The Woodland Trust

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A forest for the people

Hainault Forest is a beautiful ancient wooded landscape on the northeast edge of London. Around 300,000 visitors already enjoy the forest each year, but the Woodland Trust has ambitious plans to bring at least 500,000 people a year to the forest. Working with the London Borough of Redbridge, they are bringing together Hainault Forest, Hainault Forest Country Park and Havering woodland to create one forest for future generations to enjoy.

We believe in investing in communities and the environment and have contributed £77,779 to the Woodland Trust’s project ‘Hainault – a forest for the people of London and Essex’. Our funding will help build a visitor centre in a newly restored barn. This centre will be a welcome hub for the forest and a base for community engagement events, sparking a connection between woods and people.

  • The Woodland Trust cares for over 1000 UK woods.
  • Hainault Forest sits within the London boroughs of Redbridge and Havering and the Essex district of Epping Forest.
  • People of more than 50 different nationalities live in the areas around the forest.

Connecting people and nature

When asked, 24% of people said regular events would make them visit Hainault forest more. Locally recruited staff will develop a programme of events to help more people discover the benefits of spending time in woodland. Events will include school visits, bushcraft days, ancient trees sessions, family days out, events to support people with mental health problems or dementia, and guided walks exploring the forest’s history, wildlife and mythology.

The visitor centre will be the starting point for a newly improved trail network. The forest includes heathland, grassland and wetland habitats as well as woodland. It’s home to 158 bird species as well as many mammals and butterflies. The trails will protect habitats by localising footfall. Paths will guide visitors to the most suitable routes for them whether walkers, cyclists or horse riders.

“Hainault will host the first ever manned visitor centre for the Woodland Trust. It will make it possible for us to bring Hainault Forest closer than ever to a diverse audience, breaking down physical and cultural barriers. A new platform to show everyone why life is better with trees.”

Ian Froggatt, Estate Manager, The Woodland Trust

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