CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

The wildlife of Canvey Wick nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:00 20 June 2016

Ammophila sabulosa

Ammophila sabulosa


Find out more about the county’s bird life from RSPB every month. This month: the creatures of Canvey Wick

Summer is the perfect time to take a stroll and investigate the unique and beautiful Canvey Wick nature reserve. The Land Trust, Buglife and the RSPB have been working together to restore and maintain this special place, ensuring that it remains a safe haven for important Thames Terrace insects. The site has had a quite fascinating recent history. In 2003, Buglife led a campaign to save Canvey Wick from development and in 2005 it was designated the UK’s first brownfield Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) specifically for its invertebrate interest. The Land Trust took ownership of Canvey Wick in 2012 and today the RSPB and Buglife work in partnership to manage Canvey Wick for the benefit of the local community. More than 1,400 species of invertebrates have been recorded at Canvey Wick and it has been described as ‘a brownfield rainforest’ by Natural England officer Dr Chris Gibson.

Canvey Wick requires a great deal of management to ensure the habitats remain suitable for the species it is hoped will be attracted to and maintained at the site. The creation of bee banks provides vital nesting and basking sites for a huge range of pollinating insects, such as the five banded weevil wasp. The banks have been placed in particularly sunny spots for warmth and the insects will burrow into the sand. At this time of year you are likely to see an array of different butterflies, from peacocks and common blues to meadow browns and painted ladies. Butterflies feed on nectar, so the huge variety and number of flowering plants at Canvey Wick provides an abundance of food, encouraging these beautiful insects to thrive. Other very rare species of bee, such as the shrill carder bee and brown banded carder bee, can be seen enjoying the habitat too.

While the site is magnificent for invertebrates, you also might be lucky enough to see a common lizard basking in a warm patch of sunlight. There is plenty for them to eat at Canvey Wick as they’ll feast on grasshoppers, spiders, flies and other invertebrates. Several species of birds can be seen and heard on the site too, such as skylarks and yellow wagtails. Overall, Canvey Wick supports an enormous variety of wildlife throughout the year, but it is during the summer when things are truly stunning.

The car park is open from 9am to 5pm, but you can enjoy this site at anytime of the day, as access on foot is available at all times. If you’re not a creepy crawly connoisseur but would like to know more, you can join the knowledgeable RSPB team on a Butterfly and Insect Walk. There are walks planned for Saturday, June 11 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, and Saturday, July 9 from 9am to 11am. Booking is essential as places are limited, so call 01268 498620 or email to reserve your space. The cost is £3 for RSPB members and £4 for non-members.

Find out more

For more information about the Canvey Wick and the groups working to manage the site, visit, or


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Essex is home to some of the most stunning vistas in the UK. From the estuary of River Thames to the North Sea coastline, the county’s scenery is a diverse patchwork of stunning sea views, ancient architecture and vibrant gardens. We pick 9 of our favourites

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

When winter comes and a frost settles all over our county’s prettiest locations, you’re presented with so many fantastic photographic opportunities. Here are 19 times Essex was prettier than a Christmas card

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Are you stuck for things to do this winter? Essex is home to some truly magical places perfect for a family day out or a special event to get you feeling festive. Here are 9 locations you have to visit this season.

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Christmas in Essex has something for everyone with an irresistible combination of modern and traditional. Here are 21 reasons why Essex is the best place to spend your Christmas

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The history and heritage of our county’s historic homes is not only contained within their walls but it also stretches out into the land surrounding it. We’ve found 11 great walks that allow you to experience that history first hand

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Of all Britain’s coastal counties, Essex can surely claim to be one of the best. With more than 350 miles of shoreline to choose from, the Essex coast is very much what you make of it, so even on those days when you’re planning a little run out to the seaside and want more than just the beach, Essex has the answer

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

We’ve put together 15 questions that will push your knowledge of Essex to the limit - let us know how you’ve done on social media!

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From James Bond to Batman, Essex has been known to bask in a little Hollywood glitz. Here are 19 that have used our county’s incredible locations on the big screen

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From woodlands and nature reserves to Dedham Vale, we pick 9 perfect places for countryside walks plus some of the best cosy pubs along the way

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Spend Halloween hunting down ghouls and ghosts in the county’s most haunted places and spaces. We pick 10 absolutely terrifying locations to visit this October.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search