An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

The land was reclaimed from the sea in the 18th¬†century when a seawall was built around the saltmarsh. Two Tree Island is now managed as a nature reserve. It’s a firm favourite as a walking destination from Leigh-on-Sea and a fantastic site for birdwatching.

During winter, the mudflats provide excellent habitat for thousands of wildfowl and waders. Lookout for dark-bellied Brent Geese, Curlew, Dunlin, Avocet, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. You may also be lucky enough to spot a Short-eared Owl.

The eastern section is part of Leigh National Nature Reserve, where the saltmarsh is one of the best surviving in the Thames Estuary. Look out for Golden Samphire, Sea Purslane, Common Sea-lavender and Sea Aster.

During the summer months the site is full of rare insects and butterflies, including the incredibly rare Shrill and Brown-banded Carder Bee and butterflies like Marbled White and Essex Skipper. There are also adders and slow-worms.

For more info check out the Essex Wildlife Trust’s page here

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