Epping Forest Centenary Trust, established in 1978, has been carrying out practical habitat conservation work in Epping Forest for more than 30 years.
The Trust supports two long standing groups of people with learning difficulties who contribute to habitat management work in Epping Forest.
During 2013, the Trust's part time Conservation Officer led the Happy Loppers on Fridays and a group from Little Heath Sixth Form on Tuesday mornings. Their work provides many of the volunteer hours the Trust gives to Epping Forest to help with habitat conservation.
Some of the work they have done has been in Wanstead. Evelyn Avenue was laid out more than three centuries ago. This double avenue had been restored in the past and the replacement plantings protected with hawthorns and roses.
Where the Avenue extends onto Wanstead Flats, the ground conditions are so poor that hardly any trees survived. In the opposite direction the trees were being out-competed by the companion plantings or by scrub that is increasingly spreading across the grassland. In November 2013, the Green Team assisted by the Happy Loppers, focussed on the south western half of the Avenue, which marches away from Bush Wood.
To restore the Avenue, the Green Team concentrated on removing some of the larger trees, whilst the Happy Loppers focussed mainly on trimming back the vegetative growth at the base of the Limes and trimming back overhead branches to open up views. They also cut back secondary trunks of smaller avenue trees to promote growth of their leading shoots.