Rainham Marshes is an RSPB nature reserve to the east of London, adjacent to the Thames Estuary in Purfleet, Thurrock and the London Borough of Havering. In 2000, the area of land was bought from the Ministry of Defence, who used it as a test firing range. With no activity for several years, the nature reserve was officially opened to the public in 2006. It has maintained much of its Medieval landscape, and is the largest area of wetland on the upper parts of the Thames Estuary.
The reserve is home to a diverse range of bird species, wetland plants and insects. It also has one of the most dense water vole populations in the country. In December 2005, the site was visited by a sociable lapwing; over 1,700 people visited the reserve to see this bird. Late in the bird's stay, four penduline tits were also found at the site. Entrance to the site is free to residents of Thurrock and the London Borough of Havering.
The site is home to an environmentally friendly visitor centre which features solar panels, rainwater harvesting, natural light and ventilation and a ground heat exchange system. This visitor centre, completed in 2006 at a cost £2 million, was designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects  The building won six awards for its BREEAM sustainable design, including a Green Apple Award, Regeneration and Renewal Award and a Royal Institute of British Architects National Award.
The site is part (77% according to a BBC article) of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) called Inner Thames Marshes, and the part which is in the London Borough of Havering has been designated by the council as a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation called Wennington, Aveley and Rainham Marshes. The area west of a drain running south from Brookway is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR), as well as being part of the SSSI. South of the A13 road the LNR is part of the RSPB reserve, while the northern part is managed by Havering Council.
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|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
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Coldharbour is an area of the London Borough of Havering by the River Thames and southwest of the Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve. It is the location of Coldharbour Point, where there has been a lighthouse since 1885. This point is adjacent to the town of Erith in Bexley, across the Thames. The nearest accessible settlement on land is the town of Rainham, which is connected by Coldharbour Lane; the village of Wennington is also nearby but not accessible by road (both are separated by the A13 and marshlands). The area around the point is mainly industrial land known as the Freightmaster Estate depot. The London Loop passes through Coldharbour on its way east to Purfleet in Thurrock.M25 motorway
The M25 or London Orbital Motorway is a motorway encircling almost all of Greater London, England. It is one of the most important roads in Britain, one of the busiest, and upon opening was the longest orbital road in Europe at 117 miles (188 km). The route does not include the Dartford Crossing, as this part of the route is made up of the A282.
There had been plans to build an orbital or ring road around London since the early 20th century. A concept to build a series of ring roads around the capital was first proposed by Patrick Abercrombie in the 1944 Greater London Plan, which evolved into the London Ringways project in the early 1960s. What became the M25 was originally part of two separate projects, Ringway 3 in the north and Ringway 4 in south. Planning for the two separate ringways began around 1966, but by the time the first sections had opened in 1975, it was announced that the work would be combined into a single orbital motorway. The M25 was one of the first motorways to be constructed with environmental concerns in mind, and the project had almost 40 individual public inquiries. Although all parts of the road were built as planned, some of the proposals drew protest, including the section over the North Downs, and around Epping Forest which required an extension of Bell Common Tunnel. The final section was opened by the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in 1986.
Although public and government opinion of the M25 was generally positive during construction and up to opening, it quickly came apparent that the motorway had insufficient capacity to cope with the traffic. As a consequence of the public inquiries, a significant number of junctions were built to serve local roads, and new office and retail development appeared near these. These attracted more traffic onto the M25 than designed, which has been a regular point of criticism. Since opening, it has been progressively widened, particularly in the stretch near Heathrow Airport, and is still frequently congested. Various management schemes, including variable speed limits and upgrades to smart motorway have been put in place to tackle this. The M25 has remained a significant part of cultural life around London, and raves were held near it up to the early 1990s.Mardyke (river)
The Mardyke (sometimes, but less frequently, Mar Dyke, occasionally Mardike) is a small river, mainly in Thurrock, that flows into the River Thames at Purfleet, close to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. In part, it forms the boundary between the Essex hundreds of Barstable and Chafford. The river gives its name to the Mardyke Valley—a project aimed at increasing appreciation and usage of recreational land around the Mardyke.National Cycle Route 13
The National Cycle Route 13 is a cycling route that is part of the National Cycle Network in the United Kingdom. It connects Tower Bridge in London with Fakenham in Norwich.Van Heyningen and Haward Architects
van Heyningen and Haward is an architectural practice, founded in 1983 by Birkin Haward and Joanna van Heyningen, and now owned and managed by James McCosh, Meryl Townley and Chris Wilderspin. The London architects work primarily in education, and have also worked in the heritage, community and health sectors.
In 2010 the practice produced a monograph detailing their work to date; van Heyningen and Haward – Buildings and Projects. The book was published by Right Angle Publishing and edited by Ian Latham. As well as giving an overview of the projects undertaken by the practice from inception until publication, it also includes essays by Trevor Garnham and contributions by Ken Powell and Patrick Lynch. The launch party for the book was held at Latymer Upper School, a long-standing client of the practice.
|Traditional parishes in Thurrock|
|Other places in Thurrock|
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|Marshes and wetlands|
Parks and open spaces by London borough
|Barking & Dagenham|
|Hammersmith & Fulham|