Nature & Wildlife

Explore our sightings log

  • Thames Chase is dedicated to preserving and improving the natural environment for the benefit of wildlife and people.
  • Our hard work in the Community Forest has had a blossoming effect on nature and its inhabitants, which can be seen throughout the Forest.
  • With a landscape of woods, meadows, ponds and more, the Thames Chase Community Forest has habitats in which to explore the fantastic range of wildlife on offer.

Come and visit our sites, for opportunities to glimpse such natural rarities as water voles, great crested newts and a wide variety of birds and insects. 


Most of the habitat of value to wildlife in Thames Chase has been eroded by development or inappropriate land management over the last 50 years. Few areas are specifically managed with nature conservation in mind. Many of the richest habitats have developed by default rather than by design. Two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) fall within Thames Chase:

  • The River Ingrebourne Marshes Site SSSI at Rainham - a wetland containing London's largest reedbed
  • Thorndon & Harts Wood SSSI - south of Brentwood comprising a number of ancient woodlands, most lying within Thorndon Country Park.

There are three nature reserves in the forest:

  • The Chase, in the Dagenham Corridor, managed by London Wildlife Trust;
  • Cranham Marsh;
  • Warley Place, managed by Essex Wildlife Trust.

On a larger scale, the southern third of Thames Chase provides the richest area for wildlife due to the proximity of the inner Thames Marshes SSSI and the open habitats created by mineral workings. The Dagenham Corridor, the Ingrebourne and Mardyke Valleys are important migratory routes for birds heading to and from the marshes.