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About Old Hall Marshes

Curlew profile

Image: Steve Round

Our reserve here comprises extensive grazing marshes with brackish water fleets, reedbeds, saltmarsh and two off-shore islands, covering 631 ha (1,560 acres).

In winter, 4,000 brent geese feed on the pasture, with small flocks of ruffs and golden plovers. Thousands of wigeons, teals, shelducks, grey plovers, curlews, redshanks and dunlins frequent the marshes. Divers, grebes, goldeneyes and occasional seaducks are seen in the estuarine channels. Short-eared owls, hen harriers, barn owls and merlins regularly hunt the reserve.

Breeding species include avocet, lapwing, redshank, pochard, shoveler and bearded tit. During migration, marsh harriers, wheatears, whinchats and waders such as whimbrels, godwits and stints can be seen.

The ancient grassland is characterised by thousands of anthills of the yellow meadow ant. The saltmarsh, seawall and brackish water ditches support many unusual plant assemblages and invertebrate communities. Twenty-four species of butterfly have been recorded. Dragonflies include the scarce emerald damselfly and good numbers of ruddy darters.

Opening times

9 am-9 pm or dusk if sooner.

Entrance charges

Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Information for dog owners

Dogs are allowed on all footpaths. They must be kept under control.

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 51.774610,0.838851
  • Grid reference: TL959122
  • Nearest town: Tiptree, Essex
  • County: Essex
  • Country: England

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