Hainault Forest

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Hainault Forest
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Hainault Forest Country Park, The Lake - geograph.org.uk - 602653.jpg
The large lake in Hainault Forest Country Park
Area of Search Greater London
Grid reference TQ477938
Interest Biological
Area 136.0 hectares
Notification 1986
Location map Magic Map
Woodland Path — a public footpath in the park.
The forest path into Hainault Forest from Lambourne End, on a November morning

Hainault Forest Country Park is located in Greater London, with portions in: Hainault in the London Borough of Redbridge; the London Borough of Havering; and in the Lambourne parish of the Epping Forest District in Essex.[1]


With an area of 136 hectares (336 acres), Hainault Forest Country Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[2]

The Redbridge section of the Park is being developed by the Redbridge Council as a country park. The Essex section is managed by the Woodland Trust, who are contracted to do so by its owners, Essex County Council.[1][3]


Hainault Forest is one of the remaining sections of the former Forest of Essex in England. Epping Forest and Hatfield Forest are other remaining examples. The forest belonged to the abbey of Barking until the dissolution of the monasteries;[4] it extended northwards to Theydon Bois , east to Havering-atte-Bower, on the south to Aldborough Hatch,[5] and westwards to Leytonstone.[6] In a survey made for Henry VIII in 1544 its extent was some 3,000 acres (12 km2).[7]

The forest land was condemned as waste by an Act of Parliament, 1851, disafforested, the deer removed, and 92% of the old growth forest cut down. The land became very poor quality agricultural land and subsequently a significant proportion of that has been built on.

The destruction was deplored by Sir Walter Besant in his works on London: the forest is also the setting for his novel All in a Garden Fair.

Oliver Rackham described how the outrage at the destruction of Hainault led to the modern conservation movement with the creation of conservation groups which successfully opposed such a fate happening to Epping Forest


After public pressure to retain some remnant of Hainault Forest, headed by Edward North Buxton,[8] a total of 804 acres (3.3 km2) of land was bought for public use on 21 July 1906. It included 253 acres (1.0 km²) of woodland and rough pasture.

The Hainault Forest Country Park protected areas include: open space parklands — with numerous public footpaths and a large lake; the Hainault Forest Golf Club; and Fox Burrow Farm — which is used in part for preserving rare breeds of animals.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "HAINAULT FOREST". hainaultforest.co.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Natural England citation, Hainault Forest" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 13 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Woodland Trust - Hainault Forest Profile Retrieved 28 May 2010
  4. Barking Side preserves the connection.
  5. Hatch, a gateway to the forest preserve.
  6. N. D'Anvers, The Historical Outskirts of London 1907, p. 72
  7. "Hainault Forest Website". hainaultforest.co.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Mr Buxton is credited in D'Anvers 1907 , p. 72.

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External links