After a year-long, multi-million pound development project, the Beam Parklands in Dagenham was officially open in the summer of 2011, the first park to be created in London since 2000. The Beam Parklands Project has transformed the Dagenham Washlands, a crucial flood defence and Brownfield site into an innovative, award winning multi-functional quality green space for both people and wildlife in mind.
This 53-hectare site has over 12 hectares of newly created UK Priority BAP Habitat including reedbeds, ponds, wet woodland, lowland fen, traditional orchards and acid grassland.
Neolithic and Iron Age material, plus evidence of continuous settlement for 300 years during the Roman period have been found on site. Particularly exciting was the discovery of kilns used to fire pottery vessels, including jars and dishes, with nearby post holes possibly marking pottery workshops and drying structures. A Roman cemetery containing around 20 cremation burials was also discovered on the highest ground of the site.
The Parklands is now under the ownership of the Land Trust a national charity that holds land, such as the parklands, and enables the local community to use, get involved and benefit from it. The Trust has appointed the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to the manage the park on a day to day basis for community benefit.