WOODFORD (Central Line) LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK (about 4 miles if you include walking round the lake)
Churchill's statue.To find this, take the main exit from the Tube marked ‘The Broadway’, turn left from the station, pass some trees and go up Snakes Lane West. Follow this to the top of the (not steep) hill, which takes about ten minutes, and then turn left down Broomhill Road. Cross Broadmead Road/A1009 at the lights to reach Woodford Green itself. There is an path (surprisingly, it's not surfaced) which runs the full length of the green down an avenue of poplars towards the bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill (David McFull, 1959). In wet weather you might have to continue up Broomhill Road instead, a less attractive option. A little further on, to the left, is the handsome Hurst House c.1714. After seeing this, use the link road (Bunces Lane) to get to High Road Woodford Green, cross at the lights and walk to the right.
If you look in a small clearing in the trees near a large road sign, you will discover a cast-iron Parish water pump painted white. Soon after this the road splits. Ignore the first traffic island and follow the path round to the left, crossing carefully at the second island into Woodford New Road. Continue walking parallel to the green along what is now High Road Woodford Green.
On the corner just before Chingford Lane is a large building, Higham House, which dates back to the 18th century. It's now part of the Woodford County High School for Girls, the modern part of which you will have passed earlier. Cross Chingford Lane and go straight ahead along the High Road. No. 343 (late 18th century) is an attractive house with large arched windows and nearby is the late-Georgian Castle Hotel.
The Highams Park Continue walking along the High Road, passing a parade of shops. Opposite is large grassy area, which you could explore as an alternative to visiting the park. However, if you wish to wander round the lake mentioned above, turn left down High Elms, then left again. You will end up in Mill Lane. Go right and at the end turn right again into Chingford Lane. After a few minutes cross at Village Heights (yet another pleasant green) and go down Montalt Road. This soon becomes Henry’s Avenue. Shortly you will come across an unmarked turning to the right. This will take you into the park – it’s about ten minutes from the High Road. Before you head for the woods on the left have a look at the excellent info board. Near the playground there are a couple of small entrances (one a stile) half-hidden in the trees which give access to the lake. If you have a buggy or wheelchair you will need to proceed to the end of the path that skirts the woods, turning right at The Charter Road to find a more user-friendly way in. The original park was landscaped by Humphrey Repton in 1793 (as its name implies, it was once part of the Highham House estate). The peaceful lake, formed by damming the River Ching, which still flows in reduced form on the east side, is a lovely place to wander round on a hot summer's day. Bear in mind it can get muddy in places after rain.
When you want to return, retrace your steps and this time walk to the top of Mill Lane and cross the High Road to Johnston Road where there is a duck pond fringed with weeping willows - plus another water pump. Continuing down Johnston Road will bring you back to Snakes Lane West and the Tube station.
To learn more about the history of Woodford click here.
Photos (click on image to enlarge)
Hurst House/water pump, Woodford New Road
Lake at Higham's Park
Water pump top of Johnston Road
Woodford is just one route from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!