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The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy

The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy logo

Epping Forest is proud to be represented in The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) for its Wood Pasture Restoration Project.

The QCC was launched in Malta in 2015 and is a unique network of forest conservation initiatives which involves all 52 countries of the Commonwealth.

The QCC presents a rare opportunity to unite the whole Commonwealth family and save one of the world’s most important natural habitats – forests. By creating a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects, the QCC will mark Her Majesty The Queen’s service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations.

Visit The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy website  to find out more.

The Wood Pasture Restoration Project

Epping Forest has been grazed by commoners’ cattle and other animals for over 1000 years. Together with traditional tree management practises, such as pollarding, this has helped shape a distinctive Forest landscape.

In particular, it has contributed to Epping Forest’s unique biodiversity resulting in the majority of it being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Through the 20th century grazing by livestock has declined steadily until the 1996 Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis which finally broke this thousand year tradition.

The demise of grazing adversely impacted the landscape and biodiversity of the Forest. Following a pilot grazing initiative and a review of the transport infrastructure through the Forest, the Wood-pasture Restoration Project was initiated to reinstate grazing across 600 ha of land. Funding was received from Natural England, Defra agri-environment grants, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Essex County Council and Tubney Charitable Trust.

Visit our About us, Heritage and Wildlife pages to learn more about the Forest.

Key facts and figures

  • 2400 hectares
  • 12 miles long
  • 4.2 million annual visitors
  • 1728 hectares in Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • 1605 hectares in Special Areas of Conservation
  • 2 registered historic parks and gardens
  • 7 listed buildings 
  • 3 scheduled ancient monuments
  • Internationally significant collection of ancient Beech pollards
  • 50000 ancient trees (over 300 years)
  • Many trees over 1000 years old
09 March 2017
Last Modified:
29 September 2017