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Ancient Forests and Landscaped Gardens (Part 3)
Most of the people visiting Hainault Forest Country Park are not aware that Hainault Forest proper is not part of it. There is no visible boundary, and the two managements (the Woodland Trust and Redbridge Council) work together so well that the transition is seamless. The fields and lake are definitely the Country Park, as is this splendid view of them from the Millenium Beacon.

The City and the Lake

Millenium Beacon

On the other hand, the scrub behind the beacon is also part of the country park, but even I don't know if the restored heathland is or is not, though the cattle grazing there undoubtedly belong to the rare breeds farm which is one of the attractions of the country park.

Cattle in the Country Park 2

Redbridge Council have done a great deal to make the park interesting to children and the casual visitor (while the Woodland Trust is more concerned with preserving and restoring the ancient forest.) Attractions include the challenging rope walk

Rope Walk 4

and a number of carvings, using fallen and cleared trees. (Though most of the fallen trees are left to rot, as havens for wildlife.) The most spectacular (and educational) of these is known locally as "woodhenge".

Wildlife Henge

These posts are carved with images from nature and can be used as teaching aids.

Insect Pole


But there are also sudden, quite unexpected carved seats...

Bench 1

Tree Seat

The best part of the park, though, is the lake, which is home to breeding pairs/flocks of Canada geese, swans, coots, moorhens, heron, mallard and all the usual local suspects.

Line astern

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Still looks great for walking out there in Essex. All those wood carved animal sculptures are fabulous!

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