The Chingford area on the outer stretches of East London is getting busier and busier with blocks of flats springing up here, there and everywhere.
But walk along one of the roads leading off the main thoroughfare and you come to a kissing gate – one of three that give people here access into Ainslie Wood.
Nearby Larks Wood rises up over two adjacent hills and can be seen from all around. Here in these woods there is a range of wildlife not usually found in such an urban setting, with great spotted woodpeckers, blue tits, great tits, robins, wrens, long tailed tits and jays.
It is even possible to see a tree creeper, a nuthatch or a black cap amongst the trees. Occasionally tawny owls can be heard at night.
Both woods have clearly defined paths and local people use these as short cuts to walk to and from the shops and the railway station – a pleasant journey and a way of travel that people have enjoyed for centuries.
Oak and hornbeam trees grow in these woods along with hazel, crab apple, field maple, hawthorn, blackthorn and rowan. The wild service tree grows here – a sign that these are ancient woodlands.
In springtime both woods are especially a joy to walk through with bluebells spreading around. Wood anemones appear, with their delicate white petals peeping shyly out.
In those first few sunny and warm days of Spring the trees change colour and become emerald green, heralding the end of the long, dark days of winter.
And in Autumn the beech trees in Larks Wood cover the ground with glistening golden leaves.
Bus 212 from Pimp Hall or from Walthamstow