Explore Copt Hall Marshes

Couple with a black and white spaniel look out across the grey, green and brown salt marsh

The Blackwater Estuary salt-marsh is an amazing and valuable habitat on the Essex coast. It can be seen as a barren landscape but look a little closer and you'll see it's teeming with life.

Sea wall

The sea wall was built two centuries ago - claiming land to graze sheep. Today, however, rising sea levels threaten these man-made barriers and we're enabling nature to take back the shoreline it requires to soften the power of the tides and to act as a buffer between sea and land.


The Essex marshes offer a taste of wilderness when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern living. Whether you're a photographer, artist or just out for a walk, you'll enjoy yourself.
To get a taste of what it would have been like to live in this area, why not read Mehalah by Sabine Baring-Gould?

Insects and wild flowers

Our diverse farmland and salt-marshes are a prime habitat for wildflowers and insects like bees, so we manage nectar-rich field margins and encourage wildflower growth in fields. We're also home to scarce and less friendly species like adders too.

Our Copt Hall movie

As the towering grey clouds and north-easterlies drive home the last dog walker and lone wildfowler, we resound to the cries of curlew, shelduck and a thousand geese.

Nearby facilities

The nearest toilets to Copt Hall Marshes are at the nearby Essex Wildlife Trust's Abbotts Hall Farm. The local villages of Peldon and Tolleshunt D'Arcy have good pubs if you fancy a bite to eat.

Four-legged friends

Dogs under control are welcome, all we ask is that you help us care for Copt Hall's wildlife by using the signed access routes. Why not blow away the cobwebs and enjoy a walk along the seawall?

Birds, birds and more birds

The Blackwater Estuary is home to a wide range of farmland and coastal birdlife. The most visible presence are the thousands of birds like Brent geese who call us home during the winter months, making Copt Hall a habitat of national importance. Scarcer species include barn and short-eared owls, kestrels and marsh harriers. Don't miss the vantage point from our bird hide.

Zeppelin crash

During the First World War, 24 September 1916 was a memorable date for Copt Hall when a German L33 super-Zeppelin crashed here. Returning from a bombing raid over London's East End, the Zeppelin was attacked by the RAF above Chelmsford and came down within feet of a farm labourer's cottage.