Larks Wood is a remnant of the ancient woodland of Larks Wood which once included the nearby Ainslie Wood. It is a beautiful wood that includes oak, hornbeam and the rarer wild service tree. Also some hazel, crab-apple, field maple, hawthorn, blackthorn and rowan can be seen around the woods. Larks Wood is also home to some beech and a few wild cherry trees.
Larks Wood is now part of Larkswood Park which includes Larkswood Playing Fields and the Chingford Leisure Centre. Larks Wood was owned in c.1920 by Charles Roper, a dairy farmer who also owned Highams Park and Hale End cricket grounds. Larkswood Park was created by the Council in 1936, at which time an open air pool ‘with accommodation for 2,500 bathers’ was provided, built on the site of Larks Farm at a cost of £24,000. Designed for racing and water polo, it was considered one of the finest open-air pools in the country and was opened on 28 July 1936 by Sir Kingsley Wood, Minister of Health. However, in 1987 the pool was finally closed.
The park is now owned by the Council and is supported by an active friends group that also helps look after the nearby Ainslie Wood.
(Image: Photo © Marathon (cc-by-sa/2.0))