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Date updated: 6/18/2020

Epping Forest is an 'internationally important' place because of its unique mix of habitats and species. It's one of very few large, ancient forests in this part of Britain, and it has lots of rare or important habitats like ancient semi-natural woodland, wood-pasture, old grassland plains, heathlands, and wetlands.

Because of all these habitats, the Forest also has lots of rare species and other special things like:

  • nearly 55,000 veteran pollarded trees, much more than anywhere else in the UK
    • veteran trees are old trees with crags, deadwood and other things that make them great places for bugs, bats, birds and fungi to live
    • pollarding is a way of cutting trees at the trunk to make them grow lots of smaller branches traditionally harvested for firewood
  • 85% of the UK's veteran beech pollards are found here in Epping Forest
  • rare knothole yoke-moss which only grows in three places in the UK
  • ten species of bat
  • nine species of native reptiles and amphibians
  • two types of internationally-protected heathland habitat
  • over 1,500 fungi species - one of the most diverse populations in the UK
  • some of the rarest beech deadwood-dependent fungi in Europe
  • 28 species of butterflies such as purple emperor and white admiral
  • hundreds of species that only live on ancient trees, like:
    • rare beetles
    • flies
    • lichens
    • spiders