An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

51.536319, 0.628787
Distance: 8.6 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 6 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Essex
  • Size: 257 hectares
  • Terrain: Some slippery, wet sections on the foreshore otherwise easy paths
  • Access: Road bridge
  • Height gain: 61 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 175
  • Starting point: Car park on Two Tree Island. Lat/Long 51.5376, 0.6296; GR TQ 825 854
  • Accommodation/food:

    None on the island. Small café at Leigh station and a range of facilities at Leigh-on-Sea (great seafood).

  • Island Summary:

    Two Tree Island lies northeast of Canvey Island and southwest of Leigh-on-Sea, just over 54 kilometres west of London. Connected to Leigh by a bridge, this piece of land was reclaimed from the Thames Estuary in the 18th century and had rather inauspicious beginnings as a sewage works and landfill site. The Essex Wildlife Trust now manages the island and the eastern half is part of the Leigh National Nature Reserve, while the western half has two bird hides. The south shore of the island, at the end of the island road, is a popular place for water-based activities.

  • Look out for:
    • Avocets on the lagoon at the western tip of the island
    • Post-walk seafood feast at Leigh-on-Sea
    • Exploring the wild saltmarsh from the eastern foreshore
  • Route description:

    Saltmarsh, mudflats, and tidal creeks are dotted with plantlife and the cries of migrant birds drift across the estuary. On this island walk of two halves, the eastern section is dominated by the reed beds of Leigh Marsh and the unmarked path along the wild foreshore is faint. On the slightly busier western half of the island, the route follows surfaced paths around the sea wall.

  • Getting there:

    Train to Leigh station from Fenchurch Street or numerous buses from Southend. Plenty of parking on the island

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Island overview

Find out the best adventures on Two Tree Island

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Bird watching & nature on Two Tree Island

Adjacent to the internationally protected Thames Estuary, Two Tree Island is a fantastic winter spot for waders and the saltmarsh is one of the best in the Thames Estaury

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Paddleboarding on Two Tree Island

One of the flattest spots on the Thames for paddleboarding...

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Wild swim on Two Tree Island

A straightforward swim with some great views

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Best food on Two Tree Island

Close by Leigh-on-Sea has the best cockles, winkles and more

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