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Hainault Forest Country Park is in the early stages of a £6m restoration project which will see it undergo a programme of work focusing on four key areas – investment in biodiversity, landscape and buildings, works to re-focus the popular children’s zoo and to improve the range of activities on offer for visitors.

Nature walk

On 9 December 2017 a group joined Francis Castro, Senior Ranger and Project Manager at Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure, for a guided winter stroll around Hainault Forest. In beautiful winter sunshine, over the course of two hours, they learned about the flora and fauna, as well as the restoration plans.

In January 2017, the HLF announced support of £4.5m, including development funding of £218,800, for Hainault Forest Country Park’s “Hainault Ancient Forest – a Landscape for the Future” project. The Council will also contribute £1.25m to the project with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure. This brings total investment to £6m. When the project is complete, it is envisaged that Hainault Forest Country Park will be enabled to become financially self-sufficient, and the current Council subsidy will end.

Tree walk

Covering a total of 800 acres, Hainault Forest includes 250 acres of greenbelt, ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is the last fragment of a medieval Royal hunting forest established by Henry I that included Hatfield and Epping.

The forest is also pivotal for local and regional wildlife. To date, 158 species of bird have been recorded in the forest including turtle doves, bullfinches, and three species of woodpecker. There are also more than 940 species of invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies, 79 of which are nationally scarce.

Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Richard Arnopp, who went on the walk, said –

“Hainault Forest is important both as a haven for wildlife and a much-needed recreational space for Redbridge’s growing population. It is also a historic landscape with ancient trees, including many pollards, which bear witness to its long management as wood-pasture”.

Richard continued –

“Francis Castro (Vision RCL), the London Borough of Redbridge and the HLF are to be congratulated for this initiative. We hope that the “Hainault Ancient Forest” project will guarantee the future of this special place for many years to come”.

Camelot Path Hainault Forest Country Park is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge.




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Claybury Park Fungi Walk

Our Woodland areas are exploding with life, hundreds of different species each more fascinating than the next.  Nestling amongst the trees and bushes, fungi lurks, marking the pathway to fairy-tale kingdoms…Although they’re not all as sweet and harmless as they sound, some of the prettiest are in fact the most deadly! Mushroom picking can be a little like Russian Roulette if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you can’t tell the difference between the edible beefsteak fungus and the deadly death cap toadstool then do not attempt mushroom picking alone!!

Did you know that there are more than 3,000 different types of mushrooms and toadstool in the UK, 14 of which are deadly? Also did you know that bizarrely the hat throwing fungus is the fastest living thing on the planet? This fungus ejects its spores at an accele ration an incredible 20,000 times gravity!

For more foraging facts joi n our local fungi expert Peter Comber, for a walk around Claybury Park and get a fascinating insight into the world of Fungi.

The event takes place on Saturday 27 October at Claybury Park, Roding Lane North, Woodford Green, Essex.

Booking is essential as places are limited. If you have any enquiries please call 020 8559 2316. Visit the Redbridge i for more information on nature events.

Post Author: Emily Polling