An encounter with a cow and a veteran paratrooper were among the highlights of a royal visit to Epping Forest five years ago this week.

Prince Harry landed in Chingford to begin his tour of glorious Epping Forest.

His Royal Highness arrived without the pomp expected from the fifth royal in line to the British throne, but with a modest entrance at Barn Hoppitt car park, in Chingford.

The Prince is touring Epping Forest to visit the Wood Pasture Restoration Project, an initiative aiming to create a global network of forests.

Harry’s first point of call took him to the outskirts of north Chingford to take in the beautiful surrounds of Epping Forest.

Getting up close and personal he came face to face with an English Longhorn cow and her calf.

This provided the moment of the day as the protective mother returned Harry’s smiling gaze with a threatening ‘moo’.

Rangers explained the important role these rare cows play in maintaining the woodland’s biodiversity, and their 1,000-year history roaming Epping Forest.

In the most poignant part of Harry’s trip, he met Sam Hobbs, 26, a veteran paratrooper who lost the lower part of his leg in the Falkland Islands.

In conversation with the Prince, Sam said: “Becoming a forest keeper has changed my life massively.

“As you know, coming out of the force is an up and down rollercoaster.”

The 32-year-old Prince, who left the British Army in 2015 after a 10-year service, said to Sam: “When you go through the whole training process you paratroopers are taught to forget any emotion.

“You’re tough as nails.

“But it is key to remember when you leave the force you have to somehow reintegrate yourself back into society.”

Talking as the sun bathed the woodland clearing, Harry admitted: “This must be one of the best places to work.”

After meeting the Prince, Sam explained how he lost his leg and his dream to compete at the Invictus Games in Sydney in 2018.

Harry created the Paralympic-style games in 2014 for wounded veterans to compete on a global stage befitting their service.

Sam, who did two tours of Afghanistan, is amputated from below his left knee, after doing severe damage to his ankle nerves on a 30-mile hike through the Falklands.

He said: “I just didn’t know when to stop.”

He is now looking ahead to Sydney and is dreaming big.

He added: “I’m very good at 100-metre sprints, I’ve done it in 13 seconds.

“My dream is to run past Jonnie Peacock and tap him on his head.”

After meeting Sam, learning about his inspiring story, Prince Harry left for High Beach, in Epping Forest.

Harry met children from Aldersbrook Primary School, in Wanstead and Walker Primary School, in Enfield.

To round off his visit, the Prince planted a tree in memory of the day and posed for photos under the Queen's Oak Tree, the same point where Queen Victoria opened Epping Forest in 1882.