Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Epping Forest

Epping Forest is a large wooded area in Essex, situated to the North East of London.

Until a thousand or so years ago, the great Essex Forest extended all over the county, apart from the old towns such as Colchester and Maldon.

Gradually, however, it diminished, notably because of tree felling to supply ships for the Royal Navy, and became known as Waltham Forest. There are now just a few remaining fragments, notably Hatfield Forest, Hainault Forest and Hockley Woods in the South East of the county.

Epping Forest is by far the largest surviving fragment. Now extending over approximately 6,000 acres, it was rescued in the late 19th century by the City of London, and declared open by Queen Victoria in 1882.

The forest today consists of large expanses of woodland, as well as heath, grassland and bog. Fallow deer and roe deer roam free in the forest.

It extends for about 11 miles from Leytonstone in the South to Epping in the North.

Towns in and around Epping Forest include Chipping Ongar, Epping and Waltham Abbey, while Greenstead-juxta-Ongar has one of the most historic churches in England.

There are two ancient earthworks within the forest, Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks. The latter is popularly believed to have been the site of Boudicca's last battle, but this is much more likely to have taken place near Mancetter in Warwickshire.