Epping Forest's ancient woodland saw record numbers of visitors during lockdown.

People flocked to the forest to exercise and enjoy nature during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

The City of London Corporation (CoLC), which protects the ancient woodland, said the poll showed a 250 per cent average increase across the site.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the CoLC forest and commons committee, said: "Now, more than ever, Epping Forest is playing a crucial in the physical and mental health of Londoners.

“We’re very proud of our staff and volunteers who are working so hard to help our visitors stay safe.

“This country is facing a challenge like never before and we must all continue to follow the government rules on social distancing.”

The 45 days of lockdown (12 per cent of the year) covered by the poll saw 32 per cent of the anticipated yearly visits.

It is estimated that the forest saw 1,377,000 visits during this time.

The survey also showed an increase in cycling in the forest during the lockdown period.

More than 40 per cent of the increase in visitors were by people who had never been to the Forest before, but the majority were from local residents who came to the site whilst working from home or off work.

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