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The Epping forest is approximately 19 kilometres (12 miles) long in the north-south direction, but no more than 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from east to west at its widest point, and in most places considerably narrower. It lies on a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Lea and Roding. It contains areas of woodland, grassland, heath, rivers, bogs and ponds, and its elevation and thin gravelly soil, the result of glaciation historically made it unsuitable for agriculture. It is a 2,400-hectare (5,900-acre) area of ancient woodland between Epping in Essex to the north, and Forest Gate in Greater London to the south, straddling the border between London and Essex. It is a former royal forest, and is managed by the City of London Corporation. An area of 1,728 hectares (4,270 acres) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. It gives its name to the Epping Forest local government district, which covers part of it.

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