Hainault Forest Website

Written, Designed and with Photographs by Brian Ecott

Things to do

 Take a walk in the Ancient woodland and Woodland Trust Fields

The following walk is a good all year walk as it is mainly on surfaced paths. There is some mud but it can generally be avoided. Walking boots are recommended  in the winter months anywhere in the forest. Some of the paths are dual purpose so you can expect to meet horse riders on parts of the walk. The distance is between 3 - 3 miles and you can start in the Country park or from The Camelot. The walk is undulating and you should allow about 2 hours to complete. As there is no signage, photographs illustrate the way. You could print a copy to take with you.

STARTING FROM THE CAMELOT

From the Car Park opposite "The Camelot" go through the gate and onto the main path ahead which leads towards Hainault Forest Country Park and walk for about 1/3 mile. On seeing the view which marks the boundary between The Woodland Trust and the Country Park, don't go through but turn left where you will see a kissing gate.

STARTING FROM THE COUNTRY PARK

From the Car parks and Kiosk, walk past the Visitor's Centre to the end of Foxburrows Road and turn left along a surfaced path alongside the Golf Course. Walk for about 1/2 mile until you reach signpost and the gap which marks the Country Park boundary with that of The Woodland Trust. Go through the gap towards Lambourne and immediately turn right where you will see a kissing gate.

Just before the gap to the Country Park,  turn left.

Go through the gap towards Lambourne and immediately turn right.

Go through the kissing gate and after about 50 yards you will come onto a broad surfaced path which you continue downhill for about 1/3 mile.  On your right are views over the back of the golf course. When the path divides, go through the left hand gate.

Go through the kissing gate.

Where the path divides go through the left hand gate.

You are now on a narrow surfaced path which continues downhill through the ancient woodland for 1/3 mile. As the path meanders through the trees you can appreciate the ancient pollarded hornbeam trees whose limbs were cut for making charcoal. Later at the bottom of the hill are some smaller hornbeams with their tops cut off. This is how pollarding is started. At the end of the path turn right over a wooden bridge and through a gate into a field.

The path meanders through hornbeam pollards.

At the end of the path turn right and cross  the wooden bridge

Turn left and follow the field edge downhill for about 1/3 mile until you reach a gate leading on to a track which is part of the Havering link. Turn right on to this track. It is very muddy at this point but it can be avoided.

Over bridge, through gate and turn left.

Turn right on to the Havering link track.

Look across at the horizon to your left and you will see the White Tower and the Church with tower of Havering atte Bower. The woodland on the horizon is Havering Park and the very tall trees are Wellingtonias which form an avenue in the park. The field in the foreground is often grazed by a small herd of fallow deer

In the distance the White Tower and the Church at Havering atte Bower and on the right a row of Wellingtonia trees in Havering Park.

Look out for Fallow deer, bucks (with antlers)  and does in these fields.

Photo taken 13th Feb 2007.

After about 1/4 mile along the Havering track you will find a gate on your right leading into The Woodland Trust fields. Go through this gate and on to a broad track. This path takes you for 1 mile around the periphery of the fields and back to the woodland. There is a line of newly planted hedgerow protected in tubes on your left. This was planted by volunteers in December. At the foot of the hill look to your left to an isolated oak tree on private land. Beneath this tree is an erratic stone left here from the last glaciation. The path continues round the fields.

From the Havering track turn right into the Woodland Trust fields.

The broad path goes downhill and round the fields. Notice the tree planting on the left.

An erratic stone lies beneath an oak tree on private land.

At the end of the path is another gate which you cross and bear left and back on to the return path. If you are feeling tired at this point stop and look at the old hornbeam pollards along the way. Many of these will be in excess of 300 years old and the branches would have been used by the colliers to make charcoal in the forest - hence Collier Row. The path leads back to the starting point from where you can return to the Camelot car park or the Country Park.

 Go through the gate and bear left.

These old Hornbeam pollards could be around 300 years old.

Feedback appreciated to brian@hainaultforest.co.uk