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Guided Walk of Tollesby Wick

08 December 2016

Less than a two hour drive from central London and you can arrive at the beautiful coastal nature reserve of Tollesbury Wick, a rare freshwater grazing marsh in Essex. This 242 hectare enwalled site has a fantastic history with 25% of it ploughed, drained and levelled for agriculture in the 1960’s. Essex Wildlife Trust claimed the site in 1993 and began one of the largest restoration projects the Trust has ever been involved with. EWT broke field drains, created a 4.5ha freshwater lagoon, built islands and replaced old water controls with new sluices, and as a result has potentially made it the best site in Essex for breeding waders.

During the CIEEM East of England Tollesbury Wick site visit CIEEM members were kindly shown around the site by Mark Iley, Biodiversity Coordinator, and Jonathan Smith, Warden of Tollesbury Wick Marshes. Both leaders had their fair share of questions and their answers were full of knowledge and passion. The visit to the bird hide on site was particularly special with a large flock of Brent Geese flying over and landing in the lagoon directly in front of us. Wigeon, Teal and Redshank are amongst other overwintering birds that were seen on site.

It is well worth visiting Tollesbury Wick to see how the wonderful results from the restoration has hugely benefitted wildlife in the area. There is a beautiful ten mile walk around the sea wall which encloses the site and you can conveniently end up in the village of Tollesbury for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the local pubs. In fact, if you have not been to this part of Essex much before, I very much recommend that you start exploring. Tollesbury Wick is one of many fantastic nature reserves in the area with the Dengie peninsula to the south and the Blackwater Estuary National Nature Reserve and Mersea Island to the north. Essex’s coastline, surprisingly to some, is a truly special place heaving with wonderful birdlife.

Author: Alex Mueller ACIEEM, East of England Section Committee

Photo: Copyright R Wardle

Tollesby Wick

 

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