Rainham Marshes R.S.P.B. Nature Reserve, Purfleet

#1 of 6 in Wildlife in Thurrock
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
Rainham Marshes is an RSPB nature reserve to the east of London, adjacent to the Thames Estuary in Purfleet, Thurrock and the London Borough of Havering. In 2000, the area of land was bought from the Ministry of Defence, who used it as a test firing range. With no activity for several years, the nature reserve was officially opened to the public in 2006. It has maintained much of its Medieval landscape, and is the largest area of wetland on the upper parts of the Thames Estuary.
The reserve is home to a diverse range of bird species, wetland plants and insects. It also has one of the most dense water vole populations in the country. In December 2005, the site was visited by a sociable lapwing; over 1,700 people visited the reserve to see this bird. Late in the bird's stay, four penduline tits were also found at the site. Entrance to the site is free to residents of Thurrock and the London Borough of Havering.
The site is home to an environmentally friendly visitor centre which features solar panels, rainwater harvesting, natural light and ventilation and a ground heat exchange system. This visitor centre, completed in 2006 at a cost £2 million, was designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects The building won six awards for its BREEAM sustainable design, including a Green Apple Award, Regeneration and Renewal Award and a Royal Institute of British Architects National Award.
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Rainham Marshes R.S.P.B. Nature Reserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
212 reviews
  • Living in London it’s our nearest RSPB reserve and we’re hoping to visit again but its not quite local to us. If you can visit we often walk around and don’t see anyone else. We visited under...  more »
  • Something for everyone here. Flat and extensive, the unusual layout provides many vantage points and hides from which to view the wonderful array of waterfowl and wildlife generally. Put it on your...  more »
  • RSPB is many things at the same time... calm, peaceful, bustling with nature, good for people of all ages. It was a beautiful sunny day when we went which adds to the charm! And all the volunteers are lovely too, I really love it there (can you tell?!)
  • Brilliant reserve to which to bring a family or to do some serious birdwatching. If you enjoy the smaller side of wildlife there's plenty of insects to see. If you want a really close encounter with nature then take some dried meal worms with you as you walk through the Woodland area. You may meet up with the Robins which will feed from your hand if you're lucky. Alternatively, you can take a walk along the river wall.

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