Epping Forest is an area of ancient woodland in south-east England
, straddling the border between north-east Greater London
. It is a former royal forest, and is managed by the City of London
Corporation.It covers 2,476 hectares and contains areas of woodland, grassland, heath, rivers, bogs and ponds. Stretching between Forest Gate in the south and Epping in the north, Epping Forest is approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) long in the north-south direction.
The forest lies on a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Lea and Roding; its elevation and thin gravelly soil (the result of glaciation) historically made it unsuitable for agriculture. It gives its name to the Epping Forest local government district which covers part of it.Epping Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.Epping Forest attracts large numbers of mountain bikers. Mountain biking is generally permitted except around the Iron Age camps, Loughton Brook and other ecologically or geomorphologically sensitive areas. Horse riding is popular in Epping Forest.A field centre in the forest provides a variety of courses.