South Essex

Welcome to big skies and wild Essex

South Essex holds a suite of nature reserves nestled in amongst the hustle and bustle of Pitsea, Basildon, Canvey Island and Stanford-le-Hope.

You'll find them on the doorstep of the magnificent Thames Estuary close to both nationally important wildlife sites and industrial landscapes. The balance of wild spaces and man’s activity give these special reserves a unique feel.

They afford some amazing views of wild Essex with miles of uninterrupted landscape and big skies.

Summer sees the reserves of South Essex teeming with breeding waders and ducks, along with singing warblers and reed buntings, while skylarks serenade from high above. The ditches are full of furry water voles, croaking frogs, fantastic bugs (including the rare great silver diving beetle) and hungry grass snakes. Full of surprises, these reserves are also home to rare shrill carder bees and hundreds of marbled white butterflies. The marshes are green and brimming with life, working in harmony with the urban habitat around them.

Come winter, thousands of waders and wildfowl descend to feed on the marshes, taking to the skies when a hunting peregrine or marsh harrier is spotted overhead, giving you a spectacular chance to get close to nature. Short eared Owls return to their winter roosts and flocks of fieldfare and redwing return to their winter feeding grounds.

Whatever the season, whatever the weather why not come down and discover what these amazing reserves have to offer and take the chance to get closer to nature? 

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  • Little Egret
  • Bearded tit in the sun
  • Marsh Harrier fly by
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Carp
  • Dunnock
  • Bearded Tits
  • Bearded Tit
  • Common Lizard by David Lee