A large number of volunteers flocked to Epping Forest to help out during the Covid-19 outbreak, says the City of London Corporation.

The governing body of the Square Mile, which manages 11,000 acre of green space across London, including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest, saw a surge of volunteers who came forward to lend a hand across its sites, picking litter, gardening, caring for animals and helping visitors to stay safe and maintain social distancing.

Epping Forest volunteers stepped forward to support the team with picking up the large amounts of rubbish left scattered across the ancient woodland on a daily basis – which has been spoiling the environment and putting added pressure on staff.

With an increasing number of visitors to all its green spaces during the hot weather, and with some vulnerable staff shielding, the City Corporation says the response was invaluable.

Epping Forest volunteers included local residents, community groups and people who had been furloughed from their jobs and wanted to play their part supporting the community during the pandemic.

The City of London Corporation’s sites – which also include West Ham Park, Burnham Beeches and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile - attract over 23 million visits a year.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, said: “It has been very encouraging to see so many people volunteer at Epping Forest during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our staff have been working exceptionally hard to keep the ancient woodland running smoothly for all our visitors to enjoy, and having the added help has been invaluable.

“Volunteering isn’t just a one-way street, it also has a whole host of benefits to our volunteers – both mentally and physically, which is why we encourage others to come and help out.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone volunteers at Epping Forest. They play such an important role in helping to protect and conserve this vitally important site.”

All help has been carried out whilst maintaining social distancing. Litters pickers have been provided with information on how to stay safe, and the City Corporation is providing plastic bags, gloves and litter pickers.

Visit the City Corporation website to find out more about volunteering opportunities - https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/management-of-our-green-spaces/Pages/volunteering.aspx