Rainham Marshes is a nature reserve maintained by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Its medieval marshes are both an important area for wildlife and a great place for visitors.
Birds can be seen all year round. In spring and summer you can expect to see breeding wading birds and in winter large flocks of wild ducks visit the reserve. You may see water voles and dragonflies too.
Boardwalks throughout the reserve allow access for wheelchairs and pushchairs and the visitor centre has picture windows with views across the marshes.
The marshes were opened in 2000 after being closed to the public for more than 100 years. The site was previously used as a military firing range.
There are many events throughout the year for families.
Visiting the marshes and reserve
Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve is open 9:30am to 4:30pm from 1 November to 31 March and 9:30am to 5pm from 1 April to 31 October. It is closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
- a car park, voluntary £1 donation
- free entry to site for RSPB members and residents of Thurrock and Havering
- nature trails
- a pushchair friendly site
- picnic areas
- adventure playground
- toddlers playground
All the reserve’s paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly.
No dogs are allowed in the reserve except registered assistance dogs. Dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path, however – a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.
Features of the visitor centre include:
- a café
- toilets, including disabled toilets
- baby changing facilities
Seasonal highlights for bird watchers
Each season brings a different experience at the marshes. In spring the air is filled with birdsong as birds compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer look out for young birds. In autumn migrating birds move through the reserve, some heading for warmer climates and others to colder parts of the world. In winter birds gather to feed or fly at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.
Birds you may see include:
- little egrets
- ringed plovers
For more information, go to the RSPB Rainham Marshes website.
To find out about volunteering with the RSPB, go to RSPB Rainham Marshes volunteering.