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Upminster’s Thames Chase Community Forest to celebrate 30 years of conservation

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 January 2020

Engaging new audiences with wildlife, the Land of the Fanns bioblitz event held jointly with the Thames Chase Trust and the Forestry Commission.

Engaging new audiences with wildlife, the Land of the Fanns bioblitz event held jointly with the Thames Chase Trust and the Forestry Commission.

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Upminster’s community forest centre will celebrate 30 years of landscape regeneration this year.

The Thames Chase visitor's centre in Pike Lane, Upminster is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Picture: Ken MearsThe Thames Chase visitor's centre in Pike Lane, Upminster is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Picture: Ken Mears

Launched in 1990, the Thames Chase Community Forest is a major landscape initiative which works to transform 40 square miles of environment across east London and South West Essex.

The visitor's centre in Broadfields Farm Cottage, Pike Lane is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Trustee Mary Wright told the Recorder: "It is remarkable what has been achieved by Thames Chase in the last 30 years to restore and establish a green landscape for the local community to use and enjoy.

"Having access to the green environment is beneficial for us all and to have it on our doorstep is very special."

Hundreds of runners took part in the Thames Chase 10k 2019 fun run. Picture: Ann ClampettHundreds of runners took part in the Thames Chase 10k 2019 fun run. Picture: Ann Clampett

With just 6per cent of tree cover in 1990 and the loss of 16pc of green space to mineral extraction, Thames Chase's volunteers have worked to restore the 48 varied sites that make up the community forest and provide communities with access to quality green environments for health, recreation and education.

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Just last year, more than 300 people took part in the charity's annual 10km run to raise funds for two new defibrillators for the centre.

Guided by its overall strategy, the Thames Chase Plan, the charity has formed many partnerships including Forestry England and the Land of the Fanns scheme.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove MP on a visit to the Thames Chase Forest Centre with Julia Lopez MPSecretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove MP on a visit to the Thames Chase Forest Centre with Julia Lopez MP

The Land of the Fanns project aims to draw together the history and heritage of east London and south Essex.

Thames Chase has been working with the initiative to engage people in Havering, Dagenham and Brentwood in taking part in conservation efforts and activities that will help residents rediscover the history of the land they live in.

In March 2019, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, MP Michael Gove, visited the centre to find out more about the Land of Fanns scheme.

Mary added: "The staff, volunteers and partner organisations who have worked together to create this unique area are to be congratulated.

Thames Chase in August. Picture: Thames ChaseThames Chase in August. Picture: Thames Chase

"We look forward to the next 30 years of landscape regeneration with our local communities."

The Thames Chase Centre is planning a host of anniversary events throughout 2020.


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