The City of London Corporation, which manages Epping Forest, is celebrating the support of volunteers and conservation groups who have given their time to help manage the ancient woodland.
Epping Forest's 227 volunteers were recognised at an awards ceremony in Chingford at Butler's Retreat Cafe. Among the award winners was Sean Green, one of the CoL’s three new apprentice conservation arborists, who has been volunteering for more than a year.In the last four years the volunteers have clocked up an astounding 81,813 hours, equating to 10,226 days of service or 2,045 working weeks.
Volunteer Greer Nicholson said: "I appreciated the chance to meet such a variety of volunteers and staff, and comparing our ideas and approaches to conservation volunteering was very positive - it really allowed me to see how complex the management challenge is in Epping Forest."
Chairman of the City of London Corporation's Epping Forest Committee Alderman Gordon Haines said volunteer dedication helped improve the visitor experience. An example was the improvements made to Jubilee Pond last year, he said.
Volunteer development officer Martin Whitfield has been working with volunteers for more than five years.
He said: "It still amazes me how many people are willing to give so much of their free time to help look after the wonderful place that is Epping Forest. I have seen the amount of time given by volunteers dramatically increase year-on-year. I would like to thank them all for all the time and dedication they have given."