How we manage Epping Forest
Epping Forest is one of very few large, ancient forests in this part of Britain and has lots of rare or important habitats like ancient semi-natural woodland, wood-pasture, old grassland plains, heathlands, and wetlands.
Each of these habitats is home to different trees, wildlife and even fungi, which together make up a rich mosaic of nature. This also means that each area has very different needs which we carefully manage to make sure they're here and healthy for future generations.
The Epping Forest Act 1878
The Epping Forest Act was written when the City of London Corporation first became Conservators of the Forest and underpins how we manage it.
Epping Forest Annual Review
Read Epping Forest's Annual Review for 2020-21, where we outline our purpose as a charitable organisation, our aims and objectives, and how we've progressed towards those in the last year.
Epping Forest's management strategy
Epping Forest is managed according to a carefully written plan which we call our management strategy. You can read more about how we manage the Forest in our Management Strategy document below.
Deer management and proposed strategy
The City of London Corporation is proposing a new strategy for managing the deer population of Epping Forest. You can read more about this in our Deer Management and Proposed Strategy below.
Birch Hall Pond Project
We will soon be undertaking work in Birch Hall Park, locally known as the Deer Sanctuary in Theydon Bois. Works will start in August relating to ensuring the pond is safe in the park.
Epping Forest's Verderers
Epping Forest is managed by the Epping Forest and Commons Committee. This committee consists of twelve members of the City of London Court of Common Council, who have been elected by wards in the Square Mile. Unlike other committees, Epping Forest's also has four Verderers: two for the North of the Forest, two for the South. These individuals are elected locally and aren't members of the Court of Common Council. In matters concerning the Forest, Verderers have the same "powers, authorities, rights, and privileges as the members thereof selected from the Court of Common Council, and no other or different powers, authorities, rights, or privileges". Members and Verderers give their services in an entirely voluntary capacity and receive no remuneration for their time.
Our current Verderers are:
- Nicholas Munday (South)
- William Kennedy (South)
- Michael Chapman (North)
- Paul Morris (North)
The history of Verderers
From the year 1130, Verderers administered Forest Law on behalf of the King or Queen, literally protecting the flora and fauna of the Forest. Epping Forest ceased to be a Royal Forest when the Epping Forest Act was written in 1878; but the authors of that Act decided that the role of Verderer would remain and that they would represent the interests of Commoners: local residents who used the Forest to graze their cattle.
As the character of the Forest has changed, and with the decline in commoning, the Verderers have increasingly considered their role as more widely representing both Commoners and the public living around the Forest.
What is a Commoner?
Commoners are 'owners and occupiers of land and tenements lying within the ancient boundary of Epping Forest (also known as the Perambulation of Charles I)' and within one of the ancient parishes. Case law made since then limits this a bit more to 'owners and occupiers of land comprising at least half an acre of old enclosure and not covered by buildings and capable of receiving cattle'. Groups, businesses and organisations who occupy sites also qualify but have to nominate just one representative to vote on their behalf.