The area is part of the green belt and the suburb of Hainault is bordered on the east by Hainault Forest Country Park, by open land to the north and the boundary with the Epping Forest district of Essex.
Hainault formed part of the Chigwell Urban District of Essex from 1933. In 1965 an area of around Hainault was transferred from the urban district to form part of the London Borough of Redbridge in Greater London. The population of this area in 1961 was 7,071.
Although it had been hoped that housing development would ensue from the building of the railway, it was a long time in coming. For some while Hainault station was in fact closed; development began in the late 1920s, and the station was subsequently reopened on 3 March 1931. As a result of the London Passenger Transport Board New Works Programme 1935–40 (not completed until 1948 because of World War II) the line was taken over from the LNER and converted for use by London Underground trains. By this time the suburb of Hainault was completed.