Foulness is the largest of the Essex islands and the fourth largest island off the coast of England. It is located near Southend-on-Sea and its vast and lonely stretches of isolated marshland are a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Essex favourite seaside resort. Foulness is divided from the mainland by a myriad of tidal waterways and is bound by the River Crouch to the north, the River Roach to the west and the North Sea on the east. There are two villages located on the north side of the island, Churchend and Courtsend, and the total population is around 200.
Foulness is no ordinary island. People here call ditches upside down hedges; Hill House was built on the highest point of the island, an amazing 6 feet high; Richard Noble tested here the jet engine of his Thrust II before breaking the speed of sound and the old school house is now a heritage centre.
Foulness Heritage Centre is the brainchild of retired defence contractor Bob Crump. Together with many volunteers and many hours of hard work the centre opened in February 2003.
"We are so proud and pleased of what we've got here, not only from our own work, but from the interest shown by the residents of Foulness Island who have come out and given us so many artefacts that relate to the industrial and personal life on Foulness over many many years," said Bob.
There are even artifacts from the Roman period which were discovered by Bob and his team when they unearthed a 2,000-year-old Romano-British settlement.
The Heritage Centre is open from 12 noon till 4pm every first Sunday of the month from April to October. Because the island is owned by the Ministry of Defence the access is restricted to the general public. You are however, very welcome to visit during the open days of the heritage centre.
Download the Foulness Island Heritage Centre leaflet.
The island's name derives from 'fulga-naess', the old English for 'wild birds nest'. Foulness and the adjoining Maplin Sands are internationally famous as a haven for wildlife. It has the second largest colony of Avocets and is a winter home for thousands of wading birds and Brent Geese.
Brian, from Nature Break, offers you the opportunity to explore the wealth of wildlife in and around Foulness Island and nearby Wallasea Island. The trips are escorted and are suitable for all ages.
With his boat you can cruise to parts not accessible by car or on foot where we can enjoy birds and seals in their own environment without disturbance. The main cruises are generally 4 hours but due to popular demand 2 hour cruises to view the Wallasea Wetlands and sail round into the River Roach have also been introduced when the tide is suitable. You can also visit prime birdwatching areas by mini coach/coach where passengers can sit back and enjoy the journey and arrive relaxed.
For more information please visit Brian's website.
Traditional Charter offer bespoke birdwatching tours, seal trips and wildlife tours tailored to suit your requirements whether be it a day trips or longer.
The East Coast provides a variety of sandbanks, estuaries and creeks rich in birds and wildlife: rivers include the River Blackwater, River Colne, Orwell, (Ipswich and Pin Mill), Stour, Alde, Deben, Thames Estuary, plus the varied birding habitats of Orfordness, Mersea Island, Osea Island, Walton Backwaters, and Tollesbury Marshes.
For more information please speak to Michael on 07811 469505 or visit his website.
Discovery Charters offers fishing and seal watching wildlife trips leaving from Wallasea Marina. The trips offer you the chance to get up really close to nature by explore the remote and deserted creeks and inlets of the Crouch and Roach estuaries. This area is simply one of the best places to view our fantastic estuary wildlife. There are regular sightings of Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Merlin and even Short-eared Owls. Waders seen regularly include Brent Geese, Avocet, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey and Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Greenshank, Knot, Dunlin, and Oystercatcher among others. Wildfowl include: Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard and Shelduck. On some of the trips guides from the local RSPB will be able to point out the birds for you and also give you a lot of information on our seals.
For more information please visit the website.