Inventory Site Record

Ainslie Wood (Waltham Forest)

Brief Description

Ainslie Wood, together with nearby Larks Wood, is an area of ancient woodland that at one time was part of the Forest of Essex, now surrounded by suburban housing, Ainslie Wood was joined to Larks Wood until early in the C20th, privately owned and not publicly accessible until relatively recently, when its preservation became the responsibility of LB Waltham Forest. Ainslie Wood contains a number of Wild Service Trees, relatively rare in urban woodland, and an indicator of ancient woods.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Endsleigh Wood
Site location:
Ainslie Wood Road, Rolls Park Road
E4 9BG
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Waltham Forest
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Highams Park; Chingford then bus. Bus: 97, 158, 215
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.walthamforest.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Together with Larks Wood, Ainslie Wood was within the Manor of Chingford Earls, acquired by Henry VIII in 1544. The last private owners were the Boothby Heathcote family  of Friday Hill House (q.v.). The manor was owned by the Boothby family from 1608 to 1774 when it was bequeathed to Lydia Heathcote, half sister to Robert Boothby, remaining in that family's ownership until the 1930s. Ainslie or Endsleigh Wood was also known as 'little larks' in 1559, and later as St John's Wood, according to a former owner in the C19th, Sir Robert. Sharpe Ainslie, who lived at Rolls. Now surrounded by suburban streets, the L-shaped site has a pond, a number of paths running through the woodland, and abuts a playing field to the north. There are many fine oaks and also wild service trees, relatively rare in urban woodland, as well hornbeam and ash, with hazel, crab-apple, field maple, hawthorn, blackthorn and rowan around the woods. Like Larks Wood it is known locally for its fine spring display of bluebells. The Friends of Ainslie Wood and Larks Wood was formed in December 2004.

Sources consulted:

Robert Burley, Meg Game, Mathew Frith 'Nature Conservation in Waltham Forest', Ecology Handbook 11 (London Ecology Unit, 1989); history sheet displayed on noticeboards.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ378920 (537782,192065)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Waltham Forest
Site management:
Urbaser Ltd as part of the Street Care and Associated Services contract with LBWF; Friends of Ainslie and Larks Woods
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Nature Reserve

Ainslie Wood

Wild Service Tree in Ainslie Wood, May 2020. Photograph Sally Williams

Entrance to Ainslie Wood, May 2020. Photograph Sally Williams
Playing field adjoining Ainslie Wood, May 2020. Photograph Sally Williams
Pond in Ainslie Wood, May 2020. Photograph Sally Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.