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Two ladies walk along the Flats between two bushes covered in bright yellow flowers

Wanstead Flats is a large area of open grassland in the south of the forest, perfect for sports, picnics and enjoying nature.

It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and home to Jubilee Pond, refurbished as part of our Branching Out project several years ago.

Things to do on Wanstead Flats

  • Enjoy a walk around Jubilee Pond on our Lime Trail (650KB) or take your bike, your horse or your dog
  • Visit nearby Bush Wood
  • Pack a picnic and have lunch at the water's edge
  • Explore our pondlife at our pond dipping platform
  • Grab your binoculars for a day of bird-watching and see meadow pipits and skylarks who also visit the Flats
  • Bring your children for a fun day at our natural play area
  • Play football at our renowned playing fields
  • Get fit with health walks and parkruns courtesy of Parkrun, the Newham Striders, Active Newham and Active Redbridge; for time please see our events page

If picnicking in the Forest, please take care not to litter. Please note too that barbecues are prohibited under our byelaws. Our byelaws can be enforced by fine or prosecution.

How to get here

See our Epping Forest Map (300KB)

View a Google Map

Plan your trip with TfL Journey Planner

Parking is available at Centre Road and Jubilee Pond car parks

Football at Wanstead Flats

Wanstead Flats is home to our Playing Fields, an iconic venue and the perfect place to play football in East London; with excellent transport links, 60 pitches and a rich history in the beautiful game.

For more information on playing football at the Flats, please see our Football page.

The history of Wanstead Flats 

The Flats also have an interesting history which has left its mark on the landscape. The area has been almost treeless since the 12th Century when the Abbots of Stratford grazed sheep there.

During the Second World War, there was a camp for troops and a prisoner-of-war camp on the Flats. If you look carefully, you might still find Barrage balloon tethers on the grassland. The soldiers and POWs even erected goal posts and played football - just as people still do today!

The ponds are the result of early twentieth century work schemes for unemployed labourers and Jubilee Pond was originally designed as a Model Yacht Pond, and later refurbished as part of our Branching Out Project.

Find out more about the history of the Forest on our heritage pages!

Published:
30 April 2014
Last Modified:
15 September 2017

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