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Lower Raypits

137ac/55ha  SSSI (part)

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

Updated 10/12/2020.

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Saltings, permanent pasture and seawalls on the Crouch estuary, purchased by the Essex Wildlife Trust in 1991 following an appeal. Most of the reserve lies within the Crouch Estuary SSSI, an important complex of saltmarsh, intertidal and grazing habitats that serves as a notable feeding and roosting area for wildfowl and waders. Wigeon, teal and pintail often use the area in winter in nationally important numbers, with up to 5,000 on the Crouch.

Dykes and seawalls support nationally scarce plants, including beaked tasselweed, sea barley, curved hard-grass and grass vetchling. Scarce emerald damselfly, Roesels bush-cricket and a wealth of insects and other invertebrates are present.

The pasture and grassy seawall support populations of small mammals which attract hen harrier and short-eared owl in winter.

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.


Access is via a long walk along the sea wall starting from the entrance to the Lion Creek reserve. This is on the Canewdon–Wallasea Island road, 1.5 miles east of Canewdon village

Open all year with access limited to the public footpath along the seawall. Access to the rest of the reserve by prior permission from the warden (01702 258492).

© Glyn Baker