Thames Chase Forest Centre

Visitor information

Discover a world of adventure at Thames Chase

Thames Chase Forest Centre offers lots of features and bags of room for an exciting family day out.

The Thames Chase Trust runs the Thames Chase Forest Centre visitor centre, providing the perfect venue for a quick snack or wholesome lunch, as well as the opportunity to purchase local crafts and gifts. Among the Thames Chase Forest Centre buildings, you can still see the original 17th century Essex Barn, stables and farm house.

Formerly called Broadfields Farm, Thames Chase is now home to a variety of surfaced trails, ponds, meadows and even an orchard planted with traditional Essex apple and pear varieties.

Scattered around the site are several environmental play areas for children, including the Snake Stepping Stones and the Hollow Logs, which also offer beautiful views across the whole site.

 

At a glance

  • Walking trails
  • Cycling trails
  • Nordic Walking
  • Play areas
  • Picnic area
  • Café
  • Cycle hire
  • Dogs welcome

Nordic Walking is a full-body exercise that's easy on the joints and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It also has the added benefit of burning 20-40% more calories than normal walking! 

This is a chance to put your technique into practice and meet other Nordic Walkers. Improve your health and wellbeing with a new activity. 

For further information about costs and to book your place, please visit https://haveringnordicwalkers.com/ 

Find other forests to do Nordic Walking here.

Throughout the year you can cycle around Broadfields Farm and explore the local area. 

Whilst there are no specific trails solely for cycling, all our trails are accessible for all and provide a 6.5km, easy and flat surface for families and young learners to develop their cycling skills and explore the forest. 

There is a cycle hire facility available in the summer months in the Forest Centre car park.

 

The Gruffalo Party Trail at Thames Chase. 

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand-new forest adventure.

What to expect

The interactive family trail features all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures.

Follow the trail to help find the missing party items to give the Gruffalo a birthday to remember. Search for balloons, pine cones, apples and the Gruffalo himself, and complete fun activities and rubbings as you go along.

Get the party started with a Gruffalo Party Trail pack

Pick up your pack for just £4 from Thames Chase Café, packed with fun things to do on your party adventure.

Inside you’ll find:

kraft bag to colour in party headband to wear party trail activity leaflet stickers pencil and crayon keepsake sew-on Gruffalo Party patch

Share your party fun using the #GruffaloTrail hashtag.

The Gruffalo © 1999 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Enjoy a tasty treat in the forest at one of our beautiful picnic areas, just bring along good food and company!

We have outdoor seating and picnic tables provided in the grounds surrounding the forest centre and plenty more available around our walking and natural play trails.

To prevent forest fires and reduce waste, please do not bring any barbecues into our forests.

Nearby forests

Sun setting behind silhouetted trees

Named after the Bonnetts family who farmed these fields as part of their Central Farm from the 1920’s, Bonnetts Wood is now the perfect place to relax and unwind. 

Flower meadows, small streams and native trees provide the ideal setting for quiet nature watching, connected by a network of paths winding through the area.

Meadow of white wild flowers with blue sky

Venture off the beaten track at one of London's hidden gems, tucked between the A127 and M25. Folkes Lane Woodland is based on what were previously arable fields grouped around a steep hill. From its top are vistas south over the River Thames to the North Downs and west across London’s Docklands and Canary Wharf. On a good day you can see as far as the O2 at Greenwich and the London Eye. Folkes Lane Woodland is the perfect place to escape and enjoy the quiet of the woods.

Community on bridge over small stream in woodland

As one of Thames Chase's largest woodlands, Cely Woods has an excellent network of paths and is a rich habitat with numerous insects and flowers. 

The wildlife across the wetlands is a year-round treat. Try observing it from the wooden bridge that straddles the stream and see what you can spot! 

You can also continue through to Belhus Woods Country Park via a safe road crossing on Romford Road, where you can grab some refreshments from the Visitor Centre. 

Pages Wood field of flowers

Pages Wood is the largest site in Thames Chase and home to 100,000 trees. This valley of green space offers excellent views as well as a rich mosaic of habitats for wildlife.

It's a great place for children to cycle safely, and also provides a variety of walking opportunities.

 

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