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.
More information on our accessible paths and other places to go in Epping Forest is available in the sections below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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
Disabled parking bays are available at:
Barn Hoppitt car park
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 is a medieval Grade II*-listed building and has been adapted to be as accessible as possible.
Please read the following for a breakdown of the building, with access requirements for each area of it.
- 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
- 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
- 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
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 is a largely-accessible Grade II*-listed building with an array of accessible exhibited material.
Please read the following for a breakdown of the building, with access requirements for each area of it.
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
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 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
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.
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 at High Beach is a fully accessible building.
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
a staff of volunteers who will be happy to help you
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.
Download our Access for All Map (270KB) to see where our accessible paths are located.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Epping Forest leaflets are available in large print format on request and can also be provided as an audio tape. Please contact:
Tel: 020 7332 1911
Displays and exhibitions in our visitor centres are also available in large print on request.
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.
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.