On Sunday I decided to do a bike ride along the Thames next to the Rainham Marshes, I took a train from Fenchurch Street to Purfleet, then popped into the RSPB reserve to book myself on the ‘Sunday Stroll’ which is a guided walk around the nature reserve, before embarking on a short cycle ride up to the ‘Concrete Barges’
These were made during the second world war when steel was in short supply, and were then positioned at Rainham to help create flood defences after the great flood of 1953.
The ride itself was pretty bleak but interesting in terms of the industrial landscape and amount of washed up rubbish in the muddy river banks :P.
I cycled back along the same riverside path and then joined the guides and bird watchers at RSPB Rainham
As I arrived I was ushered into a corner of the visitor centre and given a pair of binoculars… as a pair of Common Seals had been spotted on the river bank. I was amazed to see one of our largest predators so close to London.
We then began our 3 hr guided walk, it was amazing, we saw huge flocks of Lapwings, a rare Snow Goose, Little Egrets, Curlews, Plovers, a Marsh Harrier and many many more birds, 59 species were counted in total. We were given a history of the marshes by our enthusiastic guides, it was once a military training area used for target practice etc.
We were told about the plants and animals in the area, including the difference between a Bull Rush and Reed Mace ;) the folkloric ‘devils tooth marks’ on the Common Norfolk Reed, the stoats and water voles and why they need to protect the area from foxes via electric fencing.
All in all it was a wonderful day out, just 30mins from central london with amazing scenery, wilderness, knowledgeable guides and a pretty impressive visitor centre with restaurant :)
I made a short clip filmed from the main observation hide, whilst our guide discussed the various wild fowl in the water channels,