This period of midwinter may give the impression of being a dormant time in Epping Forest, but looks can be deceiving.

Underground, the spring flowers are making their comeback, on the trees buds are erupting, ready to provide the new set of ‘clothes’ for the year ahead, and the tree canopy is a hive of activity with birds.

The forest is in a period of transition, moving from the depths of winter to the exciting start of the spring season.

Likewise, the management of Epping Forest is undergoing some major changes, as we build on all that we have achieved to date and position ourselves to ensure we can thrive and embrace the many new challenges the future holds. We’ll have further updates to announce on this as the year progresses.

With the arrival of Spring, we’d like to ask for your help in protecting one of this country’s iconic spring flowers; the native English bluebell. We’re very pleased that these beautiful and delicate blooms, which are becoming increasingly rare, are currently thriving in some of our woodland sites at Epping Forest.

Many of you will be familiar with the spectacular display that can be found in Chalet Wood in Wanstead Park during April/May, indeed we experience extremely high visitor numbers at this time.

To ensure that the pressure from visitors is not detrimental to the bluebells we ask that visitors stick to paths, are very careful not to step on the bluebells and, as with all wildflowers, do not pick the flowers.

Whilst the new shoots which will form the bluebell flowers are just starting to appear it is important that these do not get trodden on. These flowers are very sensitive and stepping on these new shoots will stop the flowers from coming through.

Indeed the disruption to the bulbs below ground and this new growth can prevent the bluebells from flowering for several years to come, if ever.

To this end we are installing some helpful new signage at Chalet Wood to remind our visitors how they can help us to conserve and protect this annual spectacle for future generations to enjoy.

Somewhere else you’ll be seeing new signage is at Hill Wood in High Beach. This will provide information for our visitors about why this ever-popular area of Epping Forest is historically important as well as presenting some walking trails that can be enjoyed in the vicinity.

In addition to the new signage, we’ll be improving the car parking area at this site, the first of many of our car parks to receive improvements this year.

If you haven't visited the forest for a while, I encourage you to get out and witness mother nature at her finest.

Please do continue to share your photos with us on our social media, using the hashtag #EppingForestSpring23.

  • Ben Murphy is the chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee