Royal Society for the Protection of Birds logo

Copperas Bay

717ac/290ha  SPA, SSSI

Grid ref: TM 195 318 (click for o/s map)

Updated 10/12/2020.

Available also via books and apps – click here for details.

Mouse over links for pictures; click for detail page.

Copperas Bay in the Stour Estuary has large areas of mudflats fringed by saltmarsh and reedbed, and lies immediately west of the port facilities of Parkeston. It has two hides giving good views of birds at their high-tide roost, reached via a path running in a narrow strip of woodland between railway and estuary.

It is unusual in Essex for a wood to run right down to the waterside as it does here and this makes it an enjoyable walk in its own right. From the path there are occasional views through the screen of trees over Copperas Bay, which is used by a variety of birds in autumn and winter including brent geese, many ducks and a large flock of black-tailed godwits.

The Stour Estuary is the second most important UK wintering site for this bird after the Wash, with more than 2,000 present most winters. They are part of the population that breeds in Iceland.


North of the B1352 from Ramsey to Manningtree, between the villages of Wrabness and Ramsey. Accessible via Stour Wood, which is signposted from the road. Walk through Stour Wood and cross the bridge over the railway.

Stour Wood is about 800m walk from Wrabness rail station via a public footpath. A bus service from Colchester to Harwich via Wrabness runs along the B1352 past the entrances to Stour and Copperas Woods.

Accessible at all times.

May and June, when wild flowers are everywhere and migrant birds such as the nightingale are in full voice; autumn and winter for the hardy and the birdwatcher, for good views of the birds in Copperas Bay.

© John Lemay