Hainault Forest is an area of ancient woodland and open parkland, situated on the outskirts of East London which is well used by schools and the communities that surround it.
It was dedicated as a public open space in 1906, following a huge public campaign in response to the catastrophic deforestation of the site, and is credited with the birth of the local Victorian conservation movement. There have been many improvements since that time, including attaining SSSI status and Hainault forest is currently a highly valued visitor attraction. The remnant of the ancient forest is of historic, cultural and landscape importance on a national scale.
As well as the many and varied woodland walks available for visitors the parkland area has a farm, fishing and boating lake, and café.
In 2019, Vision RCL, in partnership with the London Borough of Redbridge was successful in securing over £7 million of funding to restore and enhance Hainault Forest. The funding comes from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Mayor’s Fund at the Greater London Authority, Garfield Weston Foundation, and from Redbridge Council.
The project’s vision is to make Hainault Forest even better through celebrating and enhancing the unique heritage, character and environment of the site, establishing and improving opportunities for recreation, learning and volunteering and creating a financially resilient and lasting sustainable legacy for future generations.