One of the real pluses of living in this area is the green oasis that is Wanstead Park.

It is a place many of us go to breathe in the natural world.

During the period of lockdown, many people have come to the park in search of peace, walking around the lakes and across forest land. It is our green lung.

The history of the park is legendary, with the famous Wanstead House that used to sit in an area now occupied by the golf course, dominating it.

At the recent AGM of the Friends of Wanstead Park, Nigel Fransceschi showed some pictures of the site as it used to be in the 18th Century. They gave a great perspective, with the house, the vista running down to the Ornamental Lake, then on the other side the basin pond (now part of the golf course, opposite Overton Drive) surrounded by trees.

Nigel is working with Dr Hannah Armstrong on a new book called Wanstead House: East London's lost Palace.

No doubt the history of the Childs family (who owned the house) and the final tragic tale of William Wellesley Pole and Catherine Tylney Long will feature prominently.

There is much also going on with the natural development of the park. The Park Plan, which has been some years in the making, has now gone through the various approval stages of the City of London Corporation. This will hopefully be implemented alongside the flood prevention work that the corporation is having to do to meet its statutory obligation in addressing flood risk.

These works will hopefully see the lakes restored, with water levels being sustained. Better walkways, signage and a visitors centre are all projects on the horizon.

Geoff Sinclair, operations manager of Epping Forest, and his team are already making improvements, such as the cutting back and opening up of the area around the Perch Pond.

The Glade, running down to the Ornamental Lake, has also been restored to some of its former glory, with some cutting back.

So there is much happening and more to come in the park.

The recent lockdown period has also underlined some of the requirements going forward, such as clearer indications for cyclists as to where they can go.

Where Wanstead Park is unique is in its multi-faceted nature, There is the wild wilderness, the history of the house, bound up with that of the East India Company, and even further back a Roman settlement on the site. Something for everyone, as it were. Lets hope the ongoing developments over the coming years help bring together all of these unique aspects in a 21st century thriving context. The park has certainly never been more popular than over the period of the pandemic.