Escape to the woods and join us to celebrate May Day and the invention of the modern bicycle at Chingford May Day Fayre! To help you plan your day, we've put together a handy list of frequently asked questions, from how to get there, and what to bring.

The event

What is the Chingford May Day Fayre?
This is a family day out on Saturday 4 May for everyone in Waltham Forest. Whether you journey to Chingford Plain by bike, on foot or by train, meet us on the Plain for a celebration of food, entertainment and games. 

How much do tickets cost?
The event is free to attend and you do not need a ticket, just turn up.

Is the show suitable for children and families?
Yes, this event is suitable for families and individuals of all ages.

Identity wristbands will be available for all children and vulnerable adults from the Bike Park gazebo near the main entrance to the Plain. Please email wfculture@walthamforest.gov.uk if you have any queries.

Where is the event taking place?
The main event takes place at Chingford Plain, but the journey is just as important as the destination! The day will begin at 3pm across Waltham Forest as thousands walk and cycle to the Plain (with some special entertainment on the way). There will be suggested route from Walthamstow, and guided cycling routes from across the wider borough (see below). You can also make your way to Chingford Plain by public transport. 

What time do the cycling routes open?
The cycling routes from Walthamstow Central will be open from 3pm. There will be helpful marshals, sign posting, entertainment, rest stops and a few surprises on the way! 

As a guide, we recommend leaving the following times for making the journey by bike:

  • Walthamstow Central to Chingford Plain – by bike – 60mins to 90mins (with rest stops)
  • Leyton Midland Road to Chingford Plain – by bike – 75mins (with rest stops)
  • Leytonstone High Road station – 80 mins (with rest stops)
  • Highams Park – 25  mins (with rest stops)

 Click here to download the cycle route map. 

If you want to make the journey to Chingford Plain by bicycle but don’t own one you will be able to trial an exciting new shared electric bike for the ride up to Fayre - for free. There will be a limited number of e-bikes available throughout the day, starting from 3pm. Look out for these bright red bikes at Walthamstow Town Hall and Lloyd Park this Saturday afternoon.

How do I get a free electric bike? Where do I return it to?
You’ll be able to get an electric bike from two hubs in central Walthamstow - the Town Hall and Lloyd Park. Once you get to Chingford Plain, there will be a clear area in the bike racks for you to leave your bike. Please make sure to lock the bike either to a rack or to itself so it is secure.

What is the cost?
You’ll be able to trial these exciting new shared e-bikes for free as a part of the Chingford May Day Fayre festivities. 

Where can I ride the bikes?
The electric bikes are available exclusively for Fayre goers to ride up to Chingford Plain. You will be able to ride them only from central Walthamstow up to the Plain - please stick to the Council’s planned cycle route to avoid penalty fines.

Will the cycle routes be on closed roads?
No, but there will be marshals in attendance, cycle guides and the routes will take place on quieter roads.
You can sign up to the feeder Ride from Leyton Jubilee Park here or the feeder ride from Leytonstone here

What time should I arrive at Chingford Plain?
Activities on Chingford Plain will start from 4pm and last until 9.30pm. You can drop in at any time. The finale will begin at 8pm.

Will there be a schedule of events?
No, the day is about surprise and discovery! There will be a variety of entertainment and activities suitable for all age groups. We can tell you that the finale will feature pyrotechnics and start at 8pm...

What food and drink will be available at the event?
We are inviting people to pack a picnic or packed lunch to enjoy! There won’t be any food or drink concessions on Chingford Plain, but there are shops and restaurants on Station Road (a five minute walk away). There will also be a community feast from 5pm. See the next question for more details.

Can I bring my own food to the event?
Yes. As above, we are encouraging people to bring picnics. There will also be a community feast from 5pm when Hornbeam Café  and members of the Waltham Forest Faith Communities Forum and other community groups will be sharing food with people who have made the journey to Chingford Plain. If you want to join in, feel free to bring your own trademark dish to share with friends and strangers! Find out more here

Can I bring my own BBQ?
Due to health and safety measures, BBQs are not permitted on site.

Can I bring my own drinks?
People are welcome to bring their own soft drinks and alcohol. While alcohol is allowed on site, drunkenness isn’t. We ask that people drink in moderation and if you are lucky enough look a fresh faced under 25, you will be asked to show ID. 

Will there be vegan and gluten-free food options?
The Community Feast will include vegan and gluten-free options. You are also welcome to bring your own food.

Is there access to free drinking water on site? 
Yes, free drinking water will be available on site. Please bring along a bottle.

Will there be a bonfire?
Yes part of the celebrations will include a bonfire.

Why a bonfire?
The sculptural bonfire has been created by artists And Now: to be lit during a mass ensemble performance that marks the culmination of weeks of engagement activity for residents across the borough. The use of a bonfire is inspired by the traditional celebration of Beltane which used to mark the changing of the season

Where will the wood for the bonfire come from?
None of the wood for the bonfire has been specially felled for this event. Mainly it will be made from timber that cannot be used in the manufacturing or construction industries. Any extra decorative timber will have been removed as part of the Epping Forest management regime. Not a single tree or branch will be felled for the bonfire. 

The event has been approved by Epping Forest and the City of London Corporation, and there has been a full and thorough risk assessment to ensure the safety of attendees and, of course, the precious woodland that the event celebrates.

How is the bonfire being managed on Chingford Plain?
The finale of Chingford May Day Fayre will see two sculptural bonfires erected by artists And Now. The team have over 20 years of experience of creating fire installations for public events, and will be working with the organisers throughout to ensure a safe event for all attending.

From 6pm, a low level fence perimeter will be installed at the base of the fire before the fire is lit at dusk around 9pm. In addition to the And Now team, there will two professional fire fighters, a fire response vehicle and a team of fire watch stewards monitoring the installation.

The bonfires have been erected a safe distance away from the Forest, with the base of the fire at least 80m away from the Forest perimeter. Chingford May Day Fayre has been planned in consultation with the emergency services as via the Waltham Forest Safety Advisory Group to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all those who attend.

What will the festival ground conditions be? 
Chingford May Day Fayre is located outdoors and on a green field site. The site is generally flat and accessible however please be aware that the ground can be uneven and conditions underfoot can be affected by weather and heavy footfall.

Please wear appropriate shoes and take care in areas where ground is uneven or has been affected by adverse weather.

What efforts are you making to ensure Chingford Plain isn’t damaged in any way?
We are working closely with the Corporation of London to ensure the Plain is returned in the same condition as before the event. This includes litter picking, waste disposal and protecting key entrances with ground guards. The site of the bonfire will have the top layer of the scrub land removed and stored, then returned the week following the event. There will be a scorch mark where the bonfire has been, this will be reseeded and will see regrowth in a matter of days and weeks following the event.

What considerations have been given to minimise the environmental impact of this event?
The wood used to construct the sculpture bonfire is condemned timber that cannot be used in the manufacturing or construction industries and has not been specially felled for this event.

The team constructing the installation have been careful to ensure the wood utilised does not contain halogenated organic compounds or heavy metals (as a result of treatment with wood-preservatives or coatings). Using untreated dry wood with a maximum water content of 20% reduces the impact of the bonfire on air quality.

The fire will be located in an open air clearing on Chingford Plain at a sufficient distance from residential properties to mitigate any potential impact on households.

The sculptural fire installation has been created by artists And Now: and is inspired by a traditional Beltane celebration which used fire to mark the changing of the season. This is a one-off installation as part of the London Borough of Culture programme
 

Will there be filming and photography at the event?
Yes. By entering this event you give your consent for your images to be used for photography or video. If you have any concerns, please raise them with the staff at the information marquee. This applies for all rehearsals in the lead up to the event if you are helping create Chingford May Day Fayre.

Can I take photos?
Yes but only for personal use. Photobombing is encouraged. 

 

Travel and access

What is the nearest station to Chingford Plain?
The nearest station is Chingford, which a quick train ride from London Liverpool Street, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Clapton, Stratford and Walthamstow. 

You could also take your bike on the train to Highams Park station, which is a 15 minute cycle from Chingford Plain.

Does either have step free access to the platform? 
Manual boarding ramps are provided at both Chingford and Highams Park stations, providing step free access to the platform.

Which bus routes can I use to get to Chingford Plain?
Several buses go to Chingford Station, a few minutes’ walk away.  

  • Walthamstow Central: 97 or 212
  • Chingford Mount: 444 or 97  
  • South Chingford: 444 or 97
  • Woodford Green:179
  • Leyton Library: 97
  • Leytonstone Leisure Centre: W14 or 179
  • Highams Park: 212

  
Can I bring my bicycle to the event?

Yes! The event has been designed to enable people of all ages and experience to make the journey by bike – there will be fun, food and fresh air on the way!  View the cycle route map

As a guide, we recommend leaving the following times for making the journey:

  • Walthamstow Central to Chingford Plain – by bike – 60mins to 90mins (with rest stops)
  • Leyton Midland Road to Chingford Plain – by bike – 75mins (with rest stops)
  • Leytonstone High Road station – 80 mins (with rest stops)
  • Highams Park – 25 mins (with rest stops)

If you are not able to cycle, you can come directly to Chingford Plain from 4pm and join the fun there.

Will there be bike parking?
There will be free secure bike parking at Chingford Plain. This will be manned by London Borough of Culture 2019’s volunteers, the Legends of the Forest, at all times. There will be bike mechanics on hand to fix any punctures, plus bike entertainments throughout the afternoon on the routes to Chingford.

Is there a car park?
There is no public car park. We would encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport wherever possible.
Limited accessible parking is available and is free of charge for Blue Badge holders only. Friends or family arriving in separate vehicles will not be able to use this facility. Spaces must be applied for in advance of the event and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to request a space, please email wfculture@walthamforest.gov.uk

Is Chingford May Day Fayre suitable for those who are hard of hearing, or Deaf or deaf?
Yes. The event will feature lots of different activities, so our May Day Hosts will be able to point you to activities best suited to your needs.

Is Chingford May Day Fayre wheelchair accessible?
Yes, but please be aware that although good pathways lead to the event site, some of them leading on to the main site are on scrub land. There will be a ground protected route onto the Plain if weather makes the paths too muddy. 

Will there be allocated seating available? What about those who find it difficult to stand for extended periods?
You are invited to bring seating to the event; whether that be a picnic blanket or chair.

Is the show suitable for someone with photosensitive epilepsy?
The finale may contain flashing lights which could trigger photosensitive epilepsy.

What advice is there for people with sensory needs?
The event will have areas of music and excitement, and areas of quiet contemplation. Speak to one of the May Day Hosts on the day for the activities and areas that best suit your needs. Please note: from 8pm there will be a finale featuring pyrotechnics.

Will mobility scooters be allowed entry?
Yes, electric mobility scooters are allowed. We are encouraging people using mobility scooters to join one of the cycle routes. 

Please be aware that the event at Chingford Plain is taking place on a grass field site and there are charging points available at the Welfare Tent.

Will there be road closures and additional parking restrictions?
The are no planned road closures for this event. However, from 9.30pm we may close Bury Road from the junction of Stewardstone Road for a short period as people leave the site.

There will also be a temporary traffic control at the junction of Bury Road and Ranger Road in order to safely cross cyclists and pedestrians to Chingford Plain. This will be in operation from 1.30pm to 10.30pm. This is a manned control so will be dynamic to ensuring access routes for buses are maintained.

There are no additional parking restrictions in the area surrounding the event. However, Chingford Plain itself will be restricted to Blue Badge only for the whole of Saturday 4 May.

Other information

What medical facilities do you have in place?
There will be a first aid point located on site. Mobile first aiders will also patrol the site at various points throughout the event. Cycle responders will be back and forth on the main cycling route and will be in contact with all our marshals, guides and volunteers.

What security arrangements are in place? 
Public safety is paramount for all public events in Waltham Forest. An assessment of the security and crowd management plans for the event is carried out in consultation with local police and the security company working at the event. 

Are there cash machines on site?
There are no cash machines on site, but cash will not be required for any of the activities. 

Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are allowed. Rabbits, cats, guinea pigs too – as long as they are on a lead. There will be strict monitoring of poop collection (bins will be available around the Fayre). From 8pm there will be a finale featuring pyrotechnics. At this point we will ask people with dogs to make their way to a quieter section of the Fayre, or take them home. 

Will dog walking on the site be affected?
No. If you’re in the area, please come and join in! Our volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions. On the day of the event, the area will be busier than usual so you may want to divert your usual route.

Where can I find my lost property?
Firstly don’t bring it, if you can’t live without it. Don’t lose it, if it’s close to your heart. If you have lost something dear; please let us know at the Welfare tent. 

Will there be gender neutral toilet provision?
Yes.

Will the event result in litter on Chingford Plain?
Sufficient waste management has been organised to remove any litter created by the event. Additional volunteers will also be on hand throughout the event to keep the site tidy.

Will there be amplified sound at the event?
There will be a PA system. This will only be operational for the event on Saturday 4 May from 12noon to 10pm and for rehearsals Friday 3 May from 3pm to 10pm. Sound levels will be monitored regularly at the boundary to residents in the area.

What is being done to ensure the safety of those attending and of local residents?
Chingford May Day Fayre has been promoted as a free community activity and an ideal family or community day out for local residents. The event is the result of months of planning by Waltham Forest Council with experienced event organisers and colleagues in the emergency services. There will be a highly visible security team at key entry points of the site and roaming security teams throughout to reassure audiences, deter antisocial behaviour and resolve any issues that might arise. A professional first aid team will also be on hand at Chingford Plain with outriders to support cyclists.

I am a local resident, how do I make a complaint?
Please log your complaint on www.walthamforest.gov.uk or call us on 0208 496 3000. Your complaint will be logged and passed on to the relevant team who will be in touch. 

I want to volunteer at this event. Can I get involved?
Yes! You can sign up to our volunteer programme and become a Legend of the Forest here. 

Further information:
•    We reserve the right to refuse entry to the event. See our full Terms and Conditions
•    The use of drones is prohibited 
•    CCTV may be in operation throughout the whole of the event
•    We operate a zero tolerance policy on drugs and ‘legal highs’
•    We operate a Challenge 25 policy on site. If you look younger than 25, you will be asked for ID and alcohol may be confiscated
•    Official filming and photography will be taking place at the event
•    Please help us reduce waste going to landfill and increase our recycling rate. You can do this by simply discarding your drinks cartons and cups, plates and other waste in to the clearly marked bins correctly
•    When leaving the event, please be considerate of our neighbours and leave quietly