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West Canvey Marshes


Grid ref: TQ 775 842 (click for o/s map)

Updated 31/12/2021.

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Acquired by RSPB in 2006, this large area of coastal grazing marsh is managed principally for breeding waders such as lapwings and redshanks, using a mix of cattle grazing and hay cutting, plus control of water levels.

The saltmarsh alongside Benfleet Creek already has the highest density of breeding redshanks in Essex. The north and west sides of the reserve are bounded by tidal creeks where oystercatchers, knots, dunlins, godwits and sandpipers can be found. The wide fleet, with its open water and fringe of reeds, attracts good numbers of feeding little egrets. The drier grassland is good for breeding skylarks. The scrubby areas attract linnets and whitethroats.

Water voles and a large great crested newt colony occupy the freshwater ditches.


After crossing on to Canvey Island via the A130, turn right at the first roundabout on to Canvey Road. The car park is on the right at the next roundabout. SatNav: SS8 0QA.

Buses run from Benfleet station past the reserve entrance.

Accessible at all times.

May–June for breeding birds; July–August for butterflies and dragonflies.

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. There is a dogwalking trail south of the car park.

© Hugh Venables