Bradwell Shell Bank Nature Reserve

Bradwell Shell Bank nature reserve
Jamie Hall Knots - notify

Jamie Hall

Bradwell birds

Jason Fox

Bradwell seawall
Years of tidal currents have formed this special shell bank of cockle and oyster shells which surrounds an extensive saltmarsh, home to thousands of wintering birds


East End Road
Bradwell on Sea

OS Map Reference

TM 031 082
A static map of Bradwell Shell Bank Nature Reserve

Know before you go

12 hectares

Parking information

Free car park for 15 cars

Walking trails

Please keep to the public footpath along the seawall


No access onto the saltmarsh, please keep to the footpath along the seawall


Dogs permitted
Dogs only allowed on the public footpath along the seawall

When to visit

Opening times

Open all year round

Best time to visit

September - March to enjoy the winter bird spectacles

About the reserve

A visit at high tide in autumn and winter will reward you with views of up to 20,000 waders roosting and creating magnificent murmurations in the sky. At low tide you will be able to see the Thames barges offshore that help protect the saltmarsh and seawall from erosion.

This saltmarsh is a fantastic habitat for a wide variety of species, during the summer witness the beautiful saltmarsh flowers of the Yellow-horned Poppy, Slender Birdsfoot Trefoil and Sea Holly while looking out for the distinctive tail-bobbing of Yellow Wagtail and the overhead song of the Skylark. During the summer months waders such as Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover will breed along the shellbanks, so please keep to the seawall to avoid disturbance and watch them raise their young from afar.

The mud and sandflats to the east are part of the Dengie National Nature Reserve, an internationally important site for overwintering waders especially Grey Plover, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. Winter often brings with it opportunistic views of raptors too, including Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owls.

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protection Areas (SPA)
Saint Peters-on-the-wall Bradwell

Did you know?

As you walk to the nature reserve you will pass St Peters-on-the-wall, one of the oldest intact Christian churches in England. Built in AD 654 this chapel is still used today and is the 19th oldest building in the country.