Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve (RSPB)
Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve
New Tank Hill Road
Essex RM19 1SZ
Google Map Link
The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.
The nearest train station is Purfleet on the C2C line between Fenchurch Street and Southend. This is approximately 1 mile from the reserve.
Parking & Toilet Provision
Car park with disabled spaces, fully accessible visitor centre with cafe and shop and toilets.
Opening times: daily 9.30 am – 5 pm between 1 April and 31 October, 9.30 am-4.30 pm between 1 November and 31 March (closed Christmas and Boxing days). Gates and car park shut at the same time as the reserve.
Free entry to Rainham Marshes nature reserve for RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock, Adults £2.50, Children £1, Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) £7.
Description of Habitat & Facilities
The visitor centre at RSPB Rainham Marshes in itself offers great views across the marshland reserve and lets you realise how important the unique green space is nestled in between industrial estates, a landfill site, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, River Thames and QE II river crossing. Here you can enjoy a bite to eat, chat to the friendly and helpful staff and volunteers or pay a visit to the well stocked shop.
The ancient marshland was purchased from the MOD in 2000 following years of use as a shooting range. A lot of work has taken place to return it to it’s original splendour and make it a great place for wildlife and place for people to enjoy it. An array of sometimes rare bird species, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians can be seen.
There is still lots more to come at Rainham Marshes such as two new hides, a one way access to the riverside path, a bridge across the Mardyke providing better links to Purfleet and a wind turbine to allow the visitor centre to become carbon negative.
Being on the edge of London Rainham is described as an oasis in an urban environment, and this is absolutely true. Surrounded by a huge rubbish tip on one side, Euro star trains, the Thames and the A13 you would think that no right minded bird or animal would go anywhere near. This year alone there have been a Black Winged Stilt, White Tail Lapwing and daily sightings of water vole.
On entering the car park you are confronted with the Visitor Centre which to my mind looks as if someone has gone mad with massive Lego Bricks. There is ample disabled parking for at least six cars. The Shop and toilets including disabled are on the same level as the car park. There is a ramp up to the entrance of the centre with good views over the Thames and a considerable area of reeds and bushes (good for White throat, Reed and Sedge Warbler in the spring). All the doors in the centre are automatic using push buttons. The main entrance doors are two double sets and can take a little bit of negotiation.
There is a small charge to enter the reserve, £2.50 for adults and £1.00 for kids. (Free to RSPB members or Local Residents). The visitors centre has panoramic views over the reserve plus a cafe serving sandwiches, jacket potatoes and various pastries and cakes (the cakes are homemade by Staff and volunteers).
The exit on to the reserve is down a long shallow ramp. The paths are all flat and made of compacted gravel, tarmac or boardwalks. There is only one area that is difficult to get into; the Cordite store, at present has only a path that has been flattened by footfall, if you can get in it is well worth the effort.
There is a woodland area, open fields with grazing cattle and large areas of water. At present there are two hides, the Ken Barrett and the Shooting Butts Hide. The Ken Barrett has positions for disabled visitors. The hide is quite narrow but with the disabled viewpoints opposite the door it is easy enough to get in and out.
The Shooting Butts is brand new and is built over the old World War 2 shooting range; it has a disabled lift big enough for both scooters and wheelchairs (It took myself and my scooter two telescopes cameras binos, left the partridge in the pear tree) . Once you are up in the viewing area the whole reserve is laid out before you. The whole hide is accessible for everyone. If for no other reason a trip just to see this hide is worth it. Another hide is planned for later this year: 2010 the Purfleet Hide.
On your walk around the reserve there are plenty of benches and two viewing points from the Reed bed area. Rainham is very a much family reserve where children are welcome, there is a playground and the Marshland Discovery Zone where pond dipping and educational activities take place.
A day spent at Rainham is well worth it. I have visited many reserves up and down the country but without any hesitation this is the best site for those of us with mobility issues. I have to admit I am a little biased as I volunteer. If you have nothing else on your calendar this year pencil in a day at Rainham with Purfleet Station only five minutes away and the M25 not much more travel could not be easier.
Description of Trails
The 2.5 mile nature trail around Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, is fully accessible in all weathers including a hide, viewing platforms and shortly the family friendly Marshland Discovery Zone.
Number of Hides
Description of Hides [By name or number]
Date Last Updated