Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve


Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve contains medieval marshes and is 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. 

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.

Features include:

  • a car park, voluntary £1 donation
  • free entry to site for RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock
  • nature trails
  • a pushchair friendly site
  • picnic areas

Visitor centre

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:

  • Avocets
  • Lapwings
  • Little egrets
  • Peregrines
  • Ringed plovers

Information for families

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families. All the reserve’s paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also adventure and toddler’s playgrounds.

Dog owners

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path, a public footpath and cycle-way running adjacent to the reserve.


The marshes were opened in 2000 after being closed to the public for over 100 years. The site was previously used as a military firing range.

Further information

For more information, go to the RSPB website.

Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve
New Tank Hill, Purfleet RM19 1SZ