People living near the spot where a body was found say they are surprised it took so long to be discovered in a popular walking area.

The decomposed body of an unidentified man, who police estimate had been dead for up to two months, was discovered in woods in Hermon Hill, near the junction of High Street, Wanstead, on Sunday.

Residents of New Wanstead, living a matter of metres from where the body was found, said the area is popular with walkers, especially those with dogs.

John Duckitt, 41, said: “It is horrible, I feel for the children.

“It is really nasty situation and for it to happen in Wanstead is a real shock to the system.

“None of us noticed there was a body there and we walk past the woods every day.

“For it to have been there so long is frightening.”

Jean Buniak, 90, walks her Jack Russell every day in the woods near the area the body was found.

She said: “People regularly walk in those woods.

“I am shocked that it was hidden for so long. I am just amazed and think it is incredible that this has happened here.

“My dog is really inquisitive and sniffs at everything, I am surprised he didn’t find the body when we walked through the woods. “

Eileen Esparon, 66, said: “I am scared and saddened that a body could be there for so long without being found, those two boys will have to live with finding the body.

“It is shocking that someone could not have been found for so long. I have lived here 36 years and I have not heard of anything like this in Wanstead.”

Police are not treating the death as suspicious and efforts to identify the body are ongoing.

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