|The 6,000 acres of Epping Forest is the largest public open space in the London area.
This Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), was once a royal hunting ground with little regard for the rights of commoners.
The land owners throughout the forest had the rights of timber from the trees, and the commoners only had the rights to the limbs of the trees for fuel and usable timber.
So trees were "pollarded" or harvested by the paring of the upper tree growth.
In fact today, it is reckoned that nearly all the trees in the forest have been pollarded at one time or another, thereby aiding good growth.
But in an Act of Parliament passed in 1878, the Corporation of London took control of the forest for the safekeeping of the land.
The act entrusted the ownership and care of Epping Forest to the Corporation, with a second act making similar provision for other open spaces under teh same threat.
Today, commoners still have right to graze livestock within the land of Epping Forest, and a herd of 50 rare Long-horn cattle can still be seen.