The Southend conurbation extends almost unbroken along the north bank of the Thames estuary but, south of the housing, Two Tree Island and Southend's foreshore are both great places for wildlife and especially for birds.

Castle Point to the west still has a fringe of coastal marshland and at its heart a superb group of ancient woods, while Hockley Woods to the north is certainly the largest unbroken expanse of ancient woods in Essex, and among the best.

To the north, extending up to the Crouch Estuary, is the Roach Valley and the farmland of Rochford, with just a few nature reserves, the largest of which is Lion Creek.