The Chase can be found in the west of the Borough on the border with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and can be accessed in Havering off Upper Rainham Road.
The reserve is managed by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Ranger Service in partnership with London Wildlife Trust. Amazingly this diverse Local Nature Reserve beside the River Rom was formerly a site of gravel extraction.
It now comprises a marvellous mosaic of wildlife habitats ranging from horse grazed pastures to woodland and wetland. Shallow pools support a rich aquatic plant life and attract numerous waterfowl and long-legged wading birds. The dry acid grasslands also support some unusual rarities. Areas of hawthorn and blackthorn scrub and secondary woodland add further habitat diversity and tall herbaceous vegetation beside the river attract breeding warblers and the shy water rail.
Over the winter you might catch a glimpse of a snipe, camouflaged in the long grasses, or the eye catching vivid green of a teal. All in all a staggering 190 different species of birds have been recorded here in the past 50 years. Not only that but the site is home to water voles, harvest mice and rare native black poplar trees.
There is a visitor centre (Millennium Centre) and the site attracts many visitors for education and informal recreation. The Barking and Dagenham Parks and Countryside Ranger Service organise a wide range of events, activities and guided walks throughout the year and the London Wildlife Trust run volunteer workdays 3 days a week based from the Millennium Centre. Access to Eastbrookend Country Park and Beam Country Park can also be made from the Chase.
- Special plants and animals
- Wildflowers including warty cabbage and hare's-foot clover, breeding and over-wintering birds including lapwing, little ringed plover, little grebe, yellowhammer, skylark, overwintering snipe, teal breeding warblers and water rail. The site is 45 hectares.
- The site is not wheelchair accessible. There are a number of informal pathways through the site.
- Car parks are off Dagenham Road and the Chase near Visitors Centre.
The Millennium Centre
Tel: 020 859 54155