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Status: Essex Wildlife Trust reserve||Access:|
Summary: Essex Wildlife Trust coastal grazing marsh reserve. Situated along the banks of the River Crouch at North Fambridge. It is bordered by the river to the south, Wild and Ulens Farms to the north (beyond the Wickford-Southminster railway line), Bridgemarsh Island (saltings) to the east and Fambridge village and Fleet Farm to the west.
Description: 600 acres of coastal fresh/brackish water grazing marsh. For recording purposes the reserve has been split into 35 fields or compartments. These are often separated by freshwater ditches, many containing beds of Common Reed, Sea Club-rush and Reedmace. The reserve is also crisscrossed with counter walls, which denote earlier reclaimations of saltings and brackish marsh. These date back to the 1700s. There are three main fleets extending westwards from Bridgemarsh Creek - Hydemarsh, Middle Fleet and Western Fleet. 60 acres (The Flooded Fields) are flooded each winter to provide habitat for wildfowl, and breeding waders in the spring. The rest of the site consists of pasture, hayfields and grazing marsh. The seawall and adjacent borrowdykes provide an additional habitat, as does the railway embankment, which runs west-east across the reserve.
Reason for interest: The reserve is an ESA. It provides an important breeding habitat for waders such as Lapwing and Avocet and a safe refuge in winter for wildfowl. Recent recording work on plants, moths, butterflies, dragonflies and freshwater invertebrates has revealed the presence of several scarce or local species.
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