6000-acre wood and the largest public open space in Greater London.
A vast area of natural beauty, Epping Forest spreads out from the northeast of the city limits towards the M25 circular. Encompassing 6000 acres, the forest provides a cocktail of ponds, parkland and meadows but is mainly home to a magnificent array of ancient trees. The two thirds of the area that are heavily wooded make this one of London’s most magical nature spots.
Representing the largest public open space in Greater London the forest is perfect for some really wild exploring, on two-legs, four-legs (horse riding is very popular) or on wheels (bring your bike or hire one there). Bridleways, mountain bike trails and intriguing paths thread their way through the trees and undergrowth, criss-crossing in a mysterious and mind-boggling way.
Originally one of the royal hunting forests (evidence suggests it achieved this status in the 12th century during the reign of Henry I) its history actually dates back to 8000BC. Having miraculously survived ever encroaching developments, the public have enjoyed rights over the area for centuries, using it as a source of fuel and food as well as grazing their livestock there.
These days a wholly different set of activities are pursued. The informative visitor centre coordinates a huge range of activities ranging from organised walks taking in themes such as bats and archaeology to model airplane flying and orienteering. You can even get stuck in helping the wardens to plant trees. If you just want to walk and explore look out for Wanstead Park, Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, the Temple, and vestiges of two Iron Age settlements en route.
Bridleways and biking, ponds, parkland and forest walks.
Did you know?
Epping Forest was highwayman Dick Turpin’s stomping ground.
Epping Forest images
Further articles featuring Epping Forest on LondonTown.com
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