The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a London borough in north east London, England. The local authority is Waltham Forest London Borough Council. It covers an overall area of about 14.99 square miles. The borough is positioned between Epping Forest and Essex towards the north, Redbridge in the east, Newham and Hackney in the south, and Haringey and Enfield in the west, exactly where the River Lea and Lea Valley and the surrounding parkland forms a green corridor separating north and east London. Key districts are Leyton and Leytonstone in the south, Walthamstow at the centre, and Chingford in the north.
In accordance with population estimates from the middle of 2014, Waltham Forest is a borough with a permanent population of about 268020 inhabitants. The north and south of the borough, split by the North Circular Road, contrast markedly in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic indicators, with built-up urban districts in the south having inner-city characteristics, and more affluent residential development in the north with open spaces, parks, and playing fields.
Historically called the seat of the Arts and Crafts Movement under the stewardship of William Morris, Waltham Forest continues to support many contemporary artists and art groups. These include the North East London Independent Artists group, primarily based at the Changing Room Gallery in Lloyd Park, the 491 Gallery in Leytonstone, along with a variety of independent artists, also primarily in the Leytonstone area. Waltham Forest was among the list of six London boroughs that hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics.