Eastbrookend Country Park added to TfL map of cultural highlights

banded demoiselle

Eastbrookend Country Park is being added to TfL's map of cultural highlights near to District Line stations. The image shows a banded demoiselle - a species of damselfly - spotted at the park. - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

Eastbrookend Country Park has been added to a cultural map of the capital in recognition of its appeal to visitors.

The 84-hectare park and nature reserve in Dagenham is to feature in a campaign from Transport for London (TfL) highlighting must-see places near District Line stations.

Opening as a park in 1995, Eastbrookend has come a long way since the area was used for landfill.

Before that, it was a quarry for gravel used in the building of the Becontree Estate.


A kestrel perches on a tree at the park which has become a haven for wildlife since its opening in 1995. - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

It has now been transformed into a wildlife haven for peregrine falcons, muntjac deer, kestrels, common lizards and more.

Carp, roach, rudd and bream can be found swimming in the park's lakes, which include accessible jetties for angling and pond-dipping.

Woodlands also boast oak, ash, willow and hawthorn trees, while wildflower meadows are alive with insects.

Cllr Andrew Achilleos, Andy Johnson, head of parks commissioning, and Gareth Winn of the Park Ranger Service

L-R: Cllr Andrew Achilleos, Andy Johnson, head of parks commissioning, and Gareth Winn of the park ranger service, at the Discovery Centre. - Credit: Jon King

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Gareth Winn from the council's park ranger service said: "It's a fantastic site for biodiversity."

A home for flora and fauna, it has also provided a sanctuary for people keen to get out during the pandemic.

Andy Johnson, head of parks commissioning, said the park welcomed a lot of visitors over the last 18 months and will continue to do so.

A network of signposted paths and self-guided nature trails criss-cross the park, which forms part of the Dagenham Corridor, a series of linked green spaces from Grenfell Park to the north east and Hospital Hill to the south.

great spotted woodpecker

Keep an eye or ear out for Great Spotted Woodpeckers which can be found at the park. - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

Among a raft of improvements, Eastbrookend's Discovery Centre hub has been spruced up with the reopening of its café, meeting spaces and picnic tables.

The revitalised facilities form part of wider plans to turn Barking and Dagenham into the green capital of London and encourage people to connect with the natural world.

Cllr Andrew Achilleos, the town hall's member champion for climate change, explained how parks, sustainable transport and environmentally-friendly buildings are vital to meet that pledge.

barn owl

This barn owl was spotted along the Beam Valley where it links to The Chase. - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

More planting - to absorb planet-warming carbon dioxide - is among the measures being taken as the local authority looks to increase tree cover across the borough.

Asked if the council is going far and fast enough, Cllr Achilleos said: "I think we are. We have really started to make that transformation on climate and the green agenda."

The cultural maps are part of TfL’s wider Welcome Back campaign and feature key attractions on each line.

The aim is to inspire more Londoners and visitors to explore the capital using public transport.

Maps for other Tube lines across London can be found at londonblog.tfl.gov.uk/category/sightseeing/

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