Wallasea Island

South Essex 9th September 2023
led by
Sven Wair

Wallasea Island lies more or less at sea-level at the confluence of the Rivers Crouch and Roach. It was formerly a site of intensive agriculture, but under the management of the RSPB and with the deposition of vast amounts of substrate from the Crossrail excavations, it is being transformed. A range of habitats is being created over several square kilometres, and coastal realignment is taking place, with the removal of a section of seawall. This is allowing the development of an extensive transitional intertidal zone, a rare thing in Essex where transitional zones are usually prevented from developing by the presence of seawalls.

Our visit is timed to fall between the sensitive bird breeding and wintering seasons, and is optimal for many of the late-growing coastal plants of the region in particular the Chenopodiaceae. The habitats are continuing to mature, and, because of the site’s location and recent history, we should expect the unexpected.

This is a day-long meeting. Access to the site is really only possible by road. The site is quite isolated, with no nearby shops or hostelries, so please bring everything that you will need for the day. There is a portable toilet located at the carpark. The terrain is moderate. It is largely flat, but we will encounter steep-sided seawalls, borrowdykes and ditches, and the intertidal zone may be uneven or muddy.