Hatfield Forest Tree Walk Takeley Essex

Walking trail

On this gentle circular walk at Hatfield Forest, see a variety of interesting trees that make the Forest a site of great historical and ecological importance. It's an easy walk if you don't want to get your shoes muddy....buggy friendly along board-walks and mostly hard surfaces (April to Oct) During the winter months you will have to book your parking for weekends and school holidays.

An easy walk for the whole family


Map route for Hatfield Forest tree walk


Main entrance car park (A) or Discovery Room next to Shell House (H), grid ref: TL547203


Starting from the entrance car park, turn right out of the car park, go through the gate and follow the access road. Look out for the 400-year-old oak (shown) at (A) on your left, shortly followed by the hornbeam (B) on your right after a right-hand bend in the road.

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400 year old oak tree at Hatfield Forest


Follow the road until a field maple (C) on your right. Turn left along the sign-posted boardwalk, looking out for the 400-year-old hornbeam pollard on your left (D) just before the boardwalk bears slightly right, taking you to (E), a huge coppiced field maple.

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Hatfield Forest Tree walk 400 year old hornbeam


Bear left and follow the boardwalk through the gate and enter the heavily shaded Gravel Pit Coppice. Look out for a coppiced hornbeam at (F). The boardwalk finishes at (G), an area of coppiced alder growing along the dam alongside the lake. Alder was traditionally used for clog-making.

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Coppiced wood at Hatfield Forest


Follow the path alongside the lake until you reach the Shell House and Discovery Room area; ideal for a toilet or refreshment break. Skirt around the rear of this area, looking out for the oak on your right at (H). An apple tree at (I) is on your right, just before the gate. Go through the gate into the car park and turn immediately right onto the road.

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View of Hatfield Shell House from side of lake


Follow the road from the car park, looking out for the huge Indian Cedar tree on your left at (I). On your right, at (J), you can see an area of scrub that was cleared in Autumn 2019, and then reseeded, as part of a project to restore the historic lakeside parkland setting, suggested in the Capability Brown plan. You can now catch tantalising glimpses of the lake through the thinned out trees. Further along the road, at (K), note some commemorative trees (young trees in tree guards) planted across the plain. Shortly afterwards the road turns right and you'll see a small hawthorn at (L), near to the entrance to Elgin Coppice.

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Indian Cedar Tree at Hatfield Forest


Follow the road to a car park and information point and turn left. Look out for a coppiced hazel on the right at (M). Just past this point turn RIGHT along the entrance road (not the exit route) and look out for an ash tree at (N) that's been cut for safety reasons with a cut known as a 'coronet cut'. Continue along the road back to the entrance car park. Please note: when Hatfield Forest is open, the road is used by vehicles.

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Image of Hawthorn tree at Hatfield Forest on the Tree walk


Main entrance car park (A) or Discovery Room next to Shell House (H)

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Hatfield Forest Tree Walk Takeley Essex


This circular walk is entirely along flat, easy to walk terrain, on boarded or site roads. Care should be taken when crossing or walking on the road as there may be traffic. No bins are provided, please take your litter home. Dogs are welcome, but please keep on leads near livestock; around the lake; wherever temporarily signed, and please remember to remove and dog litter.

Hatfield Forest Tree Walk Takeley Essex

Contact us

Hatfield Forest Tree Walk Takeley Essex

How to get here

Hatfield Forest, Bush End Road, Takeley, Bishop's Stortford, Essex, CM22 6NE
By train

Closest rail stations are Bishops Stortford (5 miles, 8km) and Stansted Airport, (3 miles, 4.8km) and thence by bus (see below).

By road

From M11, J8, take B1256 towards Takeley and Gt. Dunmow. Follow signs at Takeley to Hatfield Forest. Park at Main Entrance Car Park (a charge applies for non-NT members).

By foot

The Flitch Way (from Braintree or Bishop's Stortford). Three Forests Way and Forest Way all pass through the Forest.

By bus

The nearest bus stop is The Green Man at Takeley Street.  This is served by Arriva Route 508, from Harlow to Stansted Airport, via Bishops Stortord.  The Forest can then be entered at the northern end, through Takeley Hill gate.  

The bus stop at The Four Ashes, Takeley, has more services, to and from the airport bus station.  The Forest is then about 1 km away, along the Flitch Way.

By bicycle

The Flitch Way from Braintree.

Hatfield Forest Tree Walk Takeley Essex

Facilities and access

  • National Trust Lakeside café (Licensed)
  • Toilets
  • Baby-changing and feeding facilities
  • Car park (chargeable for non-NT members)
  • Dogs welcome – please keep on leads on leads near livestock, around the lake and wherever temporarily signed