If a walk in the wilderness is what you're looking for this winter, the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project will give you just that.

Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is a collaboration with Crossrail to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. With 101 pairs of breeding avocets this year, RSPB Wallasea Island is on track to support the largest number of breeding avocets on any site in the UK, with potential for new colonists like black-winged stilts and the return of breeding Kentish plovers. This is the RSPB at its best – giving nature a home at a grand scale, and you are invited to come explore. 

Photo: Andy Hay

Although development is set to continue until 2025, the naturally regenerating marshland has already brought in a vast number of wintering wildlife and two new circular walks have opened, allowing you to see the progression of this ambitious project for yourself. Listen out for the whistle of the wigeons, the low 'bark' of the brent geese or the mournful whistle of the golden plovers, as well as the thousands of waterfowl creating a winter spectacle. 

1. Allfleets Marsh Trail (3 km) - here you can walk the full length of the northern seawall. This raised footpath offers excellent panoramic views across the entire project.

2. Jubilee Marsh Trail - here you have the choice of a shorter 1.5 km circular walk which gives you excellent views of our lagoons, or you can strike out on a longer 4.5 km walk which takes you on a loop around the grazing marsh and back to the car park.

Or join in on the Mince Pie Special with a New Years Eve walk and an included mince pie and glass of mulled wine - booking is essential!

We already have many waders on our new lagoons plus large numbers of raptors hunting the voles through the grassland. Come in the late afternoon to see the hunting owls and you might even see a hare!

Photo: Andy Hay

Once completed, the scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with an array of nationally and internationally important wildlife, and more than 15 km of new and improved access routes and visitor facilities. Keep coming back to see how much it changes each time and to see the different wildlife beginning to call this reserve home!

This truly is a wild coast experience that you will enjoy. If all that walking leaves you peckish though, the nearest refreshments are at the Essex Marina Bar and Canewdon village, 3.5 miles (5.5 km) away, which has local shops and a pub.

For more walks along the beautiful Essex coastline, visit Essex Walks.