Thameside Nature Discovery Park
After the government’s announcement of a third mandatory lockdown, we are closing all Essex Wildlife Trust Nature Discovery Centres. The nature reserve and car park will be open for the local community for daily exercise, 7 days a week, from 9.30am-4pm. The bird hides will be closed but the outdoor playground remains open.
PLEASE READ THE TRUST'S LATEST STATEMENT ON COVID-19 HERE.
Know before you go
Parking informationMain carpark has space for approx. 80 cars. Limited parking is also available in front of the cottage (please do not block access); the Cottage Car Park will be open daily from 8.30am - 4.30pm
The footpaths at Thameside Discovery Nature Park are accessible from Crown Green Cottage and Mucking Creek Sluice Gate. Also accessible from the main car park.
Dogs must be kept on leads from 1st April until 31st August to protect our ground nesting birds.
Gravel trails and mown paths throughout
When to visit
Opening timesThe nature reserve and car park will be open for the local community for daily exercise, 7 days a week, from 9.30am-4pm.
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
Thameside Nature Discovery Park is situated on the Thames Estuary and is fantastic for family days out, bird and ship watching, historical interest and getting away from the hustle and bustle.
The views across the Thames Estuary are stunning, especially from our fully accessible rooftop viewing deck which offers 360 degree views of the Nature Park and Thames.
The Nature Discovery Centre has a café with full length windows for viewing the estuary, gift shop, toilets with baby changing and a bird hide with wheelchair access which overlook the SSSI mudflats a short walk away. We have a wonderful natural play and picnic area for families to enjoy. Dogs are welcome on leads and events are held throughout the year with free parking.
The site which was once landfill and has been given back to nature is 120 acres at present and will eventually be 845 acres, it is a tremendous habitat for coastal and wetland wildlife, as well as very important grassland flora and fauna species.
The Nature Park is important for many species including barn owls, short eared owls, water voles, harvest mouse, skylark, cuckoo and shrill carder bee. However, these are not the only beneficiaries, local cattle also graze the grassland during the year.
The area is an avian hotspot and throughout the year there are overwintering and migrant bird species residing at the park and in the River Thames. There are internationally important numbers of ringed plover and avocets and nationally important numbers of grey plover, dunlin, black-tailed godwit, redshank on the adjacent mudflats as well as a treasure trove of butterflies, moths and bees on the Nature Park grasslands.
Footpaths, bridleways and cycle ways access the Nature Park and we are on the Thames Estuary path route which extends to 27 miles from Tilbury town through to Leigh on Sea.
How to find us
Thurrock Thameside Nature Park is in south Essex, on the Thames Estuary, in the village of Mucking about five miles east of the M25. From the A13 take the A1013 from the west or A1014 from the east, towards the village of Stanford Le Hope. Follow the signs to the Walton Hall Farm Museum, via Buckingham Hill Road, then left into Waltons Hall Road continue past the museum on your left and take the next right into Mucking Wharf Road. Carry on past the cottages and barns onto the single-track road up to the Visitors Centre where there is a large car park.
Directions by public transport: Nearest train station is Stanford-le-Hope. Direct trains from London Fenchurch Street take 50 minutes; direct trains from Southend Central take 25 minutes. Stanford-le-Hope is served by buses from both Southend and Grays, please be prepared for approx 3 mile walk to the Nature Park.
The Discovery Centre has a well-stocked shop, including binoculars and scopes, wildlife fiction and non-fiction books, bird food and feeders, gifts, greetings cards, hot and cold drinks, packaged snacks and ice creams.