Dagenham Chase is one of the largest nature reserves in the London area, and it would certainly take a whole day to cover the site thoroughly. The website can be found here.
The main area of the reserve is the Slack, an area of shallow water that attracts winter wildfowl, waders and gulls. It has attracted Great Snipe, Temminck's Stint, Sanderling, Spotted Crake and Lapland Bunting over the years. More recently it has become a roosting area for Little Egrets, in winter they can often be seen on sunny days on the south-facing side of brambles and other vegetation. Garganey are fairly regular in Spring, and Ring Ouzel sightings are fairly regular in April and early May. The Slack suffers from disturbance by dogs, people and Sparrowhawks, which means birds frequently do not stick around.
The surrrounding area is extensive hawthorn scrub, with open areas. By the river Rom is a stand of rare Black Poplar trees, there is also large areas or grassland and enclosures with maturing trees in them. In cold weather the Eastbrook School Playing Fields are an excellent site for Lapwing, Gulls and Golden Plover, which are often dispersed by Sparrowhawks and more recently Peregrine Falcons.
There are numerous gravel pits on site and the hotspot is Chase Waters (formerly known as White Hart East). Chase Waters is the 2nd pit on the left along the no through road. It has attracted Red-footed Falcon (18 May 2008), Black-necked Grebe, Red-necked Grebe and a pair of Slavonian Grebes, which stayed for over two weeks. The birds arrived in heavy moult but swiftly attained their superb summer plumage which culminated in the birds displaying and even copulation took place! Other goodies include the well twitched Pine Bunting and breeding Marsh Warblers on a single occasion.
The Chase is situated along Dagenham Road and is well signposted from Rush Green Road, Rainham Roads South and North.
There is adequate parking in the Millenium centre car park, ( on the right about 25 yds along the no through road).
Visitor Centre Tel: 0208 595 4155.
The nearest tube station is Dagenham East on the district line Map . If you are walking from here turn left, continue on to and walk across Reede Road, then use the crossing by the shops. The Chase can be accessed by taking the public footpath by the side of Ladbrokes the bookmakers.The 174 bus goes directly to the Chase, it can be boarded at Dagenham Heathway tube station on the district line or in Romford town centre.
On Site Directions:
There is a very useful map on the notice boards either side of the visitor centre for those who are unfamiliar with the site.