Thames Chase Forest Centre
Grid ref: TQ 583 862 (click for o/s map)
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The former Broadfields Farm is now the Thames Chase Forest Centre, headquarters of the Thames Chase Trust. New woodlands have been planted over much of the site, and its broad rides and occasional glades have been sown with a grass and wildflower mix. There are two ponds, one with a hide and one a dipping platform, and a network of paths, most of them fully accessible.
This is a large site and is developing a great deal of wildlife interest as it matures. Skylarks nest in the open grassland, and birds such as green woodpecker, yellowhammer, willow warbler and whitethroat exploit the young woodland.
It also has a good population of bats, using the many batboxes that have been installed.
The section east of the M25 can be reached via an underpass (and is best visited when the wind is from the east, i.e. towards the motorway). It is comparatively undisturbed and has good numbers of nesting birds and small mammals.
The main entrance is off Pike Lane, a narrow lane running south from St Mary's Lane (B187) about a mile east of Upminster centre. SatNav: RM14 3NS.
Upminster station is about 20 minutes' walk.
Accessible at all times via public footpaths; vehicle access 8.30am to dusk. Forest Centre open 10am – 5pm (4 pm in winter) every day.
Call the Forest Centre on (01708) 642970