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Millennium Centre

The Millennium Centre is a visitor centre which is open to the public throughout the year.

The building is a permanent exhibition of ecological principles as well as housing educational displays in its public spaces.

It includes:

  • an introduction to the history of the site
  • information on the design and construction of the building
  • environmentally themed educational displays

The building forms a natural gateway into the wide-open spaces of Eastbrookend Country Park and the Dagenham Chase Local Nature Reserve.

The centre acts as the focal point for visitors and provides a comfortable venue for walkers, school groups and anyone wanting to learn more about the local countryside or environment.

There are toilets and baby-changing facilities on site.

Location and access for disabled users Toggle accordion

Location 

The Millennium Centre, The Chase, Dagenham Road, Rush Green, Romford RM7 0SS.

Access for disabled users

For information about access for disabled users, visit DisabledGo.

DisabledGo

Opening hours Toggle accordion

April to September

10am to 5pm (weekends 1pm to 5pm)

Car park will be locked at 7pm.

October to March

10am to 4pm (Weekends 1pm to 4pm)

Occasionally the building may be closed for staff training or health and safety reasons.

Car park will be locked at 4pm.

Energy efficient design Toggle accordion

The Millennium Centre has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible both in construction and in use. Many innovative techniques were used in the construction of the building.

Foundations

There are no conventional foundations under the centre. There are a number of large helical screws that anchor the building to the ground. The anchors can be taken out leaving the earth unspoilt should the building be removed at any time in the future.

Wind turbine

This is a clean and sustainable way of generating energy. In this case it generates electricity to power all the lighting in the building.

Roof

The roof is south facing to catch as much light and heat as possible. It’s made of recycled aluminium which means that the roof is made of old drink cans.

It is supported by ‘glulam’ (or laminated) beams, constructed by using wood cut from young trees (from sustainable forests), and ‘pressure-glues’ them together creating a much stronger material. This process means old mature woodlands are left intact and only young trees of lesser conservation value are cut down.

Walls and insulation

The walls are constructed using masonite wood fibre composite studs; external walls (and roof) are insulated with recycled newspaper or ‘cellulose blown fibre’. This enables the walls to breathe eliminating condensation. The external walls are all clad in Canadian Douglas fir wood and 2 trees replace every tree harvested. The windows are doubled or triple glazed to allow maximum heat retention.

Underneath the paving slabs the floor is made of layers of sand and gravel, there is also a layer of foam glass made in part from recycled windscreens, which acts as further insulation. In the summer the slabs keep the centre cool and in the winter they store heat and help keep it warm.

Boiler

Despite the building being 4-5 times bigger than an average house, the boiler used is the same size as one you'd find in most people's homes. 

Rainwater recycling

Rainwater from the roof is drawn into channels and collects in an underground reservoir to be recycled for watering the surrounding plants.

These features all help to reduce energy consumption of the building, ensuring cost-effective building management.

Wildlife Toggle accordion

There is a great variety of wildlife in the area including birds, bees and butterflies.

Birds

Skylarks are becoming rare, probably because of the chemicals used by farmers. Eastbrookend and The Chase are chemical free zones which means visitors have plenty of opportunity to listen out for the music of the skylarks.

During the summer months the scrubland provides valuable feeding and nesting habitat for small birds such as the blackcap. Eastbrookend has also proved to be a good breeding ground for lapwings.

The winter berries that adorn most bushes attract hungry birds such as fieldfares and redwings that fly all the way from the Arctic to feast at the Eastbrookend. Another bird on the lookout for food is the kestrel.

Woodpeckers are regularly seen flying over the area and come to rest on trees of the woodlands. Mallards and tufted ducks can be seen swimming on the ponds and some of the largest flocks of water birds in east London have settled in the area.

Herons are natural hunters and dive for frogs and other tasty morsels of food in the lakes and ponds in the area.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies are fierce hunters of flying insects. The dragonfly larvae lives under water and will eat most other water creatures and small fish.

Butterflies and wild bees

The area has been planted with grasses and flowers so there is lots of nectar and pollen to attract wildlife. Butterflies and wild bees abound and the area is home to wild bees that live alone and not in crowds like honeybees.

Black poplars

There are 7 mature black poplar trees at Eastbrookend. There are only around 2,000 black poplars in the whole of the country and somehow these 7 trees have managed to survive the gravel digging and dumping in the area.

The trees are now able to grow safely inside the Chase, which is a London Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

Friends of the Chase Toggle accordion

Get involved

Interested in making a positive contribution to the management and development of Eastbrookend Country Park and The Chase Local Nature Reserve?

Join the Friends of The Chase.

The group was formed in 2014 and has around 10 regular members.

Main objectives of the group are to:

  • promote the responsible use of Eastbrookend Country Park and The Chase Local Nature Reserve
  • enhance The Chase for the benefit of the whole community
  • improve the recreational and educational facilities of The Chase
  • enhance, protect and promote the natural environment within The Chase
  • protect and promote the heritage and historical artefacts of The Chase
  • raise funds to support the work of the group

New members are always welcome. The group meets quarterly at The Millennium Centre.

Contact us

You can call us on 020 8227 2332 or email rangers@lbbd.gov.uk.