We are well into the autumn now, a season that many of our visitors declare is their favourite time to explore Epping Forest. And I understand why this is such a popular season, as the rich autumnal hues seem to deepen and improve each day as we move through November.

Of course, the change in weather also brings with it the famous deer rutting season. During the rut, deer are more likely to dart into the roads surrounding the forest around sunrise and sunset, as they seek a mate or fight with competing males. Please do take due care and consider the wildlife crossing the roads which have dissected their woodland homes.

We are delighted to have been able to return the English longhorn cattle to graze in Wanstead Park recently, as I know how popular they are amongst the local community. 

The benefits of grazing are many and one of the recent success stories of the grazing programme has been the introduction of Devil’s-bit scabious, a delicate mauve flower, which has been found growing in the High Beach area and will attract an array of butterflies, bees and insects.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ben Murphy welcomes autumn to Epping ForestBen Murphy welcomes autumn to Epping Forest

We have recently undertaken some clearance work at the Manor Park ‘Triangle’. Our Forest Keeper and volunteer Forest Warden teams cleared 63 bags of rubbish, a car bumper and a wooden door, totalling some 400 kilos of waste! 

The collection of waste consumes about a quarter of our charity’s budget each year.  I hope readers will continue to support us in being our eyes and ears, recording any fly-tipping you witness and reporting back to us on 020 8532 1010 (24 hours).

In happier news, His Majesty The King gifted the people of each county across the UK a native tree to plant in celebration of his Coronation.  

Epping Forest was honoured to receive Essex’s tree, and on October 14, a small-leaved lime tree was planted by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex and the Lord Mayor of London to celebrate the deep partnership which has existed between the Sovereign, the City of London and Essex for more than 150 years. The tree, planted at Theydon Bois village green, joins a wide collection of trees planted across Epping Forest by members of the royal family.  

The event was also a wonderful opportunity to bring together so many local stakeholders and reaffirm our commitment to collaborate to ensure our ancient woodland remains in good health for many years to come.

Finally, if you are interested in joining our team at Epping Forest, who work so hard to take care of this important natural asset, I would encourage you to visit: cityoflondon.gov.uk/ to look at some of the vacancies we have available. 

In addition to paid employment, we always welcome individuals or groups interested in volunteering. It’s a great way of meeting new friends, learn new skills and give something back to the local community.

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