Lion Creek and Lower Raypits Nature Reserve

Lion Creek & Lower Raypits
Hide at Lion Creek Lower Raypits
Lapwing Peter Hewitt

Peter Hewitt

Walk along the seawall around these two remote and wild nature reserves, where wildfowl and waders roost in their hundreds over winter and attractive salt marsh plants line the reserve during summer


Lion Creek and Lower Raypits Nature Reserve
A static map of Lion Creek and Lower Raypits Nature Reserve

Know before you go

65 hectares

Parking information

No parking available

Grazing animals


Walking trails

Walk along the seawall public footpath and use the permissive footpaths to access the nature watching hides at Lower Raypits and Lion Creek 


Accessible all year round 

Please be aware of flooding along the road during high spring tides


Under effective control


Bird hides

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

Lion Creek was once part of the Crouch estuary, until it was cut off by a seawall. Now the creek boasts an attractive border of saltmarsh plants such as sea lavender, golden samphire and sea-spurrey. This meadow alongside the creek also provides a home for a number of exciting invertebrates, including the UK’s rarest bee, the shrill carder. Walk further along the seawall path to reach Lower Raypits. Here, there has been significant habitat management for breeding waders.

Both reserves have bird hides to watch the thousands of waders and wildfowl gathering in the wet winter months. Keep your eyes on the skies as well though as these reserves are great for the increasingly rare hen harrier and short-eared owls also hunt over the grassland. Listen out for the plop of a water vole as special water vole islands were created that now support a good population of this endangered mammal.

Environmental designation

Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protection Areas (SPA)