Before lockdown, I wasn’t familiar with “Wanstead Park”:https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/epping-forest/where-to-go-in-epping-forest/wanstead-park, but a neighbour told me how easy it was to get to, so we decided to visit. Despite its name, the park is actually in Leyton, East London and has an E11 post code.
A 7-minute train journey took us from Walthamstow Queen’s Road station to Wanstead Park Station. It was then a 20-minute walk northwards through Wanstead Flats (a flat green area) to the entrance on Warren Road
I’d expected a manicured corporation style garden, so was delighted to find myself being led down a wonderful tree lined forest trail – although perhaps the fact that the park is part of Epping Forest should have been a clue.
The park is dominated by water and after negotiating a rather muddy section of path, we walked alongside the circular and interestingly named, Shoulder of Lamb pond. The shore was so accessible and shallow we could have paddled in, and as someone had just left after feeding a pair of swans, they were still at the water’s edge.
Continuing onwards, we came to a long stretch of water, the Heronry Pond. Although we didn’t spot any herons it was lovely to see lots of birds on a gloriously autumnal sunny day.
The park was once the private gardens of Wanstead House which was often compared to Blenheim Palace. Although the house no longer exists, there is The Temple, a visitors centre which was originally a folly.
We arrived at the Café in the Park, in reality a small, but well stocked kiosk with lots of wooden picnic benches. Because of the weather and the “meeting outside” rule, it was doing a roaring trade with people sat overlooking the water. There is an entrance here from the road so it’s very accessible if you don’t want to walk far. We had coffee and although not intending to, a small square of carrot cake for 80p.
Suitably refreshed, we continued following a path past Perch Pond, what is known as the grotto, and what was the remains of an ornamental canal before returning to the entrance via Chalet Wood with Wanstead Golf Course on the other side.
I’ve since learned that the park is particularly noted for its April bluebells but bearing in mind this was one of our favourite lockdown walks, we’re likely to return again before the spring.
Although there are a number of paths, we followed the circular “Chestnut Trail”:https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/assets/Green-Spaces/chestnut-trail.pdf.