The Essex Field Club is a society for wildlife enthusiasts and people with an interest in the natural history and geology of Essex, run entirely by volunteers with a professional ethos. Our core objective is to study and record the natural history of the County of Essex (the biological recording county of Essex includes the London boroughs east of the River Lea, as well as small portions of administrative Cambridgeshire and Suffolk).
The Club was founded in 1880 to promote the Study of the Natural History, Geology and Pre-historic Archaeology of the County of Essex and its borderlands; to establish a Museum and to issue publications. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace were amongst our founder members. You can find out more from our
on-line archive and the
History of the Club page. We encourage and help naturalists to record high quality biological records in Essex. The Club’s County Recorders compile, maintain and verify the primary non-bird Essex biological records database. Commercial organisations can also use our
datasearch system to request species data for use in desk studies.
The Essex Field Club is very pleased to welcome members and the public to our centre in the Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea in Basildon. This is the culmination of an aspiration born in the early 1990s when the Club had to step in after the closure of the Passmore Edwards Museum in Stratford and save the collections our members had accumulated over the Club’s long history since 1880. We are now open every weekend on Saturday and Sunday (please check news to confirm we are not closed) between 11am - 4pm, bank holidays, Wednesdays and where possible other days during school holiday periods, but we are entirely dependent on the goodwill of a small band of volunteers. If you can help volunteer, please contact us.
We offer members about 30-40 meetings a year, regular information through our Newsletter and an
annual scientific publication, the Essex Naturalist. The Field Club has serious scientific
interests in geology, flowering plants, fungi, mosses, lichens, mammals, birds, reptiles and
amphibians, insects and other invertebrates (e.g. spiders, snails and slugs, beetles, butterflies,
moths, flies, bugs, dragonflies, bees and wasps), and values both amateur and professional members.
You can join here.
Visitors are very welcome at our meetings. We carry out or participate in surveys of particular species in the county, as well as co-ordinate the long term recording of different taxonomic groups. We also have specialist groups, such as the Essex Moth Group, who hold meetings that are part of the field meeting programme or sometimes also in addition to this. Specialist members are recognised as official County Recorders, who maintain detailed records and information of the Essex flora, fauna and geology. These verified data are used to study the distribution and ecology of species in the county (find out more...), contribute to national recording schemes and are also used to inform management and in planning the protection of threatened habitats.
We hold an annual exhibition and social in late November/early December. This is open to all and is an important occasion for Essex naturalists to meet and swap news and ideas. A good number of non-members and general public also attend, and learn from the displays and the naturalists present and other local clubs often exhibit, which encourages sharing of information. We also hold an annual Essex Natural History Show in August, aimed at ordinary members of the public and families rather than naturalists and which hopes to inspire an interest in natural history, especially in youngsters and others who might become the next generation of wildlife and geology specialists.
You can register here to upload pictures, post to our forum, submit records for some easily recognisable species and add or edit site accounts for places with wildlife and/or geological interest. After using our website for a while, please provide feedback to help us improve and develop what we provide. Also please consider joining to help support the Club.