Hatfield Broad Oak - Hatfield Forest

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Hatfield Broad Oak Parish encompasses the 1049 acres of Hatfield Forest, now preserved by the National Trust. Earlier known as Hatfield Regis, the village takes its present name from the massive Doodle Oak in the north of the forest. A former market town, Hatfield Regis developed around an important Benedictine priory founded in the 12th Century by the de Vere family. Only fragments of the priory now remain, around the site of the present parish church. This contains some Norman elements but principally dates from the 15th Century. The library to the south of the church contains an interesting collection of ancient and rare books, given to the church in 1680.

Hatfield Forest is one of the largest areas of land surviving from the ancient Royal Forest of Essex. Once a hunting forest for the Norman kings, the forest has survived largely unchanged through the centuries. Since 1956 the forest has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in recognition of its value as a wildlife habitat. The special character of the forest and the range of wildlife it supports is dependant on the traditional management regimes of coppicing, pollarding and grazing. The forest is now managed by the National Trust and is open daily to visitors throughout the year.

England - East England - Essex - Countryside


Birds, Church, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
03/04/2016 - Graham Keen

Completed this walk today, after some heavy rain ground was surprisingly easy going. Lots of wildlife (deer, egrets, water birds, rabbits etc). Note: the walk is listed as 5.6 miles, on returning and scond check via google maps the walk is nearer 6.8 miles :) Very enjoyable.

03/09/2009 - Margaret Baldry

re comments on walk 1230 I am writing separately to my comment about the walk itself to say that I am very uncomfortable with the comment made by the previous walker about the 'rodents' in Hatfield Forest. I consider this to be a very derogatory (and inaccurate!) word to use and a comment like this should have no place on this website. The presence of children, even when noisy and energetic, should be expected and encouraged (as it clearly is by the National Trust)in an environment like Hatfield Forest. The forest is quite vast enough to absorb the noise and enthusiasm of children and still provide peace and tranquility when needed. (We were there on Bank Holiday Saturday.) I leave it to the decision of the editors whether or not to print my comments.

03/09/2009 - Margaret Baldry

29/08/09 We started this walk at point 9 in Hatfield Forest (plenty of parking there, free for NT members). At the end of 9, don't turn but go straight across the road (point 10) following the signpost, which is slightly hidden on your left, directing you down the lane to Bush End. Unfortunately at point 15 there was a No Footpath sign, repeated further along south along where we should have gone to Hatfield Broad Oak. We turned right at 15, as directed by the No Footpath sign, but there was no further indication how to get to Broad Oak so we decided not to risk a long detour and returned to the forest. I shall contact the county council today to find out why the path was closed.

15/08/2009 - David Pereira and Jeni Chester

10/08/09 sunny with showers, plenty of parking space in the village, we got to point 5 and entered Hatfield forest, if we understood the directions correctly, enter and go directly ahead, ignore any other turns offs track turns right between the fencing, continue 100m past the almost hidden lodge and track on the left, then bear right as indicated on point 7. easy and pleasant walk, some of the directions over simplified distracting from the walk in our opinion, we would do it again, but only, when the small noisy rodents, children i believe their called, are in school.

09/02/2009 - Walkingworld Administrator

Thanks to Adrian Perkins for updating this walk, February 2009.

01/12/2003 - Tara McKee

A good walk, taking in Hatfield Broad Oak. The Cock Inn is well worth a visit. It can be extended by spending more time in Hatfield Forest.

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28 Miles