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Epping Forest: past and present

Epping Forest has been owned and managed by the City of London Corporation since 1878 when the Epping Forest Act protected it in perpetuity for the recreation and enjoyment of visitors.

However, the Forest has a rich and diverse history stretching back long before 1878, which has left its mark on the environment, from the Iron Age earthworks to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge to the 50,000 pollarded trees.

We have collected many objects that help to illustrate this history and our museum collection ranges from flints to rusted iron kettles to the stuffed fish that were on display in the Hunting Lodge in the Victorian era.

Images and documents relating to the history of the Forest are held at the London Metropolitan Archive, which is open to the public.

Find out more about the story of Epping Forest through the ages at Epping Forest Visitor Centre at Chingford, where we have exhibitions on the Forest’s past as well as objects from our museum collection on display.

Come along to one of our heritage events held throughout the year to help bring the Forest’s fascinating history to life.​​

The Epping Forest Act 1978 (350KB)

Visitor centres