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Epping Forest: past and present

This year, we're celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter, which established rights for everyone to use Epping Forest. Find out more.

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 The View, 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.​​

Visitor centres
What's happening
Exhibition: Forest Charter 800 for all
20 Sep 2017
10:00 - 17:00
Epping Forest
Free, no booking required.

The Forest Charter was signed by the 9 year old Henry III in 1217. Its provisions protected the rights of ‘free men’ to enter and earn a living on Forest land for centuries afterwards. Discover why your dog should be very grateful that ‘expeditation’ of dogs is no longer required. Ponder your pig's ‘pannage’ opportunities and learn how to avoid charges for ‘chiminage’. This exhibition features newly commissioned illustrations, activity sheets and a window into what people wanted to do in forests, 800 years ago.

Find out more about Exhibition: Forest Charter 800 for all
Deer Walk: The Rut
24 Sep 2017
09:30 - 13:30
Epping Forest
£5 per person, booking required.

Join Forest Keeper, Michael Collins, on a fascinating walk, which includes a visit to the Deer Sanctuary, to experience one of the season’s most spectacular sights. Listen out for roaring bellows of the Forest’s fallow bucks as they scrape, strut and spar for the right to mate. Please note, no dogs are allowed.

Find out more about Deer Walk: The Rut
All events at this location