Wood Street Walthamstow to Larks Wood along the Greenwich Meridian

Larks Wood had eluded me for a couple of years. I would see it as my usual Epping Forest route crossed Oak Hill. It teased me when I was pushing onwards to Loughton and beyond – a detour and distraction – a pull away from the forest – there it was seductively poking above the rooftops of Highams Park.

Larks Wood

On a couple of occasions on winter walks when the light drew in I made towards it but always got bogged down navigating my way around Highams Park Lake and across the Ching, eventually getting lost in the ‘delightful’ suburban swamp that lies on the eastern side of the railway tracks. I would end up finishing my walk in the Tesco superstore in the dark and watching the level crossing.

Wood Street Market

So this time I set out with Larks Wood as my destination, noticing when I referred to my map sat by the standing stones at the end of Wood Street that my path followed the Greenwich Meridian. I couldn’t resist a mooch in Wood Street Market and picked up some copies of Crisis in the second-hand bookshop next door.

Larks Wood Bluebells

Finally arriving at Larks Wood in the early evening I found a tranquil scene of bluebell carpets and only 2 other walkers. To be honest the view across the Lea Valley was not what I’d hoped for – if you push on a little further north there are majestic vistas westwards from Pole Hill, Yardley Hill, and Barn Hill. But it was beautifully peaceful sitting there on the edge of the wood capturing a timelapse on my GoPro. So much so I forgot to have a look at the site of the Larkswood Lido – an excuse for a return journey.

The Wood Street Stones

Escaping along Wood Street, Walthamstow from the Tumble in the Jungle softplay I again noticed the curious old stones that litter the grass area abutting Whipps Cross Roundabout. The ones in the picture look as though they are ‘unworked’, natural rocks, possibly like those desposited by glacial flows (there was one such stone next to the bus stop at Wooburn Green). Nearby are others that are smooth and seem to have been worked by a mason and are slightly blackened. Before I get too carried away speculating about mark stones and lost neolithic monuments of Epping Forest I’d suggest that they are the remains of an old derelict building, most likely a church. Checking a local history pamphlet sheds no light – no mention of old stone buildings. So maybe…

As a snippet of dereliction fetish how about this spiral staircase running up the side of a boarded up office block, again on Wood Street – deserves the building to be restored just to keep it company.

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