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Hatfield Forest is a rare example of a surviving medieval Royal hunting Forest, characterized by coppices, woodland pasture and rides.

The coppices have been maintained over the centuries, each surrounded by a low earth bank. Within four of the coppices are so-called " pattes d'oie " radiating from the centre, added in the Georgian era to aid hunting with a gun. Ancient trees have been pollarded.

Fallow deer and muntjac deer still roam through the Forest. Cattle graze in the summer months. There is also a wide biodiversity, with over 3500 species of wildlife present.

In addition to the natural features, the central area contains landscape features mostly dating from the 18th century: an artificial lake, exotic, non-native specimen trees such as planes, yews, horse chestnuts and cedars of Lebanon, and a Shell House or Grotto on the lakeside. Capability Brown was responsible for a slightly later modification to the lake. This can still be seen.

The Forest also has some earthworks of uncertain origin, the Portingbury Hills, and a medieval rabbit warren, both of which are scheduled ancient monuments.

Detailed description added 8/6/2015  

Site designation(s)

Site of Special Scientific Interest


Terrain: Reasonably flat.

Soil type/s: London clay.

External web site link:

External web site link: