|Hainault Forest Country Park||Redbridge|
Hainault Forest Country Park was formed from former Hainault Forest land cleared from c1853. Formerly part of Waltham Forest, its name may be a corruption of Hyneholt (community wood) referring to the practice when poor widows were allowed to gather free wood here in winter. Once part of Barking Abbey lands, it reverted to the Crown after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1851 2800 acres of woodland were cleared and the land then mostly used for farming, with only small areas of woodland left. In 1902/3 800 acres of woodland and farmland of Foxburrows Farm were purchased by the LCC and opened to the public in 1906. Foxburrows Farm buildings had been rebuilt in 1856 and were later converted for use for park offices and refreshment facilities. In 1939 further land was purchased to extend the public open space. Later managed by the GLC, the park became the responsibility of LB Redbridge in 1986.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2006
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Hainault Forest was once part of Waltham Forest and its name may be a corruption of Hyneholt (community wood) referring to the practice in winter when poor widows were allowed to gather a free load of wood here. What remains of Hainault Forest today is a fine example of old wood pasture: pasture-woodland, or wood-pasture, is an ancient shared use of the land by a local community, combining the grazing of domestic animals with the cutting of wood. It is comparable with Epping Forest (q.v.), with ancient woodland of pollarded hornbeam and peripheral secondary woodland.
Hainault Forest Country Park was formed from former Hainault Forest land cleared from c.1853. Once part of Barking Abbey lands, after the Dissolution the Crown acquired 2800 acres of woodland, which were cleared following an Act of Parliament in 1851 and the timber sold for £48,000; the land was then mostly used for farming, with only small areas of woodland left. In 1902/3 an area of 800 acres of woodland and farmland of Foxburrows Farm were preserved as a result of the perseverance of Edward North Buxton, Verderer of Epping Forest who persuaded the London County Council to purchase it, replant trees and areas of grass and heathland and open it to the public, which duly happened in 1906. Foxburrows Farm buildings had been rebuilt by the Crown in 1856 and were later converted for use as park offices and refreshment facilities. In 1939 further land was purchased to extend the public open space. Part of the Country Park is Hainault Forest Golf Course (q.v.) in the adjacent borough of Havering.
Nearby and across Romford Road to the country park is a small area comprising 14 acres of the ancient woodland that opened in 1995 as Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve, largely through the efforts of Redbridge and Havering Wildlife and Countryside Group. An area of woodland within Hainault Forest, known as Lambourne Common, is registered common land but is outside Greater London, within Epping Forest Council.
See www.hainaultforest.co.uk for extensive historical information. Bridget Cherry, Charles O'Brien, Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 5: East', Yale University Press, 2005 p322/3; Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); Georgina Green, 'The Story of Hainault Forest' Redbridge Libraries Service, 2010?