great places to visit off the beaten path.
The Chase Local Nature Reserve covers 48.5 hectares and offers a diverse mix of habitats. Shallow wetlands, woodland, grassland and the River Rom support an abundance of wildlife. The Chase borders the Eastbrookend and Beam Valley Country Parks together forming a regionally important area for wildlife. Birds receive the most attention with over 190 species recorded in the last 50 years. Kingfishers, skylark, little ringed plover and lapwing all breed here but The Chase is best known for its rare visitors during the migration periods such as pine bunting, great snipe and spotted crake. Other animals include water voles, great crested newts, slow worms and badgers. The Chase has a number of important plants. The easiest of these to spot is the Black Poplar tree. The site contains 6 of only 600 female trees left in the United Kingdom. Other notable plants include spiny restharrow, warty cabbage and black mustard.
Located just off Dagenham Road, between Eastbrookend Country Park and The Chase is the Millennium Centre – a visitor and education centre, which is open to the public throughout the year. The building itself is a permanent exhibition of ecological principles as well as housing educational displays in its public spaces. Interpretation includes an introduction to the history of the site, information on the design and construction of the building along with environmentally themed educational displays. There is a viewing gallery complete with a wildlife room on the upper level.
There is also a Cafe at the Millennium Centre. Visitors can enjoy morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea in a picturesque setting. The Café is open Monday to Friday from 10am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 4pm.
For more information on The Chase go to the website: http://www.lbbd.gov.uk/LeisureArtsAndLibraries/Parksandcountryside/Pages/TheChase.aspx
Closest Tube: Dagenham East