Two Tree Island
641ac/259ha SSSI, NNR
Grid ref: TQ 825 853 (click for o/s map)
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Two Tree Island was reclaimed from the sea in the 18th century when a seawall was built around saltmarsh. It was used for rough grazing until 1910, then as a rubbish tip until the 1970s.
It consists of grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons, and attracts a wide variety of birds, and particularly migrants. During the winter short-eared owls visit, hunting for field voles, and large numbers of little egrets roost here. Water vole, kingfisher, water rail, reed and sedge warblers may be seen in the lagoons and reedbed.
The eastern section forms part of the Leigh National Nature Reserve, which extends eastwards to include Leigh Sands. This is an important area for migratory birds, and includes large beds of eelgrass, which brent geese feast on after their arrival in autumn.
Turn south off the A13 down to Leigh station, then cross the bridge over the railway and follow the road past the golf range and over the bridge on to the island. There is a car park immediately over the bridge. SatNav: SS9 2GB.
Twenty minutes' walk from Leigh station (Fenchurch St line), which is also served by a number of bus services.
Accessible at all times.
Migration periods and winter for birds – the brent geese are normally present from late September to mid-November; July for saltmarsh colours and butterflies. Wildfowl and waders may also be seen before and after high tide from Old Leigh and from the foreshore as far as Chalkwell station.
To avoid disturbing the birds, please keep strictly to the marked footpaths in the eastern section.