Please respect our local communities and only exercise in Hatfield Forest if you live locally

We are experiencing increased footfall at Hatfield Forest and the ground conditions from the winter weather means that the forest is struggling. Help us and our local community by following these simple steps. Our car park is available for pre-booked visitors only and you will be turned away if you do not have a booking. Please stay in your local area, observe social distancing, be mindful of our neighbours and do not park on verges, local roads or red or yellow lines.

Before you visit

Access to Hatfield Forest from the B1256 in Takeley, opposite the Green Man Pub, may become blocked due to flooding under the old railway bridge, now part of the Flitch Way. The water here can much deeper than it might appear, so you are advised not to try and drive through. Please check local travel news and see the map to find an alternative route if necessary.

Car parking and when you arrive

Wherever possible we recommend walking or cycling to the forest and avoiding peak times.

If you’re local and want to visit by car, there is limited parking, and you will need to pre-book a space in advance. Pre-booked car park entry slots are available from 9.00am until 2.30pm, in half hourly slots, from Wednesday to Sunday. National Trust members can book a space for free; non-National Trust members pay £8. The Forest is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

You’ll need to pre-book by 3pm, the day before you want to visit. Booking opens on a Friday morning for the following week.

Please only park in our designated pre-booked car park. Please do not park on roadside verges, local roads, yellow lines or over driveways. Blocking roads can cause accidents and we need to have constant access to our site – thank you.

Staying safe

Social distancing measures are in operation in the lake area, including the toilets, which are now unisex to avoid queuing.

To keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance when you visit. Look out for signs while you’re here that will explain any changes and how you can access different parts of the site.

If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you’ve been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please don’t visit.


Our café is open for a very limited take away option only, from Wednesday to Sunday between 9am and 3pm.  No outdoor seating is available.

Toilets are open and are unisex to avoid queuing.

The shop, Shell House and Discovery Room are closed.


Manual wheelchair and PMV are not available at the present time.

Mobility parking and adapted toilets are available at the lake area.

Upcoming events

Timed car parking at Hatfield Forest (3 Mar - 7 Mar)

Wed 03 Mar 2021
Book your timed car parking at Hatfield Forest.