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From here you can walk in Epping Forest and enjoy a waterside wander as well. The actual can route is about 1½ miles, but allow time for pottering about the lakes.

The Tube station was first opened in 1856 for the Eastern Counties Railway, and partly reconstructed in1893. Before you leave the platform have a look at the wheel motif of the ironwork in the platform roof, then go down the slope to exit the station (signed Crown Court). At the end is an unusual drinking fountain with tiled roof, dated 1872. Cross the road by the lights just to the left of the fountain and turn left along Hollybush Hill.  After a few minutes you will see the pedestrian entrance to the impressive Snaresbrook Crown
Court. Do not be afraid to venture into the grounds!  On your right is an expanse of grass which leads down to Eagle Pond. From here you can get a splendid view of the vast building that was designed by Gilbert Scott and William Bonython Moffatt, opened by King Leopold of Belgium in 1843 as an Infant Orphan Asylum. In 1938 it changed its name to the Royal Wanstead School which closed in 1971. It became the Crown Court soon afterwards.
Go round to the front of the building and from there back on to the road. Here you must turn right to cross at a pedestrian island, as the footpath ends. Once on the other side walk for about five minutes until you see a emergency access gate into an area of open ground, ponds/wetland and trees known as Leyton Flats. Cross over to it carefully (no pedestrian island) and make your way through the grassland by any one of the informal paths that run more or less at right angles to the road. (Use a tower block in the distance as your marker. In a few minutes you will see the golden sand dunes that surround much of the Hollow Ponds - actually a very large lake.) It is difficult to give precise instructions, as this is an informal way into the flats.* Please note that the whole area may become very muddy in bad weather.
The lake was formed partly by gravel extraction and has many little wooded islands. The sandy humps near the water are popular with adventurous kids on bikes and in the summer you can hire a rowing boat.  As you can see from the photo, dogs love the lake too! After you have wandered round the water and perhaps investigated the more densely wooded part of Epping forest behind the pond as well, you can get back to the station via Snaresbrook Road. The best way to do this is to go to the northern end of the Hollow Ponds.Here there is a small pond (known as the Round Pond). Starting from the point where a viewing platform on the main lake is on your left and the Round Pond is on your right, follow one of the tracks ahead and you will come to an open area with an old tree trunk seat. It is very battered, so I cannot guarantee it will be there for ever - hopefully it would be replaced when it finally disintegrates. Walk past this and bear left. In about five minutes you will see a small car park. Pass through this to get to Snaresbrook Road. Again, you don't need to follow an exact route, just keep heading north, away from the water. Over the road, opposite the car park, you will see a track into woodland. You could follow this into the Forest and do some more exploring, otherwise turn right down the road. Soon you will come to Eagle Pond, from which there is a lovely view of the court building. There are many water fowl on the pond, including swans. As you will have learned from the link above, this stretch of water is used by the Swan Sanctuary organization.

Near the end of the road is White Lodge, a handsome early nineteenth-century building. Facing you is the Eagle pub (originally a coaching inn) on the other side of Hollybush Road. Cross over at the lights and turn right to get back to the Tube station. It is better to take the slope you used originally as the station is quite high up - there are other entrances from the High Street, but they involve  a lot of steps.


*If you are unhappy with this, you can follow the directions for the return route in reverse
Snaresbrook is just one walk 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  to see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR