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Byelaws

Epping Forest has a number of byelaws. These are laws which exist in addition to UK law, pertain specifically to the Forest, and support us in preserving it and the interests of its users.

If you break any byelaw, it is a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.

How to follow the byelaws

There are byelaws pertaining to damaging the Forest, nuisance behaviour, horses, dogs and other animals; vehicles, sports, games, music, model aircraft and cars; amongst other things.

As a guideline, we recommend you read the byelaws if you think you may be engaging in an activity that might be regulated in Epping Forest. It is your responsibility as a user to be aware of the byelaws.

Across Epping Forest you will see City of London signs which may direct you in your behaviour. It is likely that these are supported by byelaws and so we ask that you follow any such rules or regulations or risk breaking the law and being appropriately punished.

The full text of Epping Forest's byelaws is available below. If you have any queries regarding these byelaws, please Contact us.

Epping Forest's byelaws​

Byelaws made by the Conservators

Byelaws made by the Conservators of Epping Forest, in pursuance of the Epping Forest Acts 1878 and 1880 and the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1977.

Interpretation

1. In these byelaws "the Conservators" means the Conservators of Epping Forest; "the Forest" means the open waste lands of Epping Forest as shown by the Map referred to in Section 10 of the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1956 (exclusive of the enclosed portion of that part of the Forest which is known as Wanstead Park), and also all other lands held by the Conservators for the purposes of the Epping Forest Act 1878 or any part thereof; "Superintendent" means the Superintendent for the time being of the Forest; "vehicle" includes a wagon, cart, carriage, car, van, lorry, caravan, truck, motor-cycle or other vehicle whether mechanically propelled or not, but excludes a bicycle or tricycle; "power-driven model aircraft" means any model aircraft driven by the combustion of petrol-vapour or other combustible substance; and "footpath" includes any trodden track between trees or through grass or thick undergrowth suitable for the passage of pedestrians.

Officers, etc.

2. An act necessary to the proper execution of his duty in the Forest;

(a) by an officer of the Conservators; or

(b) by any person or the servant of any person employed, engaged or employed, engaged or appointed by the Conservators shall not be deemed an offence against these byelaws.

Prohibited acts

3. The doing of or attempting to do any of the following acts in the Forest is prohibited and shall be deemed to be an offence against the Epping Forest Act 1878:

Enclosing, building or encroaching

(1) Enclosing or building or otherwise encroaching upon any part of the Forest.

New roads, sewers, drains, etc, without licence

(2) Without the licence in writing of the Conservators making or forming any new roads or footpaths in the Forest, or digging, laying, or constructing any waterway, sewer, drain, or similar work in, under or across it or any part of it.

Discharging sewage etc.

(3) Without the licence in writing of the Conservators laying down any pipe or drain, or digging any hole in order to discharge, or direct surface water, sewage or any offensive liquid into or upon the Forest.

Taking anything from the Forest

(4) Taking or moving any substance in or from the Forest, save with the previous written consent of the Conservators, PROVIDED that this byelaw shall not apply to the collection in any one day of no more than 12 kg of loose, dead or driftwood, of which no piece shall exceed 5 cm in diameter and 91 cm in length.

Damaging trees or other growing things

(5) Damaging or injuring or climbing up or upon any tree or other growing thing in or from the Forest, save with the previous written consent of the Conservators.

Making fires, etc

(6) Making or starting in the Forest any bonfire or other fire of any substance, whether growing or not, and whether intentionally or by negligence without the previous written consent of the Conservators.

Placing matches or other materials on the Forest

(7) Placing, throwing, dropping or leaving on the Forest any lighted match or other materials to the danger of the trees or any part of the Forest, whether growing or not.

Selling intoxicating liquors

(8) Selling on the Forest without the previous authority, in writing, of the Conservators, either with or without a licence, any intoxicating liquors as defined by law.

Model aircraft

(9) Flying any power-driven model aircraft, except when the person flying such aircraft has in his possession and is conforming to the requirements of a valid permit issued to him by the Superintendent in accordance with the provisions of the First Schedule hereto.

Using vehicles, etc to the danger of the public

(10) Driving, moving, or using a bicycle, tricycle or vehicle upon the Forest to the danger, injury, annoyance or inconvenience of the public.

Vehicles in the Forest

(11) Driving, moving or leaving any vehicle in or on the Forest except

(a) on a highway;

(b) within 45 metres of a highway between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset for picnic or other pleasure purposes on the Forest in those parts of the Forest where no notice or sign to the contrary effect is exhibited by order of the Conservators, PROVIDED that no injury is done to the Forest and provided always that any directions of an officer of the Conservators are obeyed;

(c) in a vehicle park during those hours prescribed by the Conservators for the parking of vehicles and indicated by notices therein;

(d) pursuant to a wayleave granted by the Conservators;

(e) with the prior consent in writing of the Superintendent.

Damaging places set apart for vehicles

(12) Driving a vehicle in a place set apart by the Conservators for the use of vehicles in such a manner as to cause damage or injury to the surface of the same.

Landing helicopters etc

(13) Landing or otherwise bringing into the Forest a helicopter or other aircraft without the previous written consent of the Conservators.

Turning out uncommonable animals

(14) Turning out to graze or feed or allowing or suffering to remain on the Forest any animal or bird except such animals as may of right be so turned out and remain.

Molesting Commoners' cattle

(15) Chasing or in any other way molesting the Commoners' cattle.

Going after animals, birds, etc

(16) Hunting, trapping, chasing, catching or injuring any animal or bird or its home or its nest in or over the Forest (including the taking of the eggs of any bird) or going equipped to do so.

Carrying guns, endangering the public, causing a nuisance etc

(17) (a) Carrying, firing or otherwise discharging any firearm or other weapon of offence, except with the previous written permission of the Conservators or (b) doing anything which may endanger any person or property or (c) acting in any way so as to be a nuisance, obstruction or annoyance to the public, so as to hinder or interfere with the exercise of their rights of recreation on the Forest.

Unlawful fishing

(18) Fishing (a) in those lakes or ponds where notices are displayed that fishing is preserved except with the previous written consent of the Superintendent and on payment of such charges as the Conservators from time to time fix; (b) from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise in such ponds or lakes where fishing is so prohibited by notices exhibited by order of the Conservators.

Damaging etc property of Conser-vators; Polluting water

(19) Damaging, defacing, disfiguring, removing or interfering with any article, structure or establishment in or on the Forest, set up by, or being in the control of, the Conservators, including Forest marks or boundaries, or tampering with any works controlling or regulating the water in any ponds, lakes or watercourses in the Forest, or polluting the water therein.

Washing animals or vehicles

(20) Washing any animal or vehicle in the Forest.

Erecting buildings etc without licence

(21) Erecting or placing upon any part of the Forest, without the licence of the Conservators, or in contravention of the Regulations set forth in the Second Schedule hereto, any building or erection whatsoever, whether it is there for permanent or temporary purposes.

Provided that this byelaw shall not apply to the erection and the removal on the same day of a tent or awning of a size not greater than five metres in length during the period of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset, for pleasure or picnic purposes.

Camping

(22) Camping in the Forest without the licence of the Conservators, or in contravention of the Regulations set forth in the Third Schedule hereto.

Plying for hire without a licence

(23) Plying for the hire of or letting out any animal, with or without any cart or carriage, without the licence of the Conservators first obtained, in contravention of the Regulations set forth in the Fourth Schedule hereto.

Riding to the danger of the public or injury of Commonors' cattle etc

(24) Riding or bringing an animal on or over any of the footpaths of the Forest or on or over any portions of the Forest set apart for exercises, sports or games.

Provided that this byelaw shall not apply to domestic cats, dogs, or such animals of other species as are of a sort commonly kept as domestic pets, nor to any Commoners' animals duly marked by a Reeve of Epping Forest in accordance with the Regulations as to turning out cattle made by the Conservators.

Jumping fences or ditches

(25) When riding a horse or other animal in any part of the Forest.

Riding or bringing animals on or over footpaths etc.

(26) Exercising or riding a horse or other animal in any part of the Forest to the danger of the public or the injury of the Commoners' cattle or other animals.

Riding without a licence

(a) Riding by any person of a horse in the Forest for recreation and amusement in breach of Article 1 of the Sixth Schedule hereto.

Exercising without leave

(27) Carrying out any military or other exercises on any portion of the Forest, except with the prior written consent of the Conservators and on such parts as they may set apart for the purpose.

Interfering with persons playing lawful games

(28) Interfering with, obstructing or annoying any persons carrying out any military or other exercises or playing or preparing to play at any lawful game on any portion of the Forest set apart for such exercise or games.

Playing games on Club grounds etc or damaging fences thereof

(29) Without the previous consent of the Conservators,

(a) playing any game or partaking in any sport upon or otherwise using, interfering with or damaging, or

(b) failing to replace, after moving it in order to facilitate playing any game or partaking in any sport, any sprinkler or other equipment upon, any portion of the Forest set apart for the use of Clubs, Associations or individuals for games or sports including any fence, posts or chains placed on or around the same.

Dancing etc

(30) Dancing in such a manner or accompanied by such a noise that it may be a nuisance or annoyance to the public.

Using radio etc, to annoyance of public

(31) Using or operating any radio, record or cassette-player or other similar instrument in such a manner as to cause a nuisance or annoyance to the public or hinder or annoy them.

Provided that this byelaw shall not apply to the operation of such instruments when using in pursuance of a licence granted under Byelaw 3 (21) in respect of a fair or similar temporary entertainment establishment.

Disorderly conduct, etc

(32) Gambling in any form or indulging in indecent or disorderly conduct such as does or is likely to provoke a breach of the peace.

Boating except as prescribed by Conservators etc

(33) Placing or using any boats upon any waters of the Forest, except at such places and during such hours as may be prescribed by the Conservators and specified in notices put up at such places and in accordance with the Conservators' prior written consent.

Bathing in ponds except as prescribed by Conservators

(34) Bathing in any lakes, ponds or waters of the Forest (other than Bathing Pools specially constructed or set apart for that purpose) except subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by the Conservators and specified in notices put up at such places and at all times conforming to accepted standards of public decency as regards exposure etc.

Regulations as to Whipps Cross Pool and other Pools

(35) Failing to comply with the regulations set out in the Fifth Schedule hereto when resorting to or using the Bathing Pool at Whipps Cross or any bathing pond specially constructed or set apart to which the Conservators by Resolution direct that this byelaw and the Regulations contained in the said Fifth Schedule shall apply.

Dogs

(36) Bringing or allowing to be brought or to go upon the Forest, any dog not kept under effective control or not wearing a collar bearing the name and address of the owner.

Greyhounds and Whippets

(37) Bringing or allowing to be brought or to go upon the Forest or being in charge upon the Forest, of any Greyhound or Whippet or dog cross-bred therefrom, which is not effectively muzzled.

Racing or training horses or dogs

(38) Racing or training or causing to be raced or trained, any horse or any dog upon the Forest.

Provided that any dog may be trained in the habits of obedience so long as no nuisance is caused to other users of the Forest.

Dogs chasing birds or animals

(39) Bringing or allowing to be brought or to go upon the Forest, any dog which worries or chases any bird or animal in or upon the Forest.

Public speaking or preaching without permission

(40) Delivering any public address of any kind, except with the written permission of the Conservators first obtained and then only upon such portions of the Forest and under such restrictions and regulations as may be specified in such written permission.

Hawking

(41) Hawking or peddling any article or articles without the licence in writing of the Conservators.

Photography

(42) Taking photographs or films for a commercial purpose without the written consent of the Superintendent and on payment of such charges as the Conservators from time to time fix.

Photography

(43) Importuning any person for the purpose of taking or selling any photograph.

Mineral detectors etc

(44) Using or operating a metal or mineral detector or any device for locating objects below ground level, without the previous consent in writing of the Conservators.

Improperly using or disfiguring the Forest

(45) Making any improper or offensive use of any part of the Forest or doing anything tending to the injury or disfigurement thereof or to the defeat of the general purposes of the Epping Forest Act 1878 or of these byelaws.

Rescuing animals from Reeves, etc, or from pounds or injuring pounds

(46) Rescuing or attempting to rescue any animal which is being led driven or taken to any Forest Pound by the Reeves or Assistant Reeves or any other officer of the Conservators or taking or attempting to take such animals out of such pound or injuring any such pound or its lock.

Interfering with or obstructing officers

(47) Interfering with or obstructing the Superintendent or any Keeper, Assistant Keeper, Reeve or Assistant Reeve of the Forest or other officer of the Conservators in the execution of his duty.

Islands in the Forest

(48) Landing or going upon any island in any lake or pond in the Forest, without the previous consent in writing of the Conservators.

Conservators' Pound

(49) Without the previous consent in writing of the Conservators, entering

(a) any portion of the Forest that has been lawfully enclosed by the Conservators, such enclosure being a garden area or yard attached to a Keeper's lodge or to any other building erected upon the Forest in connection with the Conservators' powers of management; or

(b) any portion of the Forest set apart for the time being as a Conservators' Pound.

Provided that this byelaw shall apply only where a notice is displayed indicating that entry to the enclosure is prohibited.

Power to remove beggars

4. The officers of the Conservators are empowered and directed to exclude and remove from the Forest all beggars.

Penalties

5. Every person who shall offend against any of these byelaws shall be liable on summary conviction for every such offence to a penalty not exceeding Two Hundred Pounds, and in the case of a continuing offence to a further daily penalty not exceeding Twenty Pounds.

Powers of Police

6. Nothing in these byelaws contained shall take away, abridge or limit any remedy now existing by way of indictment or otherwise or shall interfere with or prejudice the powers of the Police or of any authority legally existing for preventing or punishing any offences, whether specified in these byelaws or not or the rights and powers of the Conservators over the Forest.

Repeal

7. From and after the coming into operation of these byelaws, the byelaws made by the Conservators on the 9th day of July, 1953 and allowed by the Ranger of the Forest on the 20th day of September, 1953 and the additional byelaws made by the Conservators on the 3rd day of November, 1960 and allowed by the Ranger of the Forest on the 2nd day of June, 1961 shall be and the same are hereby revoked.​

Regulations on power-driven model aircraft

​The First Schedule: Regulations relating to Power-Driven Model Aircraft to which Byelaw 3(9) applies – see also additional Byelaw

Application for Permit

1. If any person wishes to fly any power-driven model aircraft (hereinafter in this Schedule referred to as "the aircraft") he shall

(a) Make written application to the Superintendent for a permit authorising him to fly the aircraft (hereinafter in this Schedule referred to as "the permit"); and

(b) produce a valid certificate of membership of a Club which is approved by the Conservators (hereinafter in this Schedule referred to as "the said approved club") and which holds a policy of Insurance indemnifying its members against claims by a third party, including an indemnity in respect of any liability of the Conservators to the extent of £250,000, in respect of any one incident; and produce a statement to this effect by the Secretary of the said approved club.

2. If the Superintendent is satisfied that the application meets the requirements of paragraph 1(b) of this Schedule and that the applicant is a suitable person, the Superintendent may grant the permit upon payment of a sum not exceeding £5 provided that the sum payable by a person under 16 years of age shall not exceed £1.

3. If the Superintendent receives an application from the Secretary of the said approved Club requesting temporary permits for named individuals and stating that such individuals have been made temporary honorary members of the said approved Club for the purposes of a match or competition organised by the said approved Club and that such members are covered by insurance in accordance with paragraph 1(b) above he may grant temporary permits to cover the flying of the aircraft by such temporary honorary members upon payment of a sum not exceeding £1 in respect of the temporary permits granted on each such application.

Validity of Permit

4. The validity of the permit shall extend only to the person to whom it has been issued and without prejudice to the other provisions of this Schedule, shall cease and determine after a period of 12 months from the date of issue or, in the case of a temporary permit, at the end of the seven days in respect of which it is issued.

5. The permit shall be operative only during the pleasure of the Conservators who may revoke the permit at any time upon notice to the person to whom the permit has been issued.

6. The permit shall cease to be valid if the insurance policy to which paragraph 1(b) refers is for any reason cancelled or becomes ineffective or if the person to whom the permit has been issued ceases to be a member of a club to which paragraph 1(b) refers.

Requirements of Permit

7. The permit shall require

(a) that flying of the aircraft be restricted to that part of Wanstead Flats or to that part of Chingford Plain (hereinafter in this Schedule referred to as "the defined areas") set apart by the Conservators for that purpose;

(b) that flying of the aircraft within each of the defined areas be restricted, as specified in the permit, to the hours between 10.30 a.m. and sunset;

(c) that flying of the aircraft on any special occasions such as the holding of a fair be prohibited by notices exhibited by order of the Conservators;

(d) that the aircraft be always kept under effective control;

(e) that the aircraft be muffled so as to reduce the noise of its engine as much as is reasonably practicable;

(f) that the permit be kept in the exclusive possession of the person to whom the permit has been issued and be produced forthwith by that person on request by any officer of the Conservators for inspection by that officer;

(g) that jet-propelled or rocket-propelled aircraft shall not be flown at any time provided that this restriction does not apply to those propelled by small reaction motors powered by a solid fuel pellet not exceeding one inch in length.

Regulations as to the erection of Booths, Stands, etc

The Second Schedule: Regulations as to the erection of Booths, Stands, etc to which Byelaw 3(31) applies

1. All persons desiring to erect any post, rail, fence, tent, booth, stand, shooting-gallery, show, roundabout or swing or to affix any sticks or poles for playing any games for which money is taken, shall apply to the Superintendent for a licence for the purpose, who, if he is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person, may grant the licence. Any licence so granted shall not be transferable.

2. There shall be three classes of licence, namely, "ordinary", "special holiday" and "daily".

3. The ordinary licence will only be available for the year in which it is granted, except on Bank Holidays and will expire on the 31st December in that year.

4. The special holiday licence will be available for seven days only, including the day on which such licence is granted.

5. The daily licence will be valid only for the day in respect of which it is issued.

6. The licence will specify the place where the booth, stand or other erection is to be put up and will be granted in the case of an ordinary licence on a payment of a fee not exceeding £10 for the licence and of a weekly payment not exceeding £10 during the time the erection remains and in the case of a special holiday licence, on payment of a sum to be fixed by the Superintendent in each case, having regard to the space of land covered by the erection, such sum to include the payment for the week during which the erection remains and in the case of a daily licence on payment of a sum not exceeding £5.

7. The licence will be granted only during the pleasure of the Conservators and the Superintendent may revoke it at any time if used at any other than the specified place or in the event of drunkenness, quarrelling, fighting, cheating, swearing, noisy or disorderly dancing or breach of any of the byelaws of the Forest on the part of the licensee.​

Regulations as to Camping

The Third Schedule: Regulations as to Camping, to which Byelaw 3(22) applies

1. All persons desiring to camp in the Forest must apply to the Superintendent for a licence to do so, who if he is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person, may grant the licence.

2. The number of persons who may be included on any one licence shall not exceed ten.

3. The licence will only be granted for a period not exceeding three consecutive nights.

4. The persons making use of the licence shall obey the instructions of the Superintendent or the Forest Keepers as to the site of the camp.

5. The site of the camp shall be kept clean and tidy during the encampment and at the termination thereof rubbish of every kind shall be removed and the site left to the satisfaction of the Superintendent or the Forest Keepers.

6. The licence will be granted only during the pleasure of the Conservators and the Superintendent may remove it at any time for drunkenness, quarrelling, fighting, cheating, swearing, noisy or disorderly dancing or breach of any of the byelaws of the Forest on the part of any person using the licence.

7. The following charges shall be paid in advance to the Superintendent or the Forest Keeper when arranging the site, who will give a receipt therefor, viz:

Individuals or parties not exceeding six in number – 50p per night

And for every additional person up to ten in number – 5p per head per night.​

Regulations as to the Letting out of Animals and Carriages

The Fourth Schedule: Regulations as to the Letting out of Animals and Carriages and as to standing places for the same, to which Byelaw 3(23) applies

1. Every person desirous of letting out any animal for riding or of letting out any animal with a cart or carriage for driving, shall apply for a licence for such purpose to the Superintendent who, if he is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person, may grant the licence. Any licence so granted shall not be transferable.

2. Such licence will specify the purpose for which it is granted, the position in which the animals are to stand and the number of animals and will be granted on payment of a fee not exceeding £5 for the licence and of a weekly charge not exceeding £1 for each horse and pony and 50p for any other animal included in such licence.

3. The licence will be granted only during the pleasure of the Conservators who may revoke the same at any time upon notice to the licensee and the Superintendent may revoke it forthwith in the event of drunkenness, quarrelling, fighting, cheating, swearing, cruelty to the animals by excessive use or otherwise or breach of any of the byelaws of the Forest on the part of the licensee.

4. The licence will only be available for the year in which it is granted and will expire on the 31st December in that year.

5. Every licensee and every person employed by him in the Forest will be supplied with a badge which shall be worn on the left arm so that its number may be clearly seen.

6. Such badge shall not be lent to or used by any other person and must be returned to the Superintendent within 24 hours after the expiration of the licence.​

Regulations as to Whipps Cross Bathing Pool and to Bathing Ponds

​The Fifth Schedule: Regulations as to Whipps Cross Bathing Pool and to Bathing Ponds, to which Byelaw 3(35) applies

1. A person shall not bathe except between the hours of 6am and 9pm

2. A person shall not bathe without wearing covering sufficient to prevent exposure of the body beyond or contrary to accepted contemporary standards of public decency.

3. A person resorting to or using the Bathing Pool or Pond shall conduct himself at all times in such manner as not to offend public decency.

4. A bather shall use the dressing accommodation provided and shall not occupy the same for more than thirty minutes continuously.

5. A person shall not undress or dress upon the banks of the Bathing Pool or Pond.

6. A male person over the age of ten years shall not use or enter or intrude upon the dressing accommodation set apart and appointed for the use of female persons.

7. A female person over the age of ten years shall not use or enter or intrude upon the dressing accommodation set apart and appointed for the use of male persons.

8. A person resorting to or using the Bathing Pool or Pond shall not foul or pollute the water or improperly soil or defile any towel or dressing box or article therein or use any soap or other substance or similar preparation whilst using the Bathing Pool or Pond.

9. A person shall not throw, place or otherwise cause to enter the Bathing Pool or Pond any refuse or litter.

10. A person shall not place or use any boat upon the Bathing Pool or Pond.

11. A person shall not cause or allow any dog belonging to him or under his control, to enter or remain in the Bathing Pool or Bathing Enclosure.

Additional Byelaw (Epping Forest Act 1878)

Additional Bye-Law made by the Conservators of Epping Forest in pursuance of the Epping Forest Act 1878

1. In these bye-laws "the 1980 bye-laws" means the bye-laws made by the Conservators of Epping Forest on the 14th day of December 1979 and allowed by The Ranger on the 11th March 1980.

2. From and after the coming into operation of these bye-laws, Paragraph 7(b) of the First Schedule of the 1980 bye-laws shall be repealed, and the following paragraph substituted:-

"that the flying of the aircraft within the defined area at Wanstead Flats be prohibited":

(a) before 1pm and after sunset on Saturdays and Sundays; and

(b) at all times on Thursdays; and

(c) before 10.30am and after sunset on all other week days; and that the flying of the aircraft within the defined area at Chingford Plain be prohibited before 10.30am and after sunset on all days."

3. From and after the coming into operation of these bye-laws Paragraph 7(e) of the First Schedule of the 1980 bye-laws shall be repealed and the following substituted:

"that the aircraft be muffled so as to reduce the noise of its engine as much as is reasonably practicable, and no aircraft shall be operated which gives a noise measurement at seven metres of more than 82 dB(A)"​


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