It has been wonderful to witness so many families out making the most of the ‘Lungs of London’ during the summer holidays, inspiring young people to learn about the natural environment around them and to hopefully develop a life-long love and desire to protect of this special place. 

In an ever more technologically connected world, I have been pleased to see on social media how much our visitors enjoy encountering the English longhorn cows whilst visiting the Forest. 

The cows have been in some prominent locations this year, including Warren Hill in Loughton and Barn Hoppitt at Chingford. They do a wonderful job helping us to manage the Forest sustainably, improving the biodiversity of this special place.  An important part of the Grazing Strategy is the restoration of wood pasture habitats. 

Whilst grazing helps us to maintain these habitats it is also necessary to carry out complex works to help to create these diverse habitats and such works have been taking place at High Beach, Rushey Plain, Hill Wood, Fairmead and Bury Wood. 

We apologise for any inconvenience whilst this important work takes place but I am reassured that you will enjoy the rewards of visiting these special places as the mosaic of rich and diverse habitats throughout the woodland continue to develop and thrive for years to come.

We have also been busy continuing the important work of managing tree safety. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ben Murphy says that the longhorn cows help manage the Forest's sustainabilityBen Murphy says that the longhorn cows help manage the Forest's sustainability

Recently it has been necessary to undertake some vital tree safety works in Loughton.  It is with a heavy heart when we must fell trees in Epping Forest. However, safety always remains a priority and when it is necessary to remove a tree for safety reasons we aim to leave as much of the tree as possible and use any wood from the felled trees to provide the dead wood habitat that is so important for many various species in Epping Forest.   

With the transition of summer to autumn we once again find ourselves in fungi season. 

Did you know that one of the reasons Epping Forest is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is due to the number of fungi species that can be found in the Forest, including some very rare species? 

It’s very important that we conserve and protect the fungi in this ancient woodland, so please be reminded that collecting fungi is not permitted.  

Finally, it is always a joy for me to see how local artists take inspiration from Epping Forest, whish is conserved by the City of London Corporation as a registered charity. I was therefore interested to read about how the landscape of Wanstead Flats has inspired local singer / songwriter Rachel Barror. 

You can read about this in our September edition of Forest Focus ( . If you haven’t already subscribed to receive our free monthly Epping Forest newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox, you can do so here: 

Thank you for helping us to take care of this very special and important natural environment. 

  • Ben Murphy is chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee.