Epping Forest is the largest open space in the London area at just over 6,000 acres, stretching
from Manor Park in East London to just north of Epping in Essex. Itís a magnificent resource for
people and wildlife, allowing visitors to explore the open grasslands, majestic beech woodlands
look deep into its ponds and hear nightingales, just a few miles from central London.
Entrusted to the City of London as Conservators by the Epping Forest Act of 1878, to maintain its
natural aspect, the Forest was dedicated by Queen Victoria Ďfor the enjoyment of my people for everí.
Much of the Forest is of national and international conservation importance with two thirds of it
being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. These
designations are due to its large numbers of ancient trees which support a wealth of wildlife,
including wood-boring beetles and fungi, its ancient grasslands and heaths, as well as its many
freshwater ponds. Oak, Beech, Birch and Hornbeam are the dominant trees.
Of the over 100 ponds in the Forest, few are natural, originating rather as cattle ponds, horse
ponds, gravel extraction, through land drainage, bombs, V2 Rockets and
You will also find Iron-Age earthworks, the Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge (1543),
the Greenwich Meridian; teeming animal, insect and bird-life;
ancient woodland, grassland, heaths, bogs and marshes -
and hills with views to central London! It's a very special place.
There is good public access, with tube, train and bus routes and stations around it.
There are many car parks, tea huts and cafes and ample pubs.
Three visitor centres provide information for the public.
At High Beach, Epping Forest Visitor Centre -
now managed by the Friends of Epping Forest.
At Chingford, the View, the new Visitor Centre.
In Wanstead Park, the Temple.
Click here to view a central, close-up forest map,
courtesy of streetmap.co.uk, and there,
explore further perspectives of this wonderful space.
Even Dick Turpin hung around here for a while!