overlaps with part of the Epping Forest Challenge Walk