King’s tree planted in Epping Forest to mark Coronation
A tree donated to the people of Essex by His Majesty King Charles III has been planted in Epping Forest in celebration of his Coronation.
The small-leaved lime tree was planted today (Saturday) by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, on the village green in Theydon Bois, which forms part of the ancient woodland of Epping Forest, conserved by the City of London Corporation as a registered charity.
A scarce native tree of central and southern England, the small-leaved lime can grow up to 25 metres tall. Its sweet-smelling summer flowers attract a huge number of insects and pollinators looking for nectar, while its leaves are popular with caterpillars of the Lime hawk moth, among other species.
Epping Forest is internationally important and listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation, and one of the few remaining extensive natural woodlands in southern England.
The site is London’s and Essex’s largest free open green space, attracting more than ten million visits each year. It comprises of a core of 5,900 acres, supported by an additional 1,800 acres of ‘buffer’ land, to help protect it from encroachment and to preserve the local environment and its wildlife.
It has been owned and managed by the City Corporation since 1878 when Parliament created the Epping Forest Act and protected it forever for the recreation and enjoyment of visitors. Under the terms of the Act, the Sovereign appoints a Ranger to work alongside the Conservators in upholding the law. This post is currently occupied by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who remains a frequent visitor.
Epping Forest is steeped in Royal history. It was opened by Queen Victoria on 6th May 1882 when she made a public address under the Queen’s Oak Tree in High Beech dedicating the forest to “the use and enjoyment of my people for all time”. Henry VIII commissioned a Hunting Lodge in Chingford, which was later used by Elizabeth I and James I and remains open as a museum.
In March 2017, Prince Harry visited Epping Forest to celebrate it being designated as part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II designated Epping Forest as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy and as one of only 70 ancient woodlands in the United Kingdom.
Chairman of the City Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, Ben Murphy, said:
“We are deeply honoured to be planting a tree donated by His Majesty The King in Epping Forest.
“It continues a long tradition for the Royal Family and allows the Conservators to bring together many of our partners in Essex to think about The King’s interest in nature conservation and the role that plays in tackling climate change.”
Lord Mayor of the City of London, Nicholas Lyons, said:
“We are delighted that the Lord Lieutenant chose to plant a tree to mark The King’s Coronation in Epping Forest.
“The Forest has over one million trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old – including more than 50,000 ancient pollards of beech, hornbeam, and oak.
“This small-leaved lime will join them in supporting a wealth of wildlife including many rare and vulnerable species.”
The Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, said:
“I was so pleased when it was suggested that Epping Forest with its magnificent history might be where the county of Essex plants a tree to mark King Charles III’s Coronation.
“HM The King is well known for his interest in the environment so what could be better than to plant this special tree amongst the 2,400 hectares of ancient woodland which has been providing a wonderful natural environmental and eco system for millennia.
“Furthermore, because the Forest is so well looked after, so will this tree be cared for in the same way.”
The City Corporation manages over 11,000 acres of open space in London and southeast England, including Hampstead Heath and Burnham Beeches, and over 180 smaller sites in the Square Mile, investing over £38m a year.
The City Corporation’s green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve.
They include important wildlife habitats, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves, and are protected from being built on by special legislation.
About City of London Corporation:
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk