Epping Forest is a vast area to explore with many varying landscapes, a diverse range of wildlife and interesting heritage features from different periods of history.
An interactive map will be available soon to browse containing information about some of the more popular locations you could visit whilst in Epping Forest.
The Forest stretches for over 21km (13 miles) from Manor Park in east London into south-west Essex and is a stunning place to visit for all.
You can find out more information about different areas of the forest in the sections below.
You can go to the Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge page to find out more.
You can go to The Temple, Wanstead Park page to find out more.
Wanstead Park (888kb) was originally the site of medieval manor houses and later a Tudor mansion, owned at one time by the Earl of Leicester. Wanstead House was rebuilt in 1715 as one of the great Palladian mansions of its day. Extravagant living and bankruptcy caused the family’s downfall in 1822 and the house itself was finally demolished in 1825.
Two Listed buildings both built in the 1760's remain within the Grade II* (Grade ll* means it is an area of more than special interest, warranting every effort to preserve) historic parkland:
Wanstead Park was purchased by the City of London Corporation in 1882 and still contains many interesting historic features including extensive ornamental waterways.
One spectacular feature of Wanstead Park in the spring is the bluebells which can be found in Chalet Wood. Wanstead Park, unlike the rest of Epping Forest, is closed at dusk. There are public toilets available when the Park is open.
You can download further information below:
You can also read the notes from a recent public meeting below:
Find out more by looking at the Wanstead Park Project and the accessible areas pages.
Wanstead Flats (1.09mb) have been almost treeless since the 12th Century when the Abbots of Stratford grazed large flocks of sheep there. At the end of the 19th century groups of trees were planted to provide features and some shelter.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Forest authorities took on unemployed local men to carry out the laborious task of landscaping the ponds. One such pond was lined with concrete and became known as the Model Yacht Pond. However, by the late 1980s interest in model boats had declined and a crack in the concrete liner led to falling water levels and the pond frequently dried up in the summer months. In 1997 plans were drawn up to improve the pond and the surrounding area.
At a public consultation exercise the majority of local residents indicated that they would prefer the pond to become a haven for wildlife. Work began in the summer of 2002 and it was renamed the Jubilee Pond to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Alexandra Lake is another popular feature of the Flats. Historically the Flats played an important part in the nineteenth century battle to save the Forest from enclosure, resulting in the Epping Forest Act of 1878.
Parts of Wanstead Flats are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are important for the acid grasslands and ground nesting skylarks. There are 58 mini football pitches which can be hired for football.
This area of woodland and open grassland joins the Wanstead Flats and provides a narrow strip of Forest joining on to Leyton Flats at the Green Man roundabout. This area was once part of Wanstead Park and some of the formal tree plantings of limes and sweet chestnuts can still be found here.
This is an ancient pond, dating back to the early eighteenth century. This pond borders the land of the Snaresbrook Crown Court, and is very popular with the swans.
Leyton Flats and Hollow Pond
Leyton Flats (1.18mb) and Hollow Pond is another popular area in the south of Epping Forest and is located between the Green Man roundabout and Whipps Cross Hospital. This area can be explored in conjunction with Hollow Ponds. Why not try your hand at boating while you are in the area?
Gilbert's Slade (1.44mb) is the area of woodland east of the A104. ‘Slade’ is an old Forest name for an open glade, which is often along the valley of a stream.
This is a grassy area adjoining the A104 between Woodford and the Waterworks roundabout. Mill Plain is named after a Walthamstow windmill which was built in the vicinity in 1676.
This is an area of Forest named after the Manor of Higham Benstead. Humphrey Repton landscaped the Highams Park Lake (1.38mb) area.
Chingford Plain (1.23mb) is a very popular destination for visitors to Epping Forest. There is a newly landscaped car park at Bury Road and this Forest destination can be combined with a visit to the new Chingford Visitor Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, Butler’s Retreat café and a walk around Connaught Water or Barn Hoppitt. Chingford Plain is a very popular spot for picnicking and flying kites, with open grassy areas. A section of the Plain is also used for Model Aircraft Flying .
Connaught Water (1.24mb) is one of the most popular lakes to walk around in Epping Forest. It was designed by the Conservators as an amenity in the late 19th century. Large numbers of duck and geese winter on Connaught Water and swans, geese, great crested grebes and ducks breed on the lake. Summer migrants include nightingales. The path around Connaught Water and the car park off of Rangers Road in Chingford, have recently been landscaped as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Branching Out Project. Therefore the path around Connaught Water is now fully accessible. The Red Path runs from Connaught Water car park towards Fairmead, and this path can also be reached by car from the far end of Fairmead Road (in High Beach).
Barn Hoppitt (1.51mb) is a small wooded area of Epping Forest located opposite Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge and many of the veteran trees here outdate the Tudor hunt standing. The ancient pollards provide an excellent habitat for bats and other interesting wildlife.
With stunning views out towards the City of London skyline, Pole Hill is also of interest as it is located on the Greenwich Meridian Line, which is marked by an obelisk erected in 1824, and was once home to T.E.Lawrence ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Walks from here can be linked to Chingford Plain, Yardley Hill, Yates’ Meadow and Chingford Golf Course.
Yardley Hill / Yates’ Meadow
Yardley Hill and Yates' Meadow (1.13mb) have perhaps the best views across the City of London skyline. Walks here can be linked to Pole Hill, Chingford Plain and Chingford Golf Course.
This is an area of the Forest popular for walking and the open grassland makes it a nice spot for resting or picnicking. This area can be explored in conjunction with Warren Pond and Hatch Forest.
This area of Forest runs between Whitehall Road and Chingford Hatch and contains part of the meandering river Ching. The Hatch Path, which borders this bit of Forest, is part of the ancient Forest track that was the link for cattle and deer between Walthamstow and Chingford.
This area links closely with Knighton Wood and was originally called ‘Lodge Bushes’ named after a Royal hunting lodge which existed up until the fourteenth century.
Knighton Wood (1.4mb) was once part of the Buxton Estate and it is very apparent from the ornamental water areas, the variety of trees and a magnificent display of Rhododendrons and spring bulbs, that it was once a formal garden. In 1996 an easy-access path was constructed which winds around the lake and between the plants and specimen trees. The car park is located on Knighton Lane.
Further information can be downloaded on our Lords Bushes and Knighton Wood Leaflet (973kb)
This is the Forest around the Cricket ground in Buckhurst Hill, stretching down towards Manor Road. Some ancient pollards can be found in this area of woodland.
A relic of Victorian times when this area was enclosed and cleared for arable farming, the open glade which remains today is ideal for family outings. A firm-surfaced horse-ride leads across towards Epping New Road, on which walks can be taken through the woodland to the west of the field. A small car park is provided off of Nursery Road, Loughton.
Strawberry Hill Ponds
Like many of the ponds in Epping Forest, the main pond is a gravel pit that was dug in the 1880’s. This is a popular area to walk in the Loughton area and can be easily accessed from The Stubbles car park or from Earls Path, the road that runs down from the Robin Hood roundabout towards Loughton.
Staples Hill and Pond
Traditionally, this was the area where the loppers met on 11 November at midnight to hold the annual celebration to re-establish their right to lop the wood in Epping Forest, an activity which was key to the fight to save Epping Forest from enclosure, resulting in the Epping Forest Act of 1878.
Loughton Camp (921kb) is one of two Iron Age earthworks (both Scheduled Monuments) thought to have been constructed around 500BC. The other is at Ambresbury Banks.
Further information can be downloaded on our Ancient Earthworks Leaflet (1.6mb)
These are the mounds which can be seen on top of the slope in front of the car park in High Beach. It is now generally accepted that the mounds were constructed as rabbit warrens. This is a very popular area for picnicking and starting out further exploration into Epping Forest. The Epping Forest Visitor Centre is located very nearby, situated behind The King’s Oak public house.
Big View (1.5mb) was originally created in Victorian times and provides a great viewpoint across the Lea Valley towards Waltham Abbey.
Another area of open grassland recommended for family outings. An interesting variety of flora and butterflies can be found here. There is a car park on Fairmead Road, which can be accessed from High Beach.
Wake Valley Pond
This is one of the larger Epping Forest ponds located on the west side of the Epping New Road (A104) between the Wake Arms and Robin Hood roundabouts. The pond is very picturesque and contains some important amphibian and dragonfly populations, and is popular with anglers.
Honey Lane Plain
Located towards Upshire, this area provides an interesting picnic site on the north-west side of the Forest. It is accessible by car from the Waltham Abbey Road or Claypit Hill Road.
Theydon Bois Green
A true village green complete with pond. There are benches upon which to rest. Crossing the green is an avenue of oak trees, the older of which were planted around the time of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne. Theydon Bois (Central Line) underground station is nearby.
In 1959, as deer road casualties increased and it was considered necessary to protect the deer of Epping Forest, 39 hectares of the Birch Hall estate in Theydon were purchased by the City of London Corporation to forma Deer Sanctuary. There is no public access to the Sanctuary but the deer may be seen through the fence. Guided walks into the Sanctuary are organised by the Forest Keepers, see the Events Diary for details.
Further information can be downloaded on our Deer Leaflet (385kb)
One of two Iron Age earthworks (both Scheduled Monuments) thought to have been constructed around 500BC. The other is Loughton Camp.
Further information can be downloaded on our Ancient Earthworks Leaflet (1.6mb)
A popular area for walking in the town of Epping.
This is a triangular area of the Forest north of Epping. The Stump Road, an ancient medieval road, runs through the Lower Forest towards Thornwood. The northern end of the Lower Forest is called Thornwood Common, or Wintry Wood Common.
Further information can be downloaded on our Buffer land leaflet (pdf 385kb)
The Copped Hall estate can be dated from before AD 1150. The present ruined house was built to replace an earlier hall. Henry VIII, Mary and Elizabeth I were all associated with or owned Copped Hall at different times. The eighteenth century Palladian Hall was virtually destroyed by a fire in 1917. The Copped Hall Estate was purchased by the City of London Corporation and the ruins of the house itself and some of the outbuildings are now owned by the Copped Hall Trust and the ruined mansion is being restored. The Park is part of an historic landscape that can be traced back to the early medieval period. Much of the beautiful countryside can be enjoyed from public rights of way, permissive footpaths and permissive open walking areas south of the estate road. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
Further information can be downloaded on our Copped Hall Leaflet (430kb)
Close to Upshire, Warlies Park was once the home of the Buxton family who figured prominently in the history of the Forest during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The rolling parkland has magnificent views and interesting historic features including a rotunda known as The Temple. Most of Warlies Park has permissive access for walkers and permissive routes for horse riders.
Further information can be downloaded on our Warlies Park leaflet (434kb)
Cleared of trees by the Abbots of Waltham Abbey almost 700 years ago, this land has been farmed ever since. It was owned by the Buxton family in the nineteenth century and was sold to the Greater London Council in the 1960s. The City of London acquired the Estate in 1986. In addition to the public bridleways and footpaths, the area north of the M25 has permissive access for walkers. A permissive routes for horse riders has also been created.
Galley Hill Wood and Monkhams
Lying to the north west of the main part of Epping Forest the woodlands consist of ancient coppiced hornbeams, providing shelter for muntjac and fallow deer. There is no public access to Galley Hill Wood for wildlife conservation reasons. The large field at Monkhams occupies the high ground which was formerly part of Waltham Park, established as a deer park in 1540 by Henry VIII. There is now permissive open access to this land for walkers and horse riders.
Purchased by the City of London in 1994, this triangular portion of grassland is fringed with tall hedges of ash, elderberry, hawthorn and maple. Many bird species nest and feed here. An area of woodland known as the Millennium Wood has been created by planting English oak acorns. Public footpaths cross the land and there is permissive open access for walkers.
Purchased by the City of London in 2005 in conjunction with Epping Town Council and Friends of Swaines Green, this 5.675 hectares provides an important recreational and educational resource. The natural woodland, interspersed with meadow and glades, lies to the west of Epping. A stream runs through the site and two further watercourses run along the northern and eastern boundaries as does a public footpath. Permissive open access is allowed for walkers.
Great Gregories Farm
Lying to the north of Theydon Bois, the fields of Great Gregories cover some 41 hectares. Farms like this were established many centuries ago on the more fertile lands on either side of the Forest ridge. A plantation of native trees is now well on the way to developing a woodland to help screen the M25. A public footpath crosses the Farm and the Conservators have granted additional permissive open access for walkers on over 13 hectares of this farmland. The line of the Purlieu Bank along the western side of the Farm marks the ancient boundary of the former Royal Hunting Forest of Waltham.
Birch Hall Fields
The three fields (six hectares) adjoining the Deer Sanctuary at Theydon Bois have fantastic views of the forest and distant skyline. A public footpath crosses the fields and there is permissive open access for walkers. In the autumn looking south west towards the Forest, a spectacular mosaic of colours may be seen. There is no public access to the Deer Sanctuary, but the Fallow Deer may be seen from the perimeter fence.
This 23 hectare site lies in the south of the parish of Loughton. Farmed for many centuries, this is a surviving fragment of the characteristic landscape bordering the Forest. To augment the existing public footpaths there is permissive open access for walkers.
St. Thomas's Quarter
St. Thomas's Quarter (1.44mb) is linked to nearby Upshire, where the local Parish Church is dedicated to St. Thomas, by an ancient green lane known locally as 'Bluebell Lane'.