A ribbon cutting ceremony was held yesterday to mark the fifth anniversary of the districts centre for visitors

Epping Forest Visitor Centre at High Beech which is run by the Epping Forest Heritage Trust was officially opened by Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing.

Philip Woodhouse, chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee at the City of London was also given the honours to help with cutting the ribbon.

Dame Eleanor had previously opened the centre five years ago.

The event was hosted by Judy Adams, chairman of Epping Forest Heritage and manager of the visitor centre which will welcome its 100,000th visitor later this year.

Dame Eleanor said: "I am delighted to celebrate today the fifth anniversary of the Epping Forest Visitor Centre over the last five years.

"Judy Adams and her volunteers have done a magnificent job building up this great project. It is so popular locally and so important for the future of our precious forest."

The gathering was held to celebrate the first five years, thank the volunteers who have made it possible and look forward to the next five years.

Guests included centre volunteers, superintendent of Epping Forest Paul Thomson, Loughton mayor Stephen Murray and former Epping Forest Committee chairman Gordon Haines.

Epping Forest Verderer Michael Chapman, former Verderer Richard Morris, Epping Forest District Council chairman Richard Bassett and Epping mayor Nigel Avey was also in attendance.