Hidden behind a municipal rubbish tip there is an entrance to a space that was a working farm until 1934 on land that was once owned by Henry VIII.
Here some of the features of the farm have been restored or recreated: meadows and hedgerows, ponds and woodland with mature yew, oak and willow trees, providing a welcoming habitat for great spotted woodpeckers.
A tall Tudor style building overlooks the open spaces – this is a dovecote dating back to the seventeenth century with room for 250 birds to nest. The birds that were kept here were an important source of food. especially at the time of the plague that rampaged through London.
The birds may have flown now – or long ago been baked in a pie – but now bees buzz around, drinking up the nectar and working hard to pollinate the flowers and plants.
The wildflower meadow is full of colour in summer – cornflowers, oxeye daisies and poppies amongst many others.
Ivy creeps along and up and over: hated by some gardeners, toxic to humans but a very valuable source of food for birds, and evergreen all year round.
The ponds are full of life. Water boatmen and pond skaters – insects so called because of their resemblance to these characters – can be spotted on the water.
At twilight the bats make an appearance, darting around from tree to tree; and the creatures that live here, whether they are asleep or awake, can have their nights undisturbed by humans.
Bus 212, 444 or 179 from Chingford Plains or bus 212 or 444 from Larks Wood