Wallasea Island

The Wild Coast Project is transforming this island back into a magical intertidal coastal marshland

RSPB Wallasea 43 2019

At a glance


Canewdon, Essex


0.84 km2

Start date





Grassland and meadow, Intertidal marine (e.g. salt marsh, mud flats) and Saline Lagoon

Key species

Short eared owl, Spoonbill, Redshank, Avocet, Black-tailed godwit, Marsh Harrier and Common seal

Rewilding actions

Habitat restoration and Managed realignment

Engaging people

Volunteering and Recreation

RSPB Wallasea Island is a stunning landscape of marshland, lagoons, ditches and sea. The landscape has been restored through a managed realignment project. This ambitious project used more than three million tonnes of earth from the tunnels and shafts created by the Crossrail project in London. The material has allowed the project to create a new 115 ha intertidal area of saltmarsh, mudflats and islands. This has created an important habitat for a wide range of species – from plants, to birds and invertebrates. The whole area now supports an abundance of species rich habitat.

Wallasea Island sits within a Special Protection Area which covers the Crouch and Roach estuaries, and which is special for overwintering waders and wildfowl including brent geese. It is also part of the Wild Coast project.


Grazing animals on site provide an income stream to the farmer. The project offers guided walks and nature trails, and this increase in visitors has benefitted local shops.


A managed realignment scheme was undertaken on the site, which included the creation of new peripheral embankments, raising of land levels, creation of channels and lagoons with islands.

The site previously supported a mixture of arable land and saltmarsh. Mixed cattle have also been introduced to the site to create biodiverse wet grassland habitats.

Images: RSPB Copyright, U D Suragh and Malcolm Ausden


Wallasea flooding up Stokes Lagoon August 2020

Future Plans

  1. 1 Complete the five year monitoring of sediment settlement and bathymetry, as well as changes to birds and other wildlife.
  2. 2 Continue to work with partners of the Essex and South Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan.

You may also be interested in…