The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a London borough in north-east London, England. The south of the borough contrasts markedly with the north (split by the North Circular Road) in terms of its mixed ethnicity and socio-economic indicators. Taken as a whole, Waltham Forest comprises built-up urban districts in the south with inner-city characteristics, and more affluent residential development in the north with a variety of reservoirs, open space, small sections of Epping Forest, parks, and playing fields, which together cover a fifth of the borough. It is located between Epping Forest District Council in the north, London Borough of Redbridge in the east, London Boroughs of Newham and Hackney in the south, and London Boroughs of Haringey and Enfield in the west (where the River Lea and the surrounding parkland forms a green corridor, traditionally separating north and east London). Waltham Forest was one of the six London boroughs that hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics. The local authority is Waltham Forest London Borough Council. The borough includes one of the highest ethnic minority populations in Europe, consisting mostly of Eastern European and Black British, but it has also an established British Pakistani business and residential community.
The borough was formed in 1965, by the London Government Act 1963, from the combined areas of the former
which were all transferred to Greater London from the English county of Essex. The borough was named after the ancient form of Epping Forest, the southern part of which extends into the borough. There was a petition against calling the new borough "Walthamstow". The Epping Forest Act of 1878 not only assisted in preserving the forest but also helped develop the towns around it: Chingford, Forest Gate, Walthamstow, Leytonstone, and Leyton. The area's location between the City of London and Epping Forest encouraged large scale urban development.