Hatfield Forest is a working example of what a medieval Forest must have been like. It is a landscape shaped by man's activities over hundreds, probably thousands, of years. There is certainly nothing as complete and well-preserved in Essex, and arguably in Europe.
From Hatfield Forest itself, you can visit two other National Trust sites nearby. Follow the road and then the boardwalk from the main car park at the entrance, bear left before Shell House and follow the rides to the south-west corner of the Forest, then turn right along the road. A short distance down on the left you can enter another ancient wood, Wall Wood, and from there reach an ancient common, Woodside Green.
Turn south off the B1256 (Bishop's Stortford–Takeley) in Takely Street, about 3 miles east of M11 junction 8.
Buses run to Takeley Street from Bishop's Stortford and Braintree/Dunmow: get off at Green Man PH.
March to see the golden mistletoe stems on the trees in the plains; May for birdsong and spring flowers; July for butterflies in the open areas and along the rides.