67ac/27ha SSSI (part)
Grid ref: TQ 731 871 (click for o/s map)
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Vange Marshes is a new RSPB reserve south of Pitsea. It has a large freshwater lagoon with islands and a smaller saltwater lagoon, plus extensive reed beds and some grassland with patches of scrub.
Avocet, lapwing, little ringed plover and redshank breed on the marshes and lagoons. Large numbers of reed and sedge warblers and a few cetti's warblers nest in the reedbeds, as do reed buntings. The boundary hedgerows and scattered scrub in the grassland are good habitat for yellowhammers and corn buntings.
Wigeon, teal, shoveler and snipe visit in winter, and sometimes large flocks of godwits, curlews or gulls. The reedbeds attract good numbers of bearded tits in the winter and it is possible to get close views of these birds.
The site is good for insects also. It has small heath and marbled white butterflies, and scarce emerald damselflies. Water voles frequent the ditches and the drier grassland has a population of adders.
RSPB is maximising the wildlife value of the reserve by controlling water levels and by grazing with cattle to create a sward of varying heights.
Accessible via a public footpath that leaves Pitsea Hall Lane right opposite the exit from Pitsea rail station. A footpath link direct from Wat Tyler country park is planned. From the roundabout in Pitsea where the A132 joins the A13 follow Pitsea Hall Lane south and park either at the station or in Wat Tyler country park.
Train to Pitsea and walk straight down the exit road. Cross the road at the T-junction and continue straight ahead along the footpath. Follow the path until it crosses the railway line and you enter the reserve.
Accessible at all times.
May for breeding birds; winter for over-wintering waders, gulls and wildfowl, and for bearded tits in the reedbeds.