Adjacent to the River Thames, this former Ministry of Defence firing range covering 870 acres is managed by the RSPB. A mixture of shallow lagoons, lowland grazing marsh dissected by ditches, reedbed and woodland provides habitat for a wide range of bird species.
Past rarities include
At ground floor level there is a shop and toilets (including disabled), the first floor level provides views over the reserve and River Thames with a café and further disabled toilets.
There are 3 trails, on wide surfaced paths or boardwalks, that cover the reserve and its surroundings.
Starting at the visitor centre the 2.4 km (1.5 mile) trail, with 2 hides, takes in marshland and lagoons and its associated ducks and waders, exiting via a turnstile onto the riverside path with views across the River Thames.
A 0.8 km (0.5 mile) trail that takes you along the edge of the marshland and through the wooded area of the reserve. Many of the commoner woodland species can be found here and during spring and summer Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap may also be present.
This 3.8km (2.4 mile) walk takes you around the whole reserve and all of its different habitats. There are 4 hides and 3 viewing platforms on this trail, all of which are wheelchair accessible. The marshland and lagoons are ideal for spotting ducks and waders whilst the reedbeds hold Bearded Tit and Water Rail and in spring/summer Reed and Sedge Warblers. The pylons and surrounding marshes should be constantly scanned for the various raptor species.
New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet, RM191SZ
TQ 552 792
9.30am – 4.30pm (November – January)
9.30am – 5pm (February – October)
Closed Christmas day & Boxing day
Nearest train station: Purfleet (2.75 km/1.7 miles)
Nearest bus stop: near to the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road, Ensign Bus No. 44, Lakeside to Grays.
Tel: 01708 899840