17 Facts About Epping Forest


The Epping Forest was historically managed as a common; the land was held by a number of local landowners who exercised economic rights over aspects such as timber, while local commoners had grazing and other rights.

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The term Epping Forest was a legal term, meaning that Epping Forest Law applied, meaning that only the King had the right to hunt deer.

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In physical terms, the Epping Forest is thought to have declined to something like its modern extent in the early fourteenth century, the Black Death reached England in 1348, leading to a huge decline in population, perhaps between a third and a half, which took away the pressure on woods and commons, leading to a very long period of stability in the area of these land uses in England.

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At that time the Epping Forest extended slightly further south to the Romford Road in the Epping Forest Gate area of West Ham, this is the originally Roman A118 road from Aldgate on the City of London wall to Stratford, Romford and Colchester.

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Epping Forest had fragmented ownership which made it harder to enclose in the same way, though individual landowners began to make encroachments.

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Under the terms of the Epping Forest Act 1878, the forest ceased to be a royal forest and was purchased by the City of London Corporation whose Epping Forest Committee act as Conservators.

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On 12 July 2012 The Duke of Gloucester—the official Epping Forest Ranger—opened the View interpretation centre at Chingford.

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The southernmost point of the Epping Forest is Wanstead Flats but it formerly extended slightly further south, to the Romford Road.

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Forest occupies a ridge of higher ground, the Epping Forest Ridge, set between the valleys of the Rivers Lea and Roding.

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The highest points are near Ambresbury Banks to the south of Epping Forest, which is 111 metres above sea level, while Pole Hill near Chingford reaches 91 metres .

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However, the Forests pollards have not been cut since the passing of the Epping Forest Act, have now grown massive crowns of thick, trunk-like branches with correspondingly large boles.

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Fallow deer found in Epping Forest are of an unusual black colouration, perhaps descended from some black deer presented by King Christian IV of Denmark to James I in 1612, although there are earlier records of black deer in England before this date.

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Epping Forest was considered as a venue for the mountain-biking event of the 2012 Summer Olympics, though the final choice was near Hadleigh Castle.

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High Beach in Epping Forest was the first British venue for motorcycle speedway and opened on 19 February 1928.

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Epping Forest has frequently been the setting for novels, and has attracted poets, artists and musicians for centuries.

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Epping Forest wrote several books about the area, including A Poacher's Tale with Alfred T Curtis, a Waltham Abbey-born poacher, and A Keeper's Tale, describing the life of forest keeper Sidney Butt.

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Epping Forest was featured in the BBC programme Countryfile broadcast on 21 June 2020 presented by Anita Rani.

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