Epping Forest has retained its prestigious Green Flag Award status, recognising it as one of the very best managed open spaces in the world.

Epping Forest joins 14 other sites managed by the City of London Corporation which have also received the awards.

The woodland has over one million trees, some of which are up to 1,000 years old – including 50,000 ancient pollards of Beech, Hornbeam and Oak.

There are also around 500 rare and endangered insect species in the forest.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee, said: “These awards are a testament to the dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteers who help to keep the world class standard of the site.

“Epping Forest is a beautiful open space of national and international conservation importance, known as the green lungs of London.

“The ancient woodland is an intrinsic part of the local community and a hugely valuable natural resource for the 4.2 million visits we welcome every year.”

The international award is now into its third decade which rewards well-managed parks and green spaces for recreational outdoor spaces across the UK and around the world.

Epping Forest has also received a Green Heritage Award in recognition of its historic features and the high standard of conservation.

It has won both the Green Flag Award and Green Heritage Award since 2003.

Epping Forest is London and Essex’s largest green space and has been owned and managed by the City of London Corporation since 1878.

The City of London Corporation’s green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve.

They are funded by over £29million a year from the City Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.