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Lion Creek

161ac/65ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TQ 923 948 (click for o/s map)

Updated 04/11/2019

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This nature reserve consists of a section of Lion Creek that was cut off from the estuary by a new seawall and the former Lower Raypits farm, which consists of saltmarsh, permanent pasture and seawalls. Most of it lies within the Crouch and Roach Estuaries SSSI, an important complex of saltmarsh, intertidal and grazing habitats that is an important feeding and roosting area for wildfowl and waders.

The former creek contains brackish water and in late summer has an attractive border of saltmarsh plants such as sea lavender and golden samphire. Among its insects are essex skipper and brown argus butterflies, and roesel's and short-winged conehead bush-crickets. The water margins attract a variety of wading birds, and in winter birds of prey such as hen harrier and short-eared owl hunt over the grassland and seawalls.

The meadow alongside the creek was added to the reserve later, and supports a range of plants and insects including the shrill carder bee, a national priority species.

The Lower Raypits seawall was damaged in 2007 and a section has been rebuilt, and at the same time a scrape, featuring special water vole islands, and a small saline lagoon were created. Thousands of birds over-winter and avocets and corn buntings are among those that nest.


Entry is from the Canewdon–Wallasea Island road, 2km east of Canewdon village. Limited local parking and beware of flooding along the road at times of extreme spring tides. Lower Raypits is reached via the seawall path from there.

Accessible at all times.

Winter for wildfowl and waders; late spring and summer for breeding birds, plants and insects.

Photo © David Corke