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    Man in a wheelchair enjoying Epping Forest

    Enjoying a visit to the forest

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    An easy access path in Epping Forest

    ​An accessible path in Epping Forest

Epping Forest is committed to providing access for all. We have several sites in the forest that are attractive and accessible to all, from the elderly to people with disabilities to families with young children.

Explore the whole of Epping Forest with our Access for All Map (270KB) which shows details of the best places to visit, including our four purpose-built easy access paths at High Beach, Connaught Water, Knighton Wood and Jubilee Pond.

Access statements are available below for our visitor centres: The View, Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, The Temple and Epping Forest Visitor Centre.

More information on our accessible paths and other places to go in Epping Forest is available in the sections below.

Contact us 

If you have any further questions or if you have any suggestions for what we can do to improve your visit, please call us on 020 8532 1010 or email epping.forest@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

The Forest

​Access statement

Terrain

Epping Forest is a natural open space with mixed woodland, grassland, lakes and some parkland. The ground level of the Forest varies greatly across its 13 mile length and inclines are frequent.

We operate a number of amenity areas around the Forest, and many of our grassland and lightly wooded areas are relatively flat, open ground. Most of these are well-served by our car parks and visitor centres and we would recommend these areas above others to visitors with access needs. The most suitable of these are listed under 'accessible areas' on this page.

Paths

We maintain a series of four Easy Access trails around the Forest. We recommend these to any users with access needs, and these are detailed under their own section of this page.

If you wish to walk freely around the Forest, please be aware that most of our paths are not signposting and have unpaved earth or grass which can become waterlogged; however, during dry periods some paths close to amenity areas may still be suitable for rugged wheelchairs or for short walks. Be aware that the ground may still be too soft in places for those using walking frames, canes or crutches.

Travel

We highly recommend travelling to one of our visitor centres as a start to your visit. Our centres are accessible buildings with disabled parking, accessible toilets and staff who are happy to offer tailored advice on your needs and how best to explore the Forest.

Car

Ideally, we recommend travelling by car or taxi as much more of the Forest is reachable this way. We operate 30+ free car parks which immediately adjoin the Forest and serve the vast majority of the Forest as a whole. The accessibility of these car parks is listed separately under 'car parks' on this page.

Public transport

To reach the Forest by public transport, we recommend arriving to Chingford Station on the London Overground Line. This station is step-free and roughly 120ft from Chingford Plain and 0.4 miles from The View and Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge. It is also very well-served by bus. The area around Chingford is rich in amenities and is close to Chingford Plain, Barn Hoppitt, Bury Wood and Connaught Water which collectively offer opportunities to explore grassland, woodland and a beautiful lake.

To plan a journey to the Forest by public transport, we recommend using our visitor information pages and the TfL Journey Planner with accessibility settings suitable to your needs.

Amenities

Toilets

Public toilets are not widely available in the Forest. We offer accessible toilets at our visitor centres which are detailed individually on this page. If you are likely to need a bathroom regularly throughout your visit, we would recommend staying in proximity to these centres and exploring the immediate area.

Refreshments

A number of cafés and public houses operate in proximity to the Forest, especially near Chingford, Loughton and Wanstead. Please see where to eat in Epping Forest for more information.

The View

The View is based on two floors with lift access to galleries on the first floor with its external, covered wooden balcony offering a wonderful view of the Forest.

Access statement

Please see the following for a room-by-room breakdown of the building, with access requirements for each.

Foyer and shop

  • step-free, level access throughout the room
  • well-lit with overhead lighting and spotlights
  • automatic glass doors
  • a welcome desk at an accessible height
  • nearly all shop stock is displayed at an accessible height
  • there is ample room to turn a wheelchair
  • a hearing loop is available throughout the building
  • a magnifying glass, pen and paper are available on request

The exhibition displays

  • our displays are designed to appeal to all visitors
  • displays range from 20cm to 2m above floor level and are suitable for all ages and heights
  • most displays are on our first floor, accessible via a lift with space for one large wheelchair
  • our display cabinets are tactile and can be explored for cut-outs of animals and objects
  • many artefacts can be handled
  • manual and audio interactives are provided
  • written material has been drafted in high contrast, large format Plain English
  • guided tours are available on request

Public toilets

  • our toilets are at ground level, and accessible across level ground, with non-slip flooring inside
  • there is a unisex accessible toilet straight ahead when entering
  • the toilets are all well-lit with overhead tube lighting
  • vertical and horizontal rails are available
  • our sinks have lever taps

Parking 

Disabled parking bays are available at:

  • The View
  • Barn Hoppitt car park
  • Butler's Retreat

Asphalt and resin-bonded paths with dropped curbs provide an even, step-free surfaces when approaching The View from our car parks, the furthest of which is 120ft away. Please note, however, that these car parks are unlit at night.

Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge

Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge is a medieval Grade II*-listed building and has been adapted to be as accessible as possible.

Access statement

Please read the following for a breakdown of the building, with access requirements for each area of it.

Ground floor

  • the ground floor is fully accessible
  • the floor has a multi-sensory display of Tudor food displayed at an accessible height
  • both rooms have flagstones and offer level access
  • our written displays are written in Plain English
  • a magnifying glass, pen and paper are available
  • a hearing loop is also available

Upper floors

  • our upper floors are reachable by shallow wooden stairs with a hand rail
  • costumes are available to handle and try on
  • staff are happy to bring some of the items downstairs if you are unable to access the upper floors 
  • a folder explaining what can be seen upstairs is also available

Grounds

  • Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge is set in its own grassed area with benches and a picnic table
  • a resin bonded path leads to Butler's Retreat where refreshments are available; the café has ample seating around the building and a ground floor accessible toilet
  • accessible toilets are also available at The View

Events

Entrance to the View and to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge is free. A charge is made for group tours, which need to be booked in advance. These can include handling sessions. Sensory days and events are listed in the Epping Forest Events Diary. British Sign Language interpretation is provided for selected events listed in the diary, or if booked in advance (the latter may be subject to a fee).

The Temple

The Temple is a largely-accessible Grade II*-listed building with an array of accessible exhibited material.

​Access statement

Please read the following for a breakdown of the building, with access requirements for each area of it.

First floor

  • both floors have ground-level access
  • the main entrance is reachable by resin-bonded path up a steep incline; the entrance itself has two shallow steps
  • our central foyer shop has stock displayed at an accessible height
  • all rooms on this floor have level wooden floors
  • seating is readily available in all rooms
  • the floor is well-lit with overhead lighting and spotlights
  • our displays are designed to appeal to everyone, and written in Plain English
  • staff are available to answer any questions you may have

Ground floor

  • our ground floor rooms have level flagstone flooring
  • there is ample space to turn a large wheelchair
  • a door leads to and from the disabled car park at the rear of the building
  • staff can bring down items from the first floor on request

Public toilets

  • public toilets are located on the ground floor exterior of the building
  • there is a unisex accessible toilet, locked with a RADAR key
  • there are vertical rails either side of the toilet and a horizontal rail on the side wall adjacent
  • the sink has a lever tap
  • the flooring throughout is non-slip

Parking

Diasbled-only parking is available immediately outside the Temple, via an access road from Warren Road. These bays are directly adjacent to the Temple Enclosure's resin-bonded path, but the bays themselves are grass and loose gravel.

Events

Entrance to the Temple is free. Sensory days and events are listed in the Epping Forest events page. British Sign Language interpretation is provided for selected events listed in the diary, or if booked in advance (the latter may be subject to a fee).

Epping Forest Visitor Centre

Epping Forest Visitor Centre at High Beach is a fully accessible building.

Access statement

The building has:

  • level floors throughout
  • ample space for manoeuvring a wheelchair
  • displays and items which are comfortably reached from a seated position
  • interpretation which has been written in an accessible format and style
  • a hearing loop throughout the building
  • pen and paper and a magnifying glass available on request
  • accessible toilets
  • a staff of volunteers who will be happy to help you

Parking

The visitor centre maintains its own asphalt car park with an ample number of spaces, plus dedicated disabled bays roughly 20ft from the centre's entrance. The car park and its paths are level asphalt or brick and are step-free with dropped curbs. Please note, this car park is not lit at night.

Easy access paths

Download our Access for All Map (270KB) to see where our accessible paths are located.

High Beach

Our High Beach easy access trail starts near the Epping Forest Visitor Centre and winds through the trees, providing a great opportunity to explore the Forest.

This trail is ungated with a level, firm, non-slip surface. It is 0.5mi long with benches and passing places for wheelchairs at regular intervals. Interpretation is available at the beginning of the trail and is large print and accessible and readable from a seated position.

Maps, large print literature, disabled parking and a unisex accessible toilet are available at the Epping Forest Visitor Centre during opening hours. The King's Oak pub and nearby Tea Hut provide refreshment, and toilets are available at the pub outside of our own opening hours.

Connaught Water and the Red Path

Our easy access trail at Connaught Water provides visitors with the opportunity to see plenty of the birds that call it their home, from swans and mandarin ducks to great crested grebes.

This trail is ungated with a level, firm, non-slip surface. It is 0.6mi long with benches and passing places for wheelchairs at regular intervals. Interpretation is available at the beginning of the trail and is large print and accessible and readable from a seated position. The trail is easily accessed via a hard, level path from Connaught Water car park. A purpose-built fishing platform for wheelchair users is also present on the path.

Maps, large print literature, disabled parking and a unisex accessible toilet are available at The View (0.6mi away) during opening hours. Refreshment is available near the View at Butler's Retreat and the Royal Forest pub. We recommend a comfort break here before starting the trail.

Knighton Wood

Our easy access trail at Knighton Wood winds around the lake and between the Rhododendrons and specimen trees of the old formal garden, once part of the Buxton Estate.

This trail is ungated with a level, firm, non-slip surface. It is 0.4mi long with benches and passing places for wheelchairs at regular intervals. The path has some inclines; but a shorter, level circuit of the path can be taken instead if preferable. Interpretation is available at the beginning of the trail and is large print and accessible and readable from a seated position.

The path can be most easily accessed from Knighton Wood car park via a firm and level path. Unfortunately we do not have toilet or refreshment facilities near by, so we recommend a comfort break in nearby Buckhurst Hill ahead of your visit.

Jubilee Pond

Our easy access path at Wanstead Flats circles Jubilee Pond, a haven for various aquatic plants, and wildfowl such as coot, mallard and moorhen - and an easy access platform offers the opportunity for fishing or relaxing contemplation at the waterside for wheelchair users.

This trail is ungated with a level, firm, non-slip surface. It is 0.3mi long with benches and passing places for wheelchairs at regular intervals. Interpretation is available at the beginning of the trail and is large print and accessible and readable from a seated position.

The path can be most easily accessed from Jubilee Pond car park via a firm and level path. Unfortunately we do not have toilet or refreshment facilities near by, so we recommend a comfort break in Wanstead ahead of your visit.

Accessible areas

Chingford Plain

An open grassy area with a surfaced horse-riding track running along the far side which provides access to short grassland spots suitable for picnicking.  Located very close to the The View and Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge.

The Stubbles

A relic of Victorian times when this area was enclosed and cleared for arable farming, the open glade which remains today is ideal for family outings. A firm-surfaced horse-ride leads across towards Epping New Road, on which walks can be taken through the woodland to the west of the field. A small car park is provided off Nursery Road, Loughton.

Fairmead

Another area of open grassland recommended for family outings. The longer grass on the east side of the road makes it less suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, though more flowers and butterflies are to be found there.

Honey Lane Plain

Located towards Upshire, this area provides an interesting picnic site on the north-west side of the Forest. It is accessible by car from Waltham Abbey Road or Claypit Hill Road.

Theydon Bois Green

A true village green complete with pond. There are benches to rest on. Crossing the green is an avenue of oak trees, the older of which were planted around the time of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne. Theydon Bois underground station on the Central Line is nearby.

Wanstead Park

From the parking area in Warren Road, a wide grassy track slopes to the central open area, from which a number of paths can be taken through the trees. Alternatively on the left there is a wide, grassy glade with Rhododendrons on both sides leading down to the Ornamental Water where herons can often be seen, a remnant of the famous heronry here at the turn of the century. This is a delightful area in the spring when bluebells are in flower and many of the migrant birds can be heard. In summer, the speckled wood butterfly is one of the species which add to the attraction of Wanstead Park. Fishing may be enjoyed from a wheelchair at some points in the Park.

Large print information

Epping Forest leaflets are available in large print format on request and can also be provided as an audio tape. Please contact:

The View
Tel: 020 7332 1911 
Email: epping.forest@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Displays and exhibitions in our visitor centres are also available in large print on request.

Car parks near Epping Forest

We provide more than 30 car parks serving most of Epping Forest's 2,400 hectares. 

Improved car parks

The following seven car parks in the south and central areas of the Forest have been improved to be more accessible:

These accessible car parks are large, spacious and have designated disabled parking bays for Blue Badge holders - and parking is always free for Blue Badge Holders.

Their surfaces are firm, level asphalt and they all have level access directly on to either the Forest or the grounds of a visitor centre.  These car parks are open and well-lit during daylight, but have no electric lighting at night. They lack designated drop-off areas, but paths around their perimeters mitigate this to some extent.

Other car parks

For a full list of car parks we operate in the Forest, please see our car parks page.

These unimproved car parks are unfortunately less accessible. The car parks are relatively small and most have rough, uneven surfaces of dirt or gravel. They have no designated disabled bays, perimeter paths or drop-off areas; but all open directly on to the Forest and so during off-peak hours and with assistance you may be able to disembark very close to the Forest.  

These may be usable by wheelchair users and others with access issues, but please be aware that you may experience difficulties and use your own judgement accordingly, especially if weather conditions are adverse.

Access Forum

The Access Forum is one of several forest user group forums which aim to improve user experience. 

For more information or to get involved please contact us.


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