Wallasea Island is an evolving landscape. The RSPB is currently undertaking a revolutionary and ambitious project; over three million tonnes of excavated earth from the Crossrail project is being relocated to Wallasea, raising the island by an average of a metre and a half to create lagoons edged by raised sea walls.
Known as the Wild Coast project, conservation and engineering come together in what’s hoped will become a successful attempt to recreate a long lost wetland. Completion isn’t anticipated until 2025, when this renovated coastal ecosystem of mudflats, saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture is expected to attract a plethora of both wildlife and visitors.
There are attractive views across the Crouch to Burnham. You may be lucky enough to spot common and Atlantic grey seals who sometimes pop their heads up out of the water. I wasn’t so lucky, but did see plenty of birdlife from my vantage point up on the sea wall. Despite the unseasonably mild weather, I had the place to myself save for a couple of cyclists and a couple of birdwatchers, though a group of ramblers were a little behind me. The opportunity to watch seals on one of the summer boat trips in the area will definitely entice me to return next year.
If you’re a keen walker or nature enthusiast, the Wallasea Wander is a regular feature at the reserve. Find out more at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/w/wallaseaisland/. The next two Wanders are on 12 December and 27 December, the latter perfect for remedying that Christmas excess. If you’re on your own, there’s a whiteboard with recent sightings noted, but this is one place where, if you can’t tell your avocets from your plovers, having a knowledgeable guide would be a bonus.
There’s a public footpath network serving both Lion Creek and Wallasea Island; the area’s flat which will please novice trampers but beware of rising tides.
On the way out, I stopped to snap some photos of Lion Creek where the remains of an old rusting pontoon made for some interesting shots.