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Skipper's Island Nature Reserve

This 233 acre reserve is surrounded by saltmarsh. The island has large stands of Sea Hog's-fennel, food plant of Fisher's Estuarine Moth. There is no access to the island.

It is about 500m from the mainland, linked by two causeways built in the 19th century for the passage of livestock but now reduced to flooded pathways. It was given to the Essex Wildlife Trust by the late E F Williams.

What to look for:

The highest parts of the island are covered with extensive thorn thickets. Rides have been cut through them and are mown regularly, producing fine flower-rich swards of grass. The lower land used to be enclosed from the sea as grazing marsh but now, following breaches in the sea wall, it has reverted to saltmarsh. About a third of the island is rough pasture and it has several pools of fresh but often brackish water.

The island has large stands of Sea Hog's Fennel, the only foodplant of Fisher's Estuarine Moth, and also Adderstongue Fern, Parsley Water-dropwort, and Lax-flowered Sea Lavender.

Its breeding birds include Shelduck, Oyster-catcher and in the thickets are several species of warbler. Outside the breeding season there are good numbers of Brent Geese and many species of duck and wader. Birds of prey are often seen in winter, the most regular being the Barn Owls.

Access to the reserve is by prior arrangement only with Essex Wildlife Trust. Please call Essex Wildlife Trust on 01621 862960 for details. Visitors need to be reasonably active as the saltmarsh and rough grassland can be tiring.

Public Transport - Nothing suitable.

Directions - Access is via a private road to Birch Hall, Kirby-le-Soken which is off the B1034 Thorpe to Kirby road. Access only available by contacting Essex Wildlife Trust on 01621 862960.

Did you know?

The warden of Skippers Island, Ray Marsh, has been volunteering on the island for 50 years.

Species and habitats

Habitats
Wetland

Nearby nature reserves

John Weston Nature Reserve
3 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
The Naze Centre
3 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Great Holland Pits Nature Reserve
3 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Skipper's Island
Nature Reserve
On the private road to Birch Hall, Kirby-le-Soken, off the B1034 Thorpe to Kirby Road
Kirby-le-Soken
Essex
Map reference
TM 218 242
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
94.30 hectares
Access
Permit required

Access to the reserve is by prior arrangement only with Essex Wildlife Trust. Please contact Essex Wildlife Trust for more information.
Walking information
Visitors need to be reasonably active as the saltmarsh and rough grassland can be tiring
Parking
yes
Dogs
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01621 862960
admin@essexwt.org.uk