Account compiled by Gerald Lucy for Essex Field Club website
Created in 1995, Eastbrookend Country Park is situated in the ‘Dagenham
Corridor’, a strip of green belt land that separates Dagenham from Romford. The
site of the country park was previously used for quarrying sand and
gravel and the numerous lakes were former pits which, in the 1920s provided
aggregate for the giant Becontree housing estate nearby. Gravel was still being
extracted in 1977 when a dragline operator found several fine
Palaeolithic hand-axes in a pit (TQ 509 855) close to what was then May &
Baker’s pharmaceutical factory.
South of the railway, and accessible by a footbridge, is Boyer’s Lake (TQ 505
852) which is also a former gravel pit. During its working life this pit also
yielded Palaeolithic flint tools including six hand-axes which are now in the
Museum of London. Adjacent to Boyer’s Lake is the Beam Valley, an
important area for nature conservation which is shortly to be developed as an
extension to the Country Park.
Eastbrookend Country Park is of geological interest as it straddles two
adjacent terraces of the Thames. North of the railway is the higher Lynch
Hill/Corbets Tey Terrace and the gravel of this terrace is thought to have been
laid down by the river about 300,000 years ago (Marine Isotope Stages
10-8). South of the railway, and at a lower elevation, is the younger
Taplow/Mucking Terrace and the gravel here is about 200,000 years old (Marine
Isotope Stages 8-6). From the grid references given in the reports of the
finds the flint tools appear to have been associated with two separate terraces
and are therefore of different ages. However, it is most likely that they all
came from the gravel of the lower terrace. The makers of these tools were
tribes of nomadic Neanderthal hunters exploiting the wildlife on what was
then the shoreline of the Thames.
The Country Park has a visitor Centre known as the Millennium Centre.