Hainault Forest is an ancient woodland and open parkland, dedicated as a public open space in 1906, following a huge public campaign that followed catastrophic deforestation and the birth of the local victorian conservation movement . The site has gained SSSI status and developed since that time to provide a highly valued visitor attraction. The parkland area has a farm, fishing and boating lake, and cafe. The site is situated on the outskirts of East London and is well used by schools and communities, being a regional attraction. The remnants of the ancient forest is of historic, cultural and landscape importance on a national scale.
In May 2019, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure secured funding of £4.2m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge for the restoration of the forest to its former natural and wild state. The money will also be used to help threatened species thrive, including eleven species of bat.