Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Epping Forest

Epping Forest, some 5,500 acres of forestland in the south-east of Essex, is the remnant of the royal Forest of Essex, which before the reign of John extended over almost all the county, and which was then limited to the Forest of Waltham, some 60,000 acres. Before the Reformation, subject to the sporting rights of the Crown, this was mainly vested in the abbeys of Waltham and Barking; but there was also a right to pasturage, pannage of pigs, and lopping of trees for fuel, belonging to the commoners. Hainault Forest, east of the river Roding, having been grubbed up in 1851, and extensive encroachments having taken place, the remainder was between 1865 and 1870 in danger of destruction, the lords of the manors having compounded separately with their commoners. The Corporation of London, happening to hold rights of common in virtue of a cemetery at Wanstead, successfully maintained the right of "intercommonage" over the whole forest. In 1878 an Act was passed by which it was "disafforested" - (i.e. ceased to be royal) - the Corporation becoming conservators, purchasing the manorial and lopping rights, and maintaining the forest" as an open space for recreation and enjoyment." The forest consists of extensive woods of pollard hornbeam, several groves of fine beeches, with a good deal of holly undergrowth and occasional large crab-apple trees, wide patches of heather and birch, and bordering grass-lands. Oaks are not very numerous. The Act provides that "the natural aspect of the forest" is to be maintained, and it has long been the favourite hunting-ground of the London entomologists and fungus-hunters, besides affording a playground for countless school treats, volunteer corps, cricket clubs, and devotees of golf. Birds of many kinds are increasing in the forest; the ancient dark breed of fallow-deer have multiplied considerably; and the roe-deer and the badger have been successfully reestablished. In the heart of the forest are two pre-Roman camps. At Chingford is a fine Tudor half-timbered building known as Queen Elizabeth's Lodge. In 1882 Queen Victoria declared the forest to be open for ever as a recreation ground.