Grand Opening of the new Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre

Monday 28th September 2015

The Grand Opening of the new Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre at Hornchurch Country will take place on Saturday 3rd October 2015 at Squadrons Approach, off Suttons Lane, Hornchurch, RM12 6TS.

The day will commence with the Annual General Meeting of Essex Wildlife Trust which will gather 500+ members in a large marquee, close to the new visitor centre and the large recreation field where the official opening, stands and activities will take place.

The Grand Opening Event is open to the public and will be advertised widely. Join us to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre at Hornchurch Country Park from 11am on Saturday 3rd October.

Parking is very limited: we encourage people to attend on foot or via public transport, if possible. There is also a park and ride shuttle bus on Saturday 3 October, from Harrow Lodge Park - see details below.

We are expecting an additional 3,000+ people to attend the Grand Opening of new visitor centre, which will be officially opened by Iolo (pronounced ‘yollow’) Williams from BBC Springwatch. A range of attractions that will be taking place throughout the day; childrens activities, guided walks, displays, entertainment in the ring, a variety of community organisation stands, bouncy castle, live music, beer tent, food stalls and much more.

The highlight of the day will be a Spitfire flypast, marking 100 years on this very day since Suttons Farm became a military airfield. Home to the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War pilots took off from Suttons Farm airfield in early bi-planes constructed of wood and canvas and successfully shot down a number of German airships that were terrorising London. From the early 1920s into the 1960s what is now Hornchurch Country Park was back then RAF Hornchurch, particularly famous for the Spitfire Squadrons based here that served in the Battles of Britain and France.

Sunday 4th October

Celebrations continue on the Sunday with a Fun Dog Show. Registration from 11am; the show starts from midday.

Also on Sunday 4th October Essex Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that due to popular demand Rainham based Lightnin' Drama Group and Thunder Productions will be bringing their wartime musical performance of 'On a Wing and a Prayer', staged in a large traditional marquee at Hornchurch Country Park, the former site of RAF Hornchurch, on which the production is based. Tickets £10 each. To pre-order your tickets please call 01708 522245.

There will be very limited parking on site on both days so people are encouraged to attend by foot or by public transport. There will be a park and ride bus service in place on Saturday 3rd October from Harrow Lodge Park - behind Hornchurch Sports Centre, RM11 1JU - to Hornchurch Country Park, running until 5pm.

We very much look forward to welcoming local people to join the celebrations of this very significant local event, celebrating people, wildlife and heritage.