As we approach the vernal equinox on March 20th, the forest is awakening from its winter slumber and exciting new signs of life are everywhere.
As we continue to plan for the future, improving biodiversity remains a priority for Epping Forest, which is managed by the City of London Corporation as a registered charity. We are planning our ten-year habitat conservation program, due to start in 2024.
Much of the proposed work will involve the restoration of woodland pastures, as well as heath and grassland, which are an important part of the rich mosaic of habitats that make up Epping Forest.
We will be applying for a grant from Defra to carry out this vital work to protect the forest, over half of which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.
I am delighted to announce that our beloved herd of English Longhorns will soon be returning to Chingford Plain and we look forward to extending the benefits of woodland grazing throughout the year when the weather improves.
Did you know that Wanstead Heath, on Wanstead Flats, is a Special Area of Conservation?
Even in the most urban areas of east London, Epping Forest offers havens for an abundance of wildlife.
One of the species we are working hard to protect on Wanstead Flats is the skylark.
They are rare ground-nesting birds, making them vulnerable to disturbance.
For this reason, every year, from April to July, we install a temporary fence around their nesting sites. As always, we are very grateful to the local community for helping with these conservation projects and for staying away from the nesting site.
Finally, as the light days and warm nights increase, so does the amount of litter and flies we see in Epping Forest.
Cleaning up litter left by visitors is one of the biggest pressures on our charity’s finances.
This harms the health and well-being of the forest, in addition to the wildlife that lives in it. Every visitor can help us solve this problem – just take your litter with you.
As always, we have lots of resources on our website www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/eppingforest to help you plan your visit or pop into Epping Forest Visitor Center in Chingford. Our store and exhibition spaces are worth a visit.
I hope you find this monthly column informative, but if you have any topics you would like me to cover in the future, please do not hesitate to contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
May I also take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Easter!
- Ben Murphy is chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons committee of the City of London Corporation