Henry Reynolds Gardens is a small bowl-shaped park located a stone’s throw away from a busy roundabout on the A12, but you wouldn’t know it. When you’re in it, you feel far from the east London traffic. Like I said, it’s a small green space (although if you’re after more, Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats are just over the road) but it’s been turned into a magical place for children to play.
First up, there’s a playground split into two parts set on springy artificial grass – one part is for toddlers, the other for slightly older children. There’s everything you’d expect – swings, slides, climbing equipment – and it’s all clean, new and well-maintained.
Then, there’s a expanse of grass with trees dotted around, and some more climbing equipment. That’s when you spot the beautiful carvings.
There are several tree trunks set on the side for children to climb over and there are lovely animals and insects carved into them.
The badger catches your eye first, but there are also hares, caterpillars, dragonflies and more.
What’s great is you’re taken on a trail towards the trees at the edge of the gardens, encouraging children to swing from the branches and generally have fun.
We went to Henry Reynolds Gardens because we felt like exploring somewhere new, but we liked it so much that we’ve been back. You can easily combine a visit to the gardens with a picnic there or a meal at one of the nice pubs or cafes in Leytonstone. Or with a bigger ramble in Wanstead Park or across Wanstead Flats.
Other posts about small parks and playgrounds: