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Epping Forest is the largest public open space in the London area, two-thirds of which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As well as the trees you would expect to find in ancient woodland, there are many areas of grassland, heath, rivers, bogs and ponds within the forest.
Sitting astride a glaciated ridge separating the valleys of the river lee and Roding, it covers nearly 6,000 acres (24 km²) and stretches from Forest Gate in the south and Epping in the north. It is 18 km long in the north-south direction, but no more than 4 km from east to west at its widest point, and in most places considerably narrower.
What to photograph
The Embankments of two Iron Age camps — Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks — can be found hidden in the woodland and I often find the afternoon winter light across the ditch of Loughton Camp works really well.
The historic buildings in the forest are of some interest.
TheQueen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge is near a main road and other buildings, so it is difficult to use in landscape work but may offer some close up opportunities.
The Temple can make for an interesting feature against a sunset.
High Beech Church often catches the setting sun making the walls glow in the golden light.
Copped Hall is closed to the public during renovation but its landscaped grounds offer some sweeping vistas up to the house, the back of which is lit perfectly by the setting sun on a summers evening.
Otherwise opportunities abound to catch the autumn colours, the interesting trees and the open plains.
Although there is a lot of wildlife, most of it is very timid and very difficult to get a clear shot of. Over the last few years the forest rangers have taken to using Long Horn cattle as eco friendly grass mowers and these gentle creatures can make for an interesting subject.
Although not open to the public the Deer sanctuary at Theydon Bois offers opportunities to get shots through/over the fence of the stags and large herds of deer.
The open plain know as “The Stubbles” near Loughton, often has lots of wild rabbits on it, though they are very timid due to the numbers of dog walkers who use the area.
During the wet winter months the environment can be perfect for fungus shots. With a bit of work puffballs, stinkhorns, bracket fungus, coral fungus and many more can be found.
How to get there
The forest is easy to access by car as junction 25 of the M25 drops you right on the edge of the forest. There are many carparks just off the main roads through the forest, each of which has an information board and map to help you understand the area you are in.
The Forest is well served by Public transport:
Over-ground trains from Liverpool Street to Chingford leave you right on the edge of the forest.
The Central line stations of Buckhurst Hill, Loughton, Theydon Bois and Epping all allow access to the forest after a short walk.
Epping Forest Gallery