new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged Uses+of+Fund+Flow+statement

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

Cheneybama -OPEC toy president just cashed in Dick Cheney and Pet Goat Bush "American energy independence."

 

Wall Street-OPEC-Texas corporations are experts on independence, like war criminal GOPDEM represenatives Cheney, Bush, Hillary and Chenybama. American Neocons independently launched 911 mass murder treasons on 911 and remain exceptionally above any law......which gives them really great independence.

 

Fear of falling victim to military murder treasons defines today's military police law. OPEC-Texas-Wall Street's Israeli crime corporations manufactured elaborate cartoon sketches with delicious lies told to the UN independent of facts or law in order to make their war point.

 

Three thousand dead Amercians on 911, about five thousand US soldiers, and about a half million dead Iraqi's got OPEC-Texas and Wall Street's point. And Halliburton's CEO got $34 million in just a single year of "energy independence" bonuses with Exxon, Chevron and BP independently taking Iraq's oil industry.

 

See their point? They independently invented today's permanent oil wars for "American Energy Independence." It's why Cheneybama is proud of us today.

 

Waaaaay back in 2001 the courageous war fighter Bush was so terrified for newly victimized Americans that he told them to go shopping.

 

That alleviated Pet Goat's worries during the time he was reading "My Pet Goat " and demolishing huge buildings in New York City. But he was also busy back then wiping his rotten ass on The US Constitution. He was busy.

 

That's why he took a break for CIA-Mossad Crime Corporation to invent today's evolved CIA-Cheneybama military police state. They delivered it on September 12, 2001 and plugged it in and it's getting bigger every day now. Healthy and proud.

 

The military police state feels extremely secure....and independent.

 

The CIA-PNAC-AIPAC lead actor merely got "changed" in Obama. Cheneybama the GOP actor "changed" the corporate mask into today's much fatter criminal fortunes of "American Energy Independence."

 

Cheneybama delivered the change from a big military secret police state to a planet size military police state.... with a new brown face too.

 

That's change you can believe in. Cheneybama's same "American energy independence" will now patriotically ship US oil to foreigners. That's his shared OPEC "strategic interest" in growing OPEC-Texas-Wall Street's corporate criminal world war government.

 

Do you know how independently exceptional every fiber of Cheneybama's being is?

 

Wall Street-OPEC-Texas is exceptionally independent from national, international, moral and legal constraints. That makes oil war exceptionally profitable for Wall Street's finest corporate criminal enterprises. It expands patriotic military crime organizations who fix oil bourse prices on the world market.

 

The OPEC independent monopoly that fixes oil prices includes Koch Industries, Exxon, Chevron, BP, Aramco, Shell along with several other very large multinational patriot corporations. They make oil war terrorism the most lucrative murder profession in independent history.

 

You already serve the masters and cartoon masks of "Amercian energy independence." Do you like it? Stealing money and oil are now made independent of American supply and demand.

 

YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

 

Its corporate owners operate independent of any constitutional law, trade law, tort, estoppel or moral law today. That means you will now "independently" pay astronomically higher prices competing with 1.356 billion Communist Chinese for the oil pumped from North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and from Alaska states of former America.

 

WaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHoooooooooooooooooooo!

 

Does your new "Amercian independence" make OPEC-Texas-Saudi terrorists wealthier? Emphatically yes. Make terrorist contractors better armed to wage CIA-Mossad's oil wars? Yes. And you pay much more for everything called "the terrorist premium" added to everything that you buy....delivered on a truck, train, boat, barge and car? Yes.

 

Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

 

Thinkify then intelligicate if you can Cheneybama Neoliberals: Congrats on Chenybama's oil wars for higher Texas-OPEC terrorist pump prices making Cheney's PNAC-OPEC-AIPAC wet dream come true....replete with massive deficit military funding for oil war expansions.

 

Wall Street's Changer Cheneybama just changed oil war fortunes into much fatter ones by draining you faster. GOPDEM corporate toys like the change president(s) are coronated to squeeze you much much more.

 

Now you compete against Chinese and Japanese buyers and everyone else serving Corporate World Government. Their monopoly energy prices are now monopolized beyond the moon.

 

That's called "American Energy Independence" literally translated as OPEC-Texas-Saudi corporate monopoly independence. That independence circumscribes multinational oil terrorist corporations that rule Earth at drone gunpoint. -RT

****************************************************************************U.S. Ruling Loosens Four-Decade Ban On Oil Exports

Shipments of Unrefined American Oil Could Begin as Early as August

 

The Wall Street Journal

By Christian Berthelsen and Lynn Cook

 

The Obama administration cleared the way for the first exports of unrefined American oil in nearly four decades, allowing energy companies to start chipping away at the longtime ban on selling U.S. oil abroad.

Related Stories

 

U.S. will allow exports of condensate -WSJ Reuters

U.S. set to allow first shipments of unrefined oil overseas MarketWatch

Oil From U.S. Fracking Is More Volatile Than Expected The Wall Street Journal

Obama Administration Widens Export Potential for U.S. Oil Bloomberg

[video] Obama Seen Widening Exports for Shale Oil Bloomberg

 

In separate rulings that haven't been announced, the Commerce Department gave Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Products Partners LP permission to ship a type of ultralight oil known as condensate to foreign buyers. The buyers could turn the oil into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

 

The shipments could begin as soon as August and are likely to be small, people familiar with the matter said. It isn't clear how much oil the two companies are allowed to export under the rulings, which were issued since the start of this year. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security approved the moves using a process known as a private ruling.

 

For now, the rulings apply narrowly to the two companies, which said they sought permission to export processed condensate from south Texas' Eagle Ford Shale formation. The government's approval is likely to encourage similar requests from other companies, and the Commerce Department is working on industrywide guidelines that could make it even easier for companies to sell U.S. oil abroad.

 

In a statement Tuesday night, the Commerce Department said there has been "no change in policy on crude oil exports."

 

Under rules imposed after the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, U.S. companies can export refined fuel such as gasoline and diesel but not oil itself except in limited circumstances that require a special license. The embargo essentially excludes Canada, where U.S. oil can flow with a special permit.

 

Lawmakers enacted the ban after Arab countries declared an embargo on shipments to Western nations because of their support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The embargo caused oil prices to quadruple and led to rationing at gas stations across the U.S.

View gallery

Gushing

WSJ

 

But as drilling companies tap shale formations across the U.S., so much oil is flooding out of the ground that prices for ultralight oil have fallen as much as $10 or more below the price of traditional crude. As a result, producers have lobbied aggressively to relax the export ban, saying they could get a higher price from foreign buyers than from U.S. refiners.

 

For months, top Obama administration officials have signaled willingness to relax the export restrictions. The softened stance is likely to stir up opposition in Congress, where some lawmakers insist that Americans would benefit from lower fuel prices if the government maintains the longtime export ban.

 

The shift could be even more controversial because oil prices are stuck above $100 a barrel amid instability in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine. The benchmark U.S. oil price rose on the news, nearing its high for the year, as traders mulled the possibility of supplies leaving the country.

 

On Tuesday, Americans paid an average of $3.68 a gallon for gasoline at the retail pump, according to motor club AAA.

 

The private rulings by the Commerce Department define some ultralight oil as fuel after it has been minimally processed, making the oil eligible for sale outside the U.S. The Brookings Institution estimates that as much as 700,000 barrels of ultralight oil per day could be exported starting next year.

 

Eventually, the exemption could grow to a substantial portion of the three million barrels a day of oil that energy companies are pumping from shale, industry experts say. From 2011 to 2013, U.S. oil output soared by 1.8 million barrels a day, with 96% of new production in the form of light or ultralight oil, according to the Energy Information Administration.

View gallery

FILE -This Wednesday, May 9, 2012, file photo, shows …

FILE -This Wednesday, May 9, 2012, file photo, shows drilling rig near Kennedy, Texas, Wednesday, Ma …

 

Pioneer Chairman and Chief Executive Scott Sheffield has been one of the most outspoken advocates for oil exports. The Irving, Texas, company pumps most of its oil in Texas, including a joint venture with India's Reliance Industries Ltd. Mr. Sheffield has warned that refiners along the Gulf Coast could become oversaturated with too much oil from shale.

 

Enterprise, based in Houston, is an oil and gas logistics company that operates pipelines and storage terminals, as well as processing equipment for natural gas, condensate and refined fuels.

 

With few exceptions, U.S. crude oil gets transformed into fuel in plants scattered from California to New Jersey. Canada gets some U.S. oil that it can refine north of the border, but much of that gasoline and diesel flows back south to service stations in Michigan and Minnesota.

 

Under the private rulings, condensate can qualify as a refined product suitable for export so long as the liquid is stabilized and distilled, according to officials and industry executives.

 

Stabilization, a process that heats up oil to boil off some of the most volatile gases, has long been an early step in energy production, transportation and refining. Equipment to stabilize oil is common in energy states like Texas. Distillation is an increased step, industry sources said, but far short of refining or turning condensate into finished fuels.

 

If the volume of minimally processed condensate exports reaches a large scale, it could undermine investments by several companies in refineries and mini-refineries known as splitters that were made based on the companies' previous understanding of the law, said Rusty Braziel, an energy consultant.

 

Nearly 20 refining projects with capacity of more than 900,000 barrels a day have been proposed and are in various stages of development, according to Credit Suisse Group. This fall, Kinder Morgan Inc. plans to start a $360 million condensate splitter near the Houston Ship Channel that is supported by long-term contracts with BP PLC.

 

Earlier this year, the chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., the biggest driller in North Dakota, said he expected a wholesale lifting of the export ban so all types of U.S. crude could be sold internationally.

 

"They want a whole-hog liberalization of exports," said Kevin Book, managing director at political advisory firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC. "Condensate is kind of a baby step in the eyes of some of the producers."

 

Alison Sider and Nicole Friedman contributed to this article.

 

Write to Christian Berthelsen at christian.berthelsen@wsj.com and Lynn Cook at lynn.cook@wsj.com

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

The National War Memorial is a monument in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, commemorating those who served in the First World War. Opened in 1931, the memorial is

 

located on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, in the heart of the central business district and adjacent to the grounds of Government House. Memorial services are held

 

at the site throughout the year, with major services on both Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November).

 

First proposed in 1919, the memorial was funded by the Parliament of South Australia, making it the first Australian state war memorial to be confirmed after the war. The design of

 

the memorial was selected through two architectural competitions. The first competition, in 1924, produced 26 designs—all of which were lost before judging could be completed after

 

fire destroyed the building in which they were housed. A second competition, in 1926, produced 18 entries, out of which the design by the architectural firm Woods, Bagot, Jory &

 

Laybourne-Smith was selected as the winner. The design—effectively a frame for two scenes depicted through Rayner Hoff's marble reliefs and bronze statues—shows the prelude

 

and the epilogue to war, depicting both the willingness of youth to answer the call of duty and the extent of the sacrifices which they made. In this, the work is not displaying a material

 

victory, but instead a victory of the spirit. Bronzes line the walls of an inner shrine, on which are listed the names of all South Australians who died during the Great War.

 

History

The obverse face of the National War Memorial, as viewed from the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue.Almost 35,000 South Australians served in the First World War. This

 

number amounted to 8.5% of the South Australian population at the time, or 37.7% of men between the ages of 18 and 44. Of those who served, over 5,000 South Australians died. In

 

response to these deaths, Archibald Peake, the premier of South Australia, asked the state parliament to fund a memorial commemorating the victory and the sacrifice of those who

 

had fought and fallen. The motion was presented in March 1919, and it received unanimous support in the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council. With the passing of this

 

motion, the South Australian Government became the first in Australia to elect to build a memorial to the soldiers of the First World War.

 

It was decided by parliament that the new memorial should be referred to as the "National War Memorial", even though it was to be a purely South Australian monument, and in spite

 

of the term already being used to describe the memorial to the South African War of 1899–1902. There have been at least two perspectives offered as to why the term "National" was

 

employed. First, as Donald Richardson observed, the name may have been chosen to emphasis the Government's intention that the memorial should commemorate all who served

 

during the war, not just those who came from South Australia; and second, Ken Inglis argued that the name may have reflected the perception, (still held in spite of federation), that the

 

"province is a nation".

 

1924 competition

The National War Memorial Committee was formed in order to bring the proposal to fruition, and in February 1924 the committee announced an architectural competition to find the

 

design of the new memorial. In the preamble to the conditions of entry, it was stated that the new memorial was to serve the purpose of "perpetually commemorating the Victory

 

achieved in the Great War, 1914–1918, the Supreme and personal sacrifice of those who participated in that War, and the National effort involved in such activities".

 

Entry was open to South Australians who were British subjects, and those intending to submit designs were required to

 

file a Statement of Intent prior to 29 February 1924. The competition closed on 30 September 1924, and there was a one guinea entry fee. Three assessors were nominated to judge

 

the entries: the South Australian Architect-in-Chief, A. E. Simpson; local architect Herbert Louis Jackman (representing the South Australian Institute of Architects); and Sir William

 

Sowden.

 

The committee specified a budget of £25,000, (previously figures of both £5,000 and £100,000 had been discussed), and the conditions of entry stated that the memorial was to be

 

situated at the entrance to Government House on the corner of King William Street and North Terrace, placing it just behind the existing memorial to the South African War. This

 

location was counter to previous suggestions: a 1919 survey of architects had proposed that the memorial should be built on Montefiore Hill, while in 1923 the plans for the memorial

 

involved erecting it at the rear of Government House, rather than at the front.

 

Significantly, the committee left open the form that memorial would take, beyond stating that the memorial was not to be "utilitarian in character", and debate over the form led to

 

the emergence of a number of suggestions, many of which were covered in the media of the day. These included Dame Nellie Melba's proposal to build a carillon of bells; a

 

suggestion by Simpson Newland to turn Anzac Highway into a "Way of Honour" by adding triumphal arches to each end; and Walter Charles Torode's plan to build a 30 meter high

 

"metal and marble" monument on the top of Mount Lofty with an electric car to carry people to the summit.

 

In the end a total of 28 architectural firms registered their intent to submit entries to the competition—a lower number than expected, but Richardson suggests this may have been due

 

to work on proposals for the new Adelaide Railway Station. Out of those 28, a total of 26 firms submitted designs by the deadline. Unfortunately, on 10 November 1924, before

 

judging could be completed, the Richards Building in Currie Street was destroyed by fire, taking with it all 26 proposals.

 

Although most of the judging had been completed before the fire, suggestions at the time that the committee could use what they had learned from the entrants to propose a new

 

competition with greater clarity as to the requirements led to naught: a 1925 letter to the then Premier John Gunn reveals that there was little to be learned from the competition, as the

 

assessors had found that none of the designs were suitable.

 

1926 competition

Louis Laybourne Smith, the architect who (along with Walter Bagot and Rayner Hoff) was largely responsible for the winning design.Little progress had been made on the memorial by

 

1926. While some debate occurred in respect to the form that the memorial would take, the focus of the discussions concerned the location of the memorial, and this centered on

 

the future of Government House and the role of the Governor. A number of left-wing politicians argued that the grounds of Government House should be turned over to the State and

 

used to build the memorial while the conservatives desired to retain the status quo. By 1925 the National War Memorial committee was prepared to accept the Government House

 

grounds as the site of the memorial, but they delayed making an announcement. This proved to be fortuitous, as legal issues prevented the plan from going ahead. Instead a

 

portion of the grounds, located at the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, was put aside for the purpose. (The plan to move the Governor and to use the grounds as part of

 

a larger war memorial were revisited, over 80 years later, in 2007).

 

In 1926, after pressure from the returned soldiers, a second competition was announced. Once again the budget was set at £25,000. As per the first competition, all entrants had

 

to be South Australian British subjects, and all entries were to be judged anonymously, but this time there was to be only one assessor: John Smith Murdoch, the chief architect for the

 

Commonwealth of Australia. In deference to the previous competition, the top five entrants from 1924 were each given £75 upon the submission of a new design, and all of the

 

designs were insured by the government for £100 each.

 

With entries restricted to South Australians, only 18 designs were received—a figure that was "correspondingly fewer" than those received in other states where the competitions

 

were open to all Australians. Nevertheless, in his Assessor's Report, Murdoch acknowledged that the quality of some of the proposals were such that they "probably would not

 

have been exceeded had the competition been more open". After examining the submissions, on 15 January 1927, the design by Louis Laybourne Smith, (one of the principals at

 

the architectural firm Woods, Bagot, Jory & Laybourne–Smith), was selected by Murdoch as the winner.

 

Woods, Bagot, Jory & Laybourne-Smith had entered the 1924 competition with an arch designed by Walter Bagot, but in 1926 Bagot was away in Europe. Thus Laybourne

 

-Smith was responsible for drawing and submitting the final design, although he was clear to highlight the role Bagot played in the "architectural conception" of the monument.

 

While the firm was to be awarded 6% of the cost of the memorial, they refused all but enough to cover their own expenses, asking instead that residues (approximately £1000) be

 

placed in a trust fund to pay for the upkeep of the work. While this is seen as an altruistic act, Richardson noted that Laybourne-Smith was both a member of the National War

 

Committee and sat on the sub-committee which drafted the rules of the competition, and thus it may have been considered "improper" to accept the money.

 

When announced to the public the design was "universally hailed as a masterpiece". Nevertheless, in writing his report on the result of the judging, Murdoch stated of the winning

 

architect that he "depends almost entirely on the sculptor to tell the story of the memorial, employing in his design no more architecture than that required to successfully frame and set

 

his sculptural subjects, and to provide accommodation to the extent asked for by the conditions". This view was echoed by Inglis, who described the architecture as "essentially a

 

frame for statuary"—an approach that he felt was "unusual" for an architect. As a result of this dependency on the sculpture, some of the other contestants expressed concerns,

 

arguing that the contest was about architectural works rather than sculptural ones, even though the conditions of the competition specifically allowed for sculpture in the proposals.

 

Construction

Construction of the memorial began in 1928 with the cut and placement of marble blocks from Macclesfield

 

and Angaston. The South Australian Monumental Works were chosen to work on the construction, with Alan Tillett as the principal. Although no sculptor was named in the winning

 

proposal, it did make mention of a possible candidate—who later proved to be Rayner Hoff, a Sydney-based sculptor born in England. Raynor Hoff produced the designs for the

 

sculptures from his Sydney studio, with the bronze castings from Hoff's plaster models being produced by the South Australian firm A. W. Dobbie and Company. (Hoff had expressed

 

reservations that a South Australian company would be capable of handling bronzes of the required size, but a test casting of the lion's head from the memorial was sufficient to

 

overcome his concerns). The two angel reliefs sculpted from the Angaston marble were produced by Julius Henschke in situ from Hoff's designs, expressed through one-third sized

 

plaster models which Henschke then scaled to suit.

 

Significant delays occurred during construction after a strike by the stonemasons. The stonemasons were demanding a 44 hour week and to be paid at "outside rates", (rates of pay

 

for stonemasons were based on whether or not the work was to be constructed on site in the open air, or inside under cover— Tillet was paying the lower "inside rates", even though

 

most of the work was to be conducted on the site). However, Tillet had tendered on the basis of a 48 hour week at inside rates, and paying extra would have caused significant

 

financial problems. Tillet eventually won after the dispute went before the courts, but the strike had caused considerable financial damage to Tillet's company, which went into

 

receivership in 1930 and stayed in that state until after the memorial was completed.

 

The South Australian Government had dedicated £25,000 for the memorial. It was estimated that bulk of the expense would be masonry at £15,300 with sculptural work and

 

landscaping requiring £8,500 and £1,200 respectively. However, the final cost of construction pushed this out to approximately £30,000.

  

Opening

The National War Memorial in South Australia became the fourth state World War I memorial to be opened when it was unveiled in 1931. Inglis notes that this is in keeping with the size of the constituency, arguing that

 

"the larger the constituency that each of these collective tributes had to represent, the later it was built". It was unveiled before a crowd of almost 75,000 on Anzac Day, 25 April

 

1931, (the 16th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing), by the Governor Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven. The crowd, "as huge a crowd as anyone could remember assembling in the

 

city", was unable to fit in front of the memorial, so many thousands assembled at the Cross of Sacrifice in the Adelaide park lands to await a later ceremony. Hore-Ruthven was

 

introduced by the acting state premier, W. J. Denny, whose involvement in the unveiling, according to Inglis, was unusual for a Labor politician.

 

Restoration work

In 2001, the memorial's 70th anniversary year, a three-month remedial project was undertaken, restoring the bronze and stonework details and reinforcing the

 

foundations. The work was completed just days before the Remembrance Day services. In 2002 the architects responsible for the restoration, Bruce Harry & Associates, were

 

awarded a Heritage merit award for their work on the memorial by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

 

Design

The Spirit of Duty appearing before the youth of South Australia, as represented by the girl, the student and the farmer.The rules of the competition limited the space for the memorial

 

to the "one half acre" of land that was excised from the grounds of Government House.The design submitted by Woods, Bagot, Jory & Laybourne Smith easily met this

 

requirement, as the memorial was designed to fit on an ellipse with a major axis of 18.3 m (60 ft) in length and a minor axis of 15.5 m (51 ft).Standing at a height of over 14 m (46

 

ft), the structure was carefully placed back from North Terrace to provide space for "public gatherings of a ceremonial nature" and to allow for the proposed widening of the street.

 

The monument has two sides, referred to by the architects as the reverse and the obverse of the work, which they likened to the two sides of a coin. These two aspects represent

 

the prologue and the epilogue of war. Each side features a relief carved from Angaston marble and framed by the "rough-hewn" arch carved out of marble from Macclesfield,

 

while the granite steps leading up to the monument are constructed of Harcourt granite, as specified in the original proposal. (The architects had preferred the local West Island

 

granite, but acknowledged that the Harcourt granite was "the best available" unless the government would agree to reopen the quarry on West Island). The materials were chosen

 

in order to provide continuity with Parliament House, located a short distance away along North Terrace.

  

The Spirit of Compassion, bearing aloft the body of a dead soldier, symbolizes and commemorates the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the war and the loss experienced by

 

those who loved them.To represent the prologue to the war, the obverse of the monument (the side facing North Terrace) features a relief of the Spirit of Duty appearing as a vision

 

before the youth of South Australia, represented in the work by a sculptural group consisting of a girl, a student and a farmer abandoning the "symbols of their craft". The three are

 

depicted in normal dress, as they are not yet soldiers and are currently unprepared for the war that is to come, and they are facing away from the world as they look to the vision

 

before them. In Bagot's original plan, submitted for the 1924 competition, there was to be but a single nude figure kneeling before the vision (for which Bagot posed while in

 

Europe), but Laybourne-Smith's 1926 submission became grander in its scope. In addition, Bagot's original designs were naturalistic, with the Spirit of Duty depicted as a female

 

figure, but under Hoff's direction the figure was changed to male, and the style of the reliefs was changed to Art Deco—a "radically new" art style for Australia at the time. Hoff,

 

however, presented the sculptural group in the original naturalistic style, thus providing a "bridge between the Renaissance-style architecture and the Art Deco of the reliefs".

 

On the reverse side of the monument, facing away from the traffic, is a relief carved into the marble representing the epilogue of the war and depicting the Spirit of Compassion as a

 

winged spirit of womanhood bearing aloft a stricken youth. Beneath the figure is situated the Fountain of Compassion, the flow of water representing the "constant flow of

 

memories", while the lion's head from which it emerges, (and which bears the Imperial Crown), is representative of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

 

The designers acknowledged that the symbolism—especially that of the reverse side—does not represent "victory" in the traditional sense. They stated that the "Arch of Triumph

 

which was built in honour of a Caesar, a Napoleon, no longer expresses the feelings of modern democracy after an international struggle". Instead, the memorial represented a

 

spiritual victory, in which was displayed a "willingness to serve and to sacrifice".

 

Detail of one of the bronzes inside the memorial, upon which is listed the names of the South Australians who died during the war.Within the memorial the architects added an inner

 

shrine, or Record Room, in which could be recorded the names of the South Australians who fell during the war. While the design did not specify the exact form that this would take,

 

in the completed memorial these names are inscribed in the bronzes that line the walls. The design also allowed for a cenotaph within the inner shrine, which the designers

 

suggested could either be used as a symbolic representation of the unknown soldier or as the marker to an actual grave, although this aspect was never realised.

 

The monument is designed to honour both the war dead and all who served in the war—one face being inscribed to those who died in the war, while the other is dedicated to "all who

 

served". On the obverse side is inscribed the words "To perpetuate the courage, loyalty, and sacrifice of those who served in the Great War 1914–1918", while the reverse states

 

"All honour give to those who, nobly striving, nobly fell that we might live". Above the two entrances to the inner shrine were to be inscribed the names of the major theaters in which

 

Australians served in the Great War. Originally it was suggested that this was to be Egypt, Gallipoli and Palestine on one side, with France on the other, but in the final work

 

Belgium was added to the list.

 

Although the central square mile of the City of Adelaide is designed to the points of the compass, the monument sits at a 45 degree angle to North Terrace. The architects

 

provided two reasons for this. First, it was observed that "monuments suffer materially from monotonous lighting" when they face to the south; and second, the placing of the

 

monument to face a north-west direction allows it to be in line with both the Cross of Sacrifice and St. Peter's Cathedral. In addition to these two arguments, Richardson also notes

 

that the diagonal positioning of the memorial permits the dawn sun to fall on the facade.

 

EOS Canon 5D, 24-70L. AEB

 

2014

 

IMG_3186_7_8_

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

Another Place is a piece of modern sculpture by Antony Gormley.

 

Now permanently erected on Crosby Beach, England, it was due to be moved to New York, United States in November 2006, but there was a controversial proposal to retain the work at Crosby. It was recently stated in the local paper, the Crosby Herald, that they may stay for a decade, but at a meeting on 7 March 2007, Sefton Council accepted proposals that would allow the sculptures to be kept permanently at Crosby Beach.

 

The sculpture consists of 100 cast iron figures which face out to sea, spread over a 2 mile (3.2 km) stretch of the beach. Each figure is 189 cm tall (nearly 6 feet 2½ inches) and weighs around 650 kg (over 1400 lb).

 

In common with most of Gormley's work, the figures are cast replicas of the artist's own body. As the tides ebb and flow, the figures are revealed and submerged by the sea. The figures were cast at two foundries, Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax, West Yorkshire and Joseph and Jesse Siddons Foundry in West Bromwich.

 

Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany in 1997 and after that in Stavanger in Norway and De Panne in Belgium.

  

Another Place is a subject of local controversy in Crosby. Some consider the statues to be "pornographic" due to the inclusion of a simplified penis on the statues, whilst others see them as beautiful pieces of art which have brought increased tourism revenue to the local area.

 

Originally the statues were due to be relocated in November 2006. Those who use the front for watersports voice the strongest resistance to the iron men staying, as the statues do pose a safety problem[citation needed] - especially as the local marina is being closed to public use. While these sportsmen have a serious claim to getting rid of the statues, keeping them until 2008 will no doubt be beneficial for the economy of Crosby and Waterloo, and if they stay it seems more likely a multi-million pound watersports centre will be built. Art lovers and local businesses are lobbying for the statues to stay. Gormley himself agrees with the proposal to keep the statues in Crosby, saying that the current location is "ideal". The works, which had earlier been displayed in Germany, Norway and Belgium, became a major tourist attraction on Crosby Beach north of Liverpool.

 

As of March 2007 permission was granted to have Another Place permanently installed at Crosby. Initially, coastguard authorities expressed safety fears, saying people could become stuck in soft sand and be cut off by the tide when viewing the statues up close.

 

Conservationists had also complained that bird-feeding areas had been compromised by the extra tourist traffic.

 

In October 2006, the local council refused permission for the statues to stay, prompting Gormley to criticise what he called Britain's "risk-averse culture." He said "When I have been down on the beach myself, the majority of people have been intrigued, amused, sometimes very moved," he said.

 

Another Body Place Ltd, a body set up to campaign for the permanent installation, helped to convince the council to change its mind.

 

Graham Haywood, Chief Executive of Sefton Council, said in a statement "Despite some controversy, this internationally renowned artwork has aroused national and international public and media support." Saying that "The Iron Men have placed Crosby and Sefton firmly in the spotlight and the knock-on benefits of this should be felt for years to come."

The planning committee decided to move 16 of the statues back away from an area used by small sailing craft. Three others are being re-sited away from bird feeding areas. The work on the 16 started on 16 July 2007 and the plan is to put them in storage and return them in 2008. The full cost is expected to be £194,000 which will be paid for by Another Place Ltd, with funding coming from sources including The Northern Way and Northwest Development Agency.

On the 14 February 2008, five of the statues were used in a costume design project by Edge Hill University students. This involved dressing the statues in various items of clothing replicating different costumes and periods, which were then removed as the tide came in.

I always tend to miss a few albums here and there each year. It is difficult to keep up with so many bands out there in so many different countries. There are also a couple of albums I'm waiting to be more widely available in the States, such as the newest Juana Molina album and the newest Colleen album. Feel free to share your own here! So far, here's mine:

 

***NOTE: I initially somehow forgot The Terror by The Flaming Lips so that is now tied for a #3 spot. I realize that's not how Rolling Stone would probably do that but, hey, I'm my own woman****

 

1. Chelsea Wolfe: Pain is Beauty

 

This album is just so lush, dark, and wonderful. It's melodies sink into the depth of your organs. Pretty soon, your dreams are part echoey bliss and part dark nightmare. One thing is for sure, it's difficult to get it out of your head for any amount of substantial time. Chelsea Wolfe has created something rich in texture, quite bizarre, and intricately memorable.

 

www.chelseawolfe.net/

 

2. Jacco Gardner: Cabinet of Curiosities

 

Though Jacco Gardner is from The Netherlands, Chicago is very lucky to have a local record label, Trouble in Mind, release this! This album is perfect for any fan of psychedelic music. It's complex layers and arrangements are incredibly interesting and also quite lovely. The album posesses an element of beautiful melancholy and has certain sound samples that make each song quite unique. A great album to see performed live, too!

 

jaccogardner.com/

 

3. Sigur Rós: Kveikur

 

I tend to love everything related to this band so it's probably no surprise to anyone that I loved this one. I think the difference between this album and earlier releases is that this has a much more turbulent and challenging aspect to it. The opening of the album as a whole itself has a much different sound, too, and it's disorienting at times to think of it as the same band. Still, there's a real strong sense to these tracks and this band continues to grow in a way that makes it very worthwhile to follow their releases.

 

www.sigur-ros.co.uk/

 

3. The Flaming Lips: The Terror

 

You know what happened? The Flaming Lips put together such an amazing live show..I mean, they kept all the confetti and balloon companies in business. But, on the flipside, they started being seen as less real and less influential..more as a party than as a long lasting friendship. Well, people kind of forgot how amazing the band really was and when they forgot they also didn't include them on best of 2013 lists initially because their memories failed them and the musicians they loved.

 

One of those people is me. I listened to this album, The Terror, and I felt the first feeling I'd gained from the band since I heard Zaireeka and, this time, it seemed even more realized. I can't quite say whether I'll like it as much as I liked Soft Bulletin 10 years later but it's a good bet that I will. This album is under-rated and under-realized and it's time that changed.

 

www.flaminglips.com/peacesword/index.html

 

4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away

 

There are some musicians out there who have had a career like Nick Cave and just don't have any more to give. You just kind of have to accept that this is the way it is.

 

With Nick Cave, the man just doesn't ever seem to run out of inspiration either in terms of his lyrics or any of the musical arrangements. The man is on fire and, even in the songs you have to wait for the fire to burn, they are well worth the wait.

 

www.nickcave.com/

 

5. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

 

Both MBV and GY!BE put out albums this year that I was impressed by, as if no time had gone by since their last release. I've loved both bands for so long and was so happy when GY!BE started playing live again. Interesting to note, they won the Polaris prize for this album and gave their winning monetary amount to fund music programs in Quebec prisons.

 

I'll sing a Tra La La to them for that.

 

www.brainwashed.com/godspeed/

 

6. Julianna Barwick: Nepenthe

 

At the end of a really impossible day when your heart is frozen to your shoes and you wonder if all the blood in your veins has finally stopped flowing, it's really lovely and reassuring to listen to this album like a mother lovingly cradling her child and saying, "I promise it's going to be all right. I promise it's going to be all right." I believe her.

 

www.juliannabarwick.com/

 

www.brainwashed.com/godspeed/

 

7. My Bloody Valentine: MBV/Self Titled

 

If you're a fan of shoegaze music, this band won't let you down. If there are those out there who would criticise this newest release by saying that the band's sound hasn't evolved since their release of Loveless in 1991, that would be a fair statement. However, this release seems like it could have literally come out in 1992 or 1993 and perhaps be hailed in a better light. Back in thoe times, their sound seemed revolutionary and Loveless helped change the face of music forever to inspire so many other bands. That said, if you like Loveless, changes are you'll also like this album quite a bit! I hope that MBV fans won't overlook it's release!

 

www.mybloodyvalentine.org/

 

8. Mikal Cronin: MCII

 

Is it possible that I would be nostalgic about an album when it hasn't even been out for an entire year? Well, that's how I feel. These melodies make my heart and soul a little sick but all in a good way. You'll want to belt out these lyrics as they become a strong part of you. Some who follow the music of Ty Segall may already know of Mikal Cronin's music but may not have looked into hearing his solo work even when it's fuzzy and catchy in all the most perfect places. I'd highly recommend this album and you can hear it on Bandcamp.

 

mikalcronin.bandcamp.com/

 

9. Tim Hecker: Virgins

 

I'll be excited to see Tim Hecker play Tomorrow Never Knows festival on January 16th, 2014 at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. I've missed the last couple of times he's played as I wasn't feeling so great and my friends have raved about how amazing it was. Most of the musicians and bands I listen to are really pretty removed from the mainstream (Nick Cave is probably the most well known on this list) and that's because I feel overall less challenged and inspired by the bulk of music played over mainstram radio waves. There's an amazing underground of independent musicians who just do it better and I'd rather support them than a label any day of the week. This album by Tim Hecker is probably going to end up being my favorite release by him and it's a good example. It's music that makes you think and feel and that is always a good thing, even when it hurts.

 

www.sunblind.net/

 

10. Mary Lattimore: The Withdrawing Room

 

Mary manages to create some intriguing soundscapes with this release from the jarring to the whimsical. Some are edgy and make you wonder if the world is going to collapse and others make you feel so light hearted that everything is going to be ok. Listen to this if you want to be challenged by a very creative female musician in a genre of experimental music where males tend to dominate.

 

www.desirepathrecordings.com/releases/mary-lattimore-the-...

  

>>>>Other albums I liked<<<<<<<

 

Cinchel: Sometimes You See Yourself Through the Cosmos

 

cinchel.bandcamp.com/

 

Pink Frost-(s/t)

 

pinkfrost.bandcamp.com/album/pink-frost

 

Ty Segall-Sleeper

 

ty-segall.com/

 

Deerhunter: Monomania

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qIqC7jjHfw

 

Waxahatchee: Cerulean Salt

 

www.waxahatcheemusic.com/

 

Kwaidan: Make the hell of Dark Metal Bright

 

www.waxahatcheemusic.com/

 

Le Berger: Variations on Not Too Much Really

 

leberger.bandcamp.com/album/variations-on-not-too-much-re...

 

Nicholas Szczepanik: Entre los Árboles

 

nszcz.bandcamp.com/album/entre-los-rboles

 

Circuit Des Yeux: Overdue

 

circuitdesyeux.bandcamp.com/

 

Julia Holter: Loud City Song

 

juliashammasholter.com/

 

Yamantaka Sonic Titan: Uzu

 

yamantakasonictitan.bandcamp.com/

 

Frankie Rose: Herein Wild

 

www.missfrankierose.com/

 

Federico Durand – El idioma de las luciérnagas

 

www.desirepathrecordings.com/releases/federico-durand-el-...

 

**All photos are copyrighted. Please don't use without permission**

 

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/about.aspx

  

Situated on the banks of the Conwy estuary, with magnificent views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle, this reserve is delightful at any time of year.

 

Conwy's a great place to get close to wildlife, to spend time with family and friends, or just take time out in fantastic scenery that embraces 4,000 years of human history. There’s a network of pushchair-friendly trails with viewpoints and hides to make the most of your visit and plenty if information to explain what you're watching. Perhaps you’ll meet one of our friendly volunteer wildlife guides who can help you discover just a little bit more?

 

In our Visitor Centre, our warm welcome will ensure you have exactly what you need for your visit. We have events to suit everyone from keen birdwatchers to beginners or young families, whether your interest is wildlife, history, art or any number of other subjects.

 

We love our food at Conwy so why not visit our monthly Farmers' Market or call in at the Waterside Coffee Shop, overlooking the lagoon, and enjoy a drink, a snack or light lunch using delicious local produce. We have a well-stocked shop, too, with good advice on everything from feeding birds to new binoculars.

 

We welcome group visits, but please book these with us in advance so that we can give you the best possible service. Entry rates are listed below, but we can also organise guided walks for a flat-fee of £30 for a group of up to 15 people, £50 for a group of 15 to 30 people. Please ring the reserve at least six weeks before your proposed visit to arrange a group visit.

  

Opening times

  

The shop and visitor centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30 am-5 pm. The coffee shop is open from 10 am-4.30 pm (to 4 pm from November to March).

  

Entrance charges

  

Members free. Non-members: adults £3, concessions £2, children £1.50. Family ticket £6.50.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

  

Why not join a guided walk with our volunteers every Saturday at 11 am? They will help you spot and identify the birds. You can hire a pair of binoculars from us (£3 a visit). Just ask at reception.

  

Information for families

  

From our Visitor Centre, you can collect one of our Bingo cards, encouraging you all to take a closer look at the reserve. Bingo cards change according to season and are available in Welsh or English. There's a self-guided Discovery Trail, and all the tracks are pushchair-friendly. The Waterside Coffee Shop has a popular toybox to occupy little hands while you're enjoying a cuppa.

  

Information for dog owners

  

Sorry, we don't allow dogs, except registered assistance dogs, because there are breeding birds and, in winter, roosting birds on the reserve. There’s a popular dog walk along the estuary, running north from the reserve.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/star_species.aspx

  

Star species

  

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Black-tailed godwit

  

These elegant, long-billed waders can be seen on the estuary and lagoons here in autumn. Look out for their striking black and white wingbars as they take flight.

  

Lapwing

 

Look - and listen - for the acrobatic aerial displays of lapwings over the grassland in spring as they stake a claim to territories and try to attract a mate. These wonderful birds can be seen throughout the year.

  

Sedge warbler

  

Another warbler that returns from Africa in spring, the sedge warbler is easy to see because it 'pirouettes' up into the air from the tops of the bushes, singing its scratchy song as it goes.

  

Shelduck

  

Colourful shelducks are present in large numbers most of the year, with smaller numbers in summer. You can see them in flocks on the estuary and the lagoons.

  

Water rail

  

Water rails can be seen from the hides in winter. A bit of patience should reward you with a sighting of one of these skulking birds weaving in and out of the reeds.

   

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/seasonal_highlight...

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

  

Lapwings perform their tumbling display flights. Grey herons build their nests. Birdsong increases from April as migrants arrive from Africa. Cowslips burst into flower around the coffee shop. Orange-tip and peacock butterflies take nectar from early flowers.

  

Summer

  

Warblers sing from the reedbeds and scrub. Common blue butterflies and six-spotted burnet moths feed on the bright yellow bird's foot trefoil. Young ducks and waders hatch. A profusion of wild flowers, including delicate bee orchids. Stoats hunt on the estuary track. Little egret numbers build up following the breeding season.

  

Autumn

  

Waders pass through on migration. Ducks arrive for the winter. Grassland is rich in fungi. Dragonflies lay eggs on warm afternoons. Sea buckthorn and brambles are festooned with berries. Buzzards soar over the nearby woods.

  

Winter

  

Huge flocks of starlings settle down to roost at dusk. Water rails may be seen from the Coffee Shop. Close-up views of buntings and finches at the feeding station. Gorse bursts into flower from January. Look for tracks of birds and mammals in the snow.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/facilities.aspx

  

Facilities

  

Facilities

 

•Visitor centre

•Car park : Ample parking with cycle racks.

•Toilets

•Disabled toilets

•Baby-changing facilities

•Picnic area

•Binocular hire

•Group bookings accepted

•Guided walks available

•Good for walking

•Pushchair friendly

  

Viewing points

  

Along the trails there are three hides and three viewing screens from which you get great views of wildlife and the scenery.

  

Nature trails

  

There are three nature trails that together create a circular loop of just under two miles. The Blue Tit and Redshank Trails are entirely accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs; the Grey Heron trail is unpaved and can be bumpy.

  

Tearoom

  

Hot and cold drinks, lunches, cakes and snacks are available from the Waterside Coffee Shop, which stocks a range of Fairtrade and local produce.

 

Refreshments available

 

•Hot drinks

•Cold drinks

•Sandwiches

•Snacks

•Confectionery

  

Shop

  

Our friendly and knowledgeable team can help with advice on everything from a new pair of binoculars, the right book to go birdwatching or bird food and feeders that will suit your garden.

  

The shop stocks:

 

•Binoculars and telescopes

•Books

•Bird food

•Bird feeders

•Nestboxes

•Outdoor clothing

•Gifts

  

Educational facilities

  

Our friendly field teachers run a variety of activities and educational programmes for children. These fun and inspirational sessions are available for schools, youth groups and clubs. For more information contact Charlie Stretton on 01492 584091 or email conwy@rspb.org.uk. Educational facilities include an indoor activity room which is available for children's parties and community events. Please call for more information.

  

Group visits

 

We welcome group visits, but please book these with us in advance so that we can give you the best possible service. Entry rates are listed above, but we can also organise guided walks for a flat-fee of £30 for a group of up to 15 people, or £50 for a group of 15 to 30 people. Please ring the reserve at least six weeks before your proposed visit to arrange a group visit.

  

For more information

 

Contact us

 

Tel: 01492 584091

E-mail: conwy@rspb.org.uk

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/conwyconnections.aspx

  

Enhancing RSPB Conwy nature reserve for people and nature

  

Over the next few months, RSPB Conwy will be transformed with a fresh look and exciting new facilities. We've been dreaming of this for years! Find out more about Conwy Connections and what you can look forward to.

  

What we've got planned

  

In autumn 2012 we started a programme of work that we're calling Conwy Connections.

 

The brownfield land that connects the visitor centre and coffee shop will be transformed into what we're calling 'Y Maes' - the 'village square' of the reserve. It'll be a place for families and friends to meet, relax and explore.

 

Hillocks and hummocks will provide elevated views of the reserve and the Conwy valley. It includes a play area, tunnel, picnic area, wildlife meadow, events area and much more.

 

Landforms and natural features will introduce more children to nature, stimulating learning through play and their own imaginations. It's going to be a wonderful place for everyone, throughout the year.

 

We're also constructing a new building which we're calling the 'observatory.' It will be a fantastic indoor space, built into the bank with the lagoon right in front of it. It's going to be a great place to watch wildlife, and we'll use it for events throughout the year.

 

It's by no means a run-of-the mill design. This very special, green construction will be built out of straw bales, rendered with clay on the inside and lime on the outside.

 

Other elements of the project that are yet to happen include new artwork for Talyfan Hide, a new viewpoint to be built on Y Ganol footpath and a big art installation. Watch this space!

  

It's all thanks to our supporters

  

The Communities and Nature project is supporting the Conwy Connections with £179,000. The Crown Estate pledged a generous £55,000 to build the new observatory. Tesco plc decided to donate the money it collected in its stores in Wales from the Welsh Government's 5p single-use bag levy to RSPB Cymru and a portion of this goes towards our project.

 

The fantastic volunteers of the RSPB Conwy Support Group also raised an impressive £30,000 towards the match-funding in less than two years. This shows huge support for what was proposed, for which we're very grateful.

 

We've also been able to install solar panels in the coffee shop and improve the car park, thanks to Conwy Connections.

 

Roll on August!

 

The Conwy Connections launch will take place on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 August 2013. It'll be a fun-filled day for you and all the family to enjoy the new facilities first-hand.

 

Why not sign up to our mailing list to receive our regular bulletin? Email us, follow us on Twitter or read the latest news on our blog.

 

Conwy Connections is an initiative part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and is a component element of the Countryside Council for Wales' Communities and Nature strategic project.

 

RSPB Cymru would also like to thank those whose donations support RSPB Conwy nature reserve and visitor facilities, including The Crown Estate, Cemlyn Jones Trust, Environment Wales, Tesco Plc, Conwy Town Council and the RSPB Conwy Support Group.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/accessibility.aspx

  

Accessibility

 

9 July 2012

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

  

Before you visit

 

•Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

•Free entry to members, Entrance fee for non members. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

•No dogs, except Registered Assistance Dogs. A water bowl is at the visitor centre

•Pushed wheelchairs for hire, free of charge, bookable in advance

•Visitor Centre open 9.30 am to 5 pm. Cafe open 10 am to 4 pm (4.30 pm in summer). Closed Christmas Day. Trails open outside visitor centre opening hours

•Check accessibility for events and activities

•RSPB Conwy is featured in A Rough Guide to Accessible Britain.

  

How to get here

 

•Llandudno Junction Railway Station less than a mile away

•Bus stop at Tesco or Llandudno Junction.

  

Car parking

 

•Eight Blue Badge spaces at visitor centre

•Large car park

•Gates locked at 5 pm

•Drop off outside the visitor centre

•Rolled stone surface

•No lighting

•No height restrictions

•Estuary viewed from parking outside entry gate.

  

Visitor centre and shop

  

Entry by three steps or a ramp with handrails on both sides. Heavy manual doors open outward. All one level with step-free entry and non-slip vinyl surface. Lowered counter. Two seats in reception. Good lighting. Clear print materials. Most text in English and Welsh. Binoculars hire. Some goods may be difficult to reach. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

  

Three signposted trails, mainly flat; a mixture of surfaces including rolled slate and boardwalk. Benches provided. Information boards in large print.

  

Viewing facilities

  

Three viewing hides with adjacent viewing screens. Three stand-alone viewing screens with variable height viewing slots. Occasional weekend staffing at hides.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

A unisex accessible toilet with baby changing facility is in the coffee shop. Visitor toilets are behind the coffee shop.

  

Catering

  

Coffee shop 30 m past the visitor centre along a tarmac path. Panoramic windows on a single level with vinyl flooring. Self-service with staff available. Colour-contrasted crockery. Large-handled cutlery.

  

Picnic area

 

10 tables with wheelchair spaces between the visitor centre and the coffee shop. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

  

Step-free, level access throughout. Flexible layout. Non-slip vinyl flooring. Good lighting.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/optics.aspx

  

Thinking of buying binoculars or a telescope? Interested in using a digital camera with a telescope, but don't know where to start?

 

Book an appointment with an expert. Our one-hour field demonstrations will help you choose the best equipment for you – in the sort of conditions that you'll be using them, not just looking down the high street.

 

Telephone us on 01492 584091 to arrange your time with our advisers.

 

We also hold monthly demonstration weekends – check out our events page for details.

 

Chris Lusted, one of our optics team, says: 'Whether it's your first pair of binoculars, or you're thinking of upgrading your telescope, I love helping people to discover the world outside the window. I spend my spare time testing out new gear so that I can give customers the best advice.

 

'Everyone's different – your eyes, your hands, the places you go – so what's right for one person will be different from the next. I want people to appreciate birds well, so we can secure their future.'

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/directions.aspx

  

How to get here

  

By train

 

The nearest train station is Llandudno Junction, less than a mile from the reserve. The quickest route is to turn left out of the station and take the first left down Ferndale Road. Follow the footpath to the right and turn left over the road bridge (Ffordd 6G). The road goes past Tesco and a cinema complex to the large A55 roundabout. The reserve is on the south side of the roundabout and is signposted.

 

A more enjoyable, but slightly longer walk, is just over a mile. Turn left out of the station and take the first left down Ferndale Road. Go under the bridge and after 200 m, go under another bridge and immediately up steps to join Conwy Road. Walk towards Conwy and at the start of the gardens, drop to your right and loop beneath Conwy Road through an underpass. Then it’s over the footbridge and follow the estuary track for half a mile until you get to the reserve car park.

 

A map to the reserve is on posters at Llandudno Junction railway station. If you’re travelling here by train, take advantage of our offer of a free drink. Present a valid rail ticket for arrival at Llandudno Junction in the Waterside Coffee Shop on the day of travel, and we’ll give you a free cup of tea or filter coffee.

  

By bus

  

The nearest bus stop is the number 27 at Tesco, follow directions as above. Many other buses stop nearby in Llandudno Junction (number 5, 9, 14, 15, 19 and 84), directions are as from the train station.

  

By road

  

From the A55, take junction 18 (signposted Conwy and Deganwy) and follow the brown RSPB signs. The reserve is on the south side of the roundabout. From Conwy, Deganwy and Llandudno, take the A546/A547 to the Weekly News roundabout, drive south past Tesco and the Cinema complex (Ffordd 6G) and cross the roundabout over the A55. The entrance to the reserve is on the south side.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/history/index.aspx

  

Conwy is an upside-down nature reserve. Until the late 1980s, it was a river. Twice a day the tide went out and revealed huge mudbanks. Waders fed on the mud, and at high tide roosted along the railway embankment.

 

And then their world changed. What happened could have been disastrous for wildlife, but thanks to some inspired thinking and hard work, new habitats and a popular reserve were created. We also highlight some of the historic features to look out for when you visit.

  

This is where we came from

  

We're an upside-down nature reserve because the earth you walk over sat at the bottom of the Conwy estuary for thousands of years. In the 1980s, the government decided to build a road tunnel through the estuary to relieve traffic congestion in the old walled town of Conwy.

 

The design was revolutionary - it was the first immersed tube tunnel in the world. But it came at a price: the final outside bend of the river would be 'reclaimed' and covered with the silt from the riverbed. After the tunnel was built, this land might have been grassed over and grazed, but for a moment of wisdom from a town planner from Aberconwy Borough Council, Dave Phillips.

 

Over a pint with countryside ranger John Davies, they wondered whether the lagoons could become the centre of a new wetland. A phone call to the RSPB, and several years of meetings and negotiations later, after the tunnel was opened by HM The Queen in October 1991, work began to create the neighbouring reserve.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/c/conwy/history/4000years....

  

Stand on the reserve and you can see 4,000 years of human history that stems from the Conwy valley's importance as a 'highway', first by boat, later by train and more recently by road.

 

Most of the west bank of the Conwy is in the Snowdonia National Park. The land here has been worked for more than 4,000 years: Stone Age quarries produced axes for export, early Celts lived in roundhouses and grew crops and livestock in field systems with terraced cultivation, burying their dead in cromlech chambers that remain in today's landscape.

 

After the Roman invasion of modern-day England, the Celtic tribes kept the Romans at bay for several years, using their knowledge of the hills to sabotage the Roman forces and undertake guerrilla warfare. The Romans' superior technology and organisation eventually won through and they took over the Celtic forts, such as Pen-y-gaer, which guard the Roman road through the hills to Anglesey.

 

After the Romans left, the land returned to the local tribes until after the Normans conquered England. Then this area became the Checkpoint Charlie of Wales – Celtic Wales on the west bank and lands ruled by English lords on the east. There were plenty of skirmishes, with castles built, occupied and knocked down, and battles fought on the shoreline that reputedly made the River Conwy run red with blood.

  

A tale of two castles

  

From the reserve, you can look north to two castles: on the east bank is the Vardre, fortified from Roman times until its abandonment and destruction by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, in 1263. On the west bank is the impressive Conwy Castle, one of eight huge fortresses built by English king, Edward I when he conquered Wales. Built between 1283 and 1289, the castle and the town were built with 6-foot thick town walls to keep the Welsh out. At £15,000 (about £9 million today), it was the most expensive of the 'iron ring' of castles built by Edward.

 

The village to the south, Glan Conwy, has been a settlement for at least 1500 years. Llansanffraid Glan Conwy means 'Church of St Ffraid on the bank of the River Conwy'. The parish was founded, according to legend, when St. Bridget (Ffraid in Welsh) sailed from Ireland on a green turf and landed here - a tale which probably stems from the arrival of Irish Christians in the 5th century.

 

Glan Conwy was a busy port in the Georgian era with ships commuting to Chester and Bristol, carrying flour from the mill, fruit from the farms, timber and slates from the upper Valley and iron from the furnace at Bodnant. Until the railway line was built, Glan Conwy was a shipbuilding village, with ships that went as far as Australia, and a row of warehouses along the wharf where the A470 now lies.

 

This part of the estuary was notoriously hazardous for ships, with fast tidal races and frequent winter storms. Several boats sank here, the remains of one being obvious in the muddy saltmarsh just off the reserve.

 

The fast-flowing tidal river below the castle kept out invaders and was dangerous for early ferries. Many people drowned trying to cross it, including passengers aboard the Irish mailcoach. Engineer Thomas Telford designed the causeway (known as The Cob) and suspension bridge as part of the first North Wales coast road, which with the Castle and estuary provides a scenic backdrop to the reserve.

 

The railway from Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway, that runs alongside the reserve, was opened in 1863 to carry slate to a purpose built dock at Deganwy. Building the Cob altered the flow of the main channel in the estuary, reducing Glan Conwy's role as a port and the railway finished the boat traffic almost overnight, and with it a way of life, with its own language, was gone.

 

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

Ms. Utsunomiya - Good morning. Greetings also to those who are watching us online. I am Keiko Utsunomiya, External Relations Officer from the External Relations Department of the International Monetary Fund. With me here is Mr. Jerry Schiff, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department; Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department; also Mr. Masahiko Takeda, Deputy Director; Mr. Markus Rodlauer, Deputy Director; and Mr. Hoe Ee Khor, also Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department. Mr. Singh will give brief opening remarks before taking questions from the floor.

 

Anoop, please.

 

The Director of the Asia and Pacific Department (Mr. Singh) - ...on how we see the outlook for Asia, let me just mention at the start that we are going to be launching our Asian Economic Outlook in Asia very soon, and hopefully I might see some of you in the region as we go into much more detail on our assessments. Let me make three points at the start of my remarks.

 

As you have seen from press conferences this week and the World Economic Outlook WEO, Asia is clearly continuing to lead the three-speed global recovery. Having said that, we are looking at risks and they are shifting. In the short term, we are looking carefully at financial imbalances to see if they are building up in some countries. Of course, there is the clear reality that corporate and banking sector balance sheets in Asia are really still very sound. Beyond that, over the medium term, we are looking at the priorities in rebuilding policy space so as to ensure that foundations are laid for longer-term prosperity. Some countries in Asia might face what some call the “middle-income trap” and it is important that policies seek to avoid that.

 

Okay, briefly on these points. As I said, Asia is leading the three-speed global recovery. You have seen these numbers. You have seen that Asia is going to grow closer to 5 3/4 this year. If you look at Emerging Asia, it is well above that, over 7 percent this year. Of course, there is some variation on this in Asia.

 

Also important for us as we look at Asia is the ASEAN economies. They are growing at close to 5 1/2 percent and some frontier countries are growing even higher, about 6, 6 1/2, such as Cambodia, and Myanmar. For the Pacific Island countries, partly given their lower connectivity with the region, their growth is somewhat lagging.

 

The main point I want to make on the near-term outlook being so strong in Asia despite the external situation, which, of course, is improving and that helps Asia a lot, the main point is that domestic demand in Asia has been more of a key driver of the Asian growth than we could have expected a couple of years ago. Consumption and private investment have been robust across Asia, supported by a number of factors; of course, also, by relatively easy financial conditions.

 

What we are also learning is that the spillovers within Asia are positive and large. As you look at the data available for trade within Asia, especially among the ASEAN countries, you see that demand has picked up and there is more demand within ASEAN economies. The final demand is coming more in consumer products within ASEAN and less simply from the supply chain.

 

Let us talk briefly about China and Japan. In China, we recognize that the latest data do show a somewhat lower growth rate during the first quarter than expected, but in our view growth appears to be on track. Our projections remain at 8 percent this year, even picking up for next year. You have seen that some of the indicators in the first quarter have been rather strong. In Japan, our view is that a policy stimulus should help sustain growth around 1 1/2 percent for this year. In both cases, there are positive spillovers to the region from China and Japan.

 

Inflation is not an issue. In most countries, not in every country but in most countries, inflation should remain generally within the comfort zones of the targets of central banks.

 

Let us move now on to risks. They are certainly narrower and they are more balanced than they were six months ago. As I said, external risks have certainly come down and therefore we are looking more carefully at regional risks. In the near term, we are looking carefully at trends in credit ratios in relation to output gaps. We are seeing in many countries that credit ratios and output levels are fairly clearly moving above trends of course, fueled by easy global and domestic financial conditions. Therefore, there is a risk that balance sheets could come under pressure. But, as I said, corporate and financial sector balance sheets in Asia are generally sound.

 

There are a number of other risks of significance: regional risks, global risks, geo-politics. They would be disruptive, in part because Asia continues to have a highly integrated supply chain network, but the growing dependence on regional demand helps mitigate some of these potential risks. So, policymakers face a delicate balancing act, guarding against the potential buildup of financial imbalances while ensuring adequate support for growth.

 

So, in that context, let me say a few words on the macroeconomic policy stance in countries. These have been accommodative. They have served the region well, given the external risks. But output levels are close to or above trend in many countries, and output gaps have narrowed or have disappeared. Therefore, our sense is that monetary policymakers should stand very ready to respond quickly, decisively, and preemptively to avoid any risks of overheating.

 

Of course, this point is quite different from country to country within Asia. Let me make a brief point on Japan. In Japan, the new quantitative and qualitative monetary easing policy is clearly welcome, as Japan needs to reach and achieve its domestic goals of ending deflation and raising growth. But, as we have said, and as the Japan authorities have said, it needs to be complemented by ambitious fiscal sustainability and a growth strategy to revive the economy on a sustained basis.

 

Nevertheless, given that capital has come back to Asia, it is the case that macroprudential measures are playing and will have to play an important role, especially where there has been rapid credit growth in the context of strong capital inflows to ensure these do not put pressure on financial stability.

 

Asia will be attractive for capital over the medium term, given its growth fundamentals. Therefore, we can expect capital inflows to remain strong over the medium term. The challenge is how do you accommodate this capital coming in. Here, the most important point from my point of view is to ensure that the economic framework directs these capital flows into foreign direct investment rather than just portfolio, to help build infrastructure in areas important for medium-term growth.

 

In this context, I will also make a related point on fiscal policy. In many countries, as you look at their structural balances, their structural deficits, these are generally now somewhat higher than they were before the global crisis. Asian countries therefore need to rebuild their policy and fiscal space to ensure that infrastructure needs can be adequately and sustainably addressed.

 

This is closely linked to medium-term issues and that is how you make growth in Asia more inclusive, more sustainable. In this context, the fiscal policy framework is very important. We believe in many countries, especially in Emerging Asia, there is a lot of room to enhance the quality of revenue and expenditure policies, thereby helping make growth more resilient and more inclusive. This is also important for many countries to avoid what some have called the “middle-income trap.”

 

Thus, to maintain Asia’s growth leadership, many countries have to take reforms across a range of areas, especially strengthening infrastructure investment, but also reforms in goods and labor markets, and for many countries, meeting the challenges for demographic changes that are coming to much of Asia.

 

So, that is my introduction. The near term looks good. Policymakers are now looking at risks over the medium term. They are trying to ensure that Asia remains a growth leader while making their growth inclusive and sustainable. Thank you very much.

 

Ms. Utsunomiya - Thank you, Anoop.

 

Now we will take questions from the floor. We will also welcome questions online as well. Please identify yourself and affiliation.

 

Any questions, please?

 

Question - My question is for Mr. Singh.

 

You mentioned about China’s economy that we should not overreact about the recent data of slowdown. I was just wondering, what do you think is the biggest challenge for China’s economy despite what you said that we should not overreact?

 

You also mentioned about shadow banking. Do you have your own assessment or measurement about how large is China’s shadow banking?

 

Mr. Singh - Let me just, on your first point, mention that we just got some information overnight about China’s business sentiment indicator that shows improvement in overall business conditions in April. This has been driven by increases in new orders and production. This is consistent with our sense that growth remains close to 8 percent for this year.

 

You talked about other issues. I might ask my colleagues to speak more about this. Basically, I think we are at a stage where China, as the President has said, including recently in Haikou—I was recently at the Boao Forum and we heard President Xi Jinping speak. He spoke very comprehensively. He spoke about the need to adapt China’s growth model. He was very clear that China needs to change from its growth model being focused on manufacturing and exports, to being much more focused on what he calls “People Development,” to shift the focus from investment, manufacturing, and exports to consumption, to households. This is a change in the growth model. It involves a whole range of policies. Among those is financial sector reform. We have heard the People’s Bank of China speak very often of how this is a priority for China and for them in the near term. I raise this because you asked about shadow financing, shadow lending. This is clearly something which is being looked at.

 

On the one hand, it is an indication that financial developments and credit in China are deepening and are moving ahead in a more liberalized environment, but they need also to have full regulation. Therefore, there is concern that this is rising very fast. Overall, the point I will make is that in China recently credit growth has been large and the authorities are trying to moderate it.

 

Markus, you want to add to that?

 

The Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department (Mr. Rodlauer) - Shadow banking, let us say nontraditional financing in China has become, of course, very important. As a share of total financial flows, it has risen to almost half; last year it was 40 percent of total intermediation. This year it is probably half. So, it is a very important part of growth, a very important part of China’s story of moving toward more market determination.

 

At the same time, of course, because it is growing so fast, whenever credit is growing very fast, it bears vigilance because there are issues about credit quality, issues about liquidity risks.

 

In terms of the overall size, why it is growing very fast in terms of the overall size, our assessment is that it is still manageable. It is still relatively small. The authorities have the margins to control it. But if the very rapid growth were to continue for some time, it would become, of course, larger and larger. So, our job is to point to the risks before they become a problem. I think that is the focus of the authorities at this point.

 

Question - The World Economic Outlook forecasts India’s growth to be at 7 percent in the medium term, while India is currently going through a phase of slowing growth and a high current account deficit and fiscal deficit is adding to India’s problems. So, where do you get this confidence from or what gives you the confidence that India will return to the 7 percent growth?

 

Mr. Singh - Let me make a couple of points. You are talking, I guess, more generally about potential growth. Our sense is clearly India has that potential. We have seen, however, a drop in growth in recent years, but we are seeing in recent months a changing sentiment responding to changing policies.

 

If you look at some high frequency indicators, you will see that a recovery from the low growth in India is beginning. As you know, we are projecting for this fiscal year growth rising to about 5.8. If you look at the calendar year for 2014, we are seeing it already rising to over 6, around 6 percent.

 

On policies, let me just say that one concern has been the slow rate of project approvals in India. Therefore, I think it is significant that the government has established a Cabinet Committee to accelerate project approvals and deal with this overhang of project requests that have not been approved.

 

On the other hand, and it is not just India but across Asia, capital is coming in. If you look at India, you will see that the balance of foreign direct investment to other capital has somewhat changed in recent years. The ratio of FDI has gone down a bit. Therefore, it is important for India and other countries that the balance goes back and rises for FDI that is more sustainable. The challenge is to ensure it goes into sectors that are important for growth.

 

It is in that context that we should look very carefully at what countries are doing in Asia, and recently in India, to improve the attractiveness of FDI and enhance its FDI framework. They have liberalized the FDI regime in a number of areas, including in retail and aviation.

 

So, overall, there has been reform in accelerating policy approvals, project approvals, liberalizing FDI, and continuing with the commitment for fiscal consolidation. The government is acting on a number of areas. That is why we do believe that potential growth in India could certainly go above where it currently has been.

 

Question - I have a question about the capital controls. When you think about G3 central banks, they are implementing huge quantitative easing and money flows to emerging markets, especially the countries that are growing fast. What do you recommend, to those countries that are getting portfolio inflows partly in FDI, the policy mix, capital controls or currency intervention? We have not seen currency intervention yet, but I would just like to hear your thoughts about that.

 

Ms. Utsunomiya - Could you clarify. Is that capital flows in Asia?

 

Question - In Emerging Asia in general.

 

Mr. Singh - I talked about this in my opening remarks. A lot has been written on this in recent months. Let me briefly mention there are two ways to see this.

 

In the short run, yes, there are concerns of capital volatility. In Emerging Asia, capital flows rebounded in the second half of last year, certainly went above previous trends, including in the first quarter of this year, but since then there has been moderation. So, on the one hand, there is the risk of volatility and this volatility is much more pronounced if the inflow is in the form of portfolio and other in the shorter term. So, the challenge for Asia is how to continue to get capital on a sustainable basis.

 

It is important to recognize that, looking beyond where global monetary conditions presently are, over the medium term, you are going to see emerging markets, especially in Asia, remaining the growth leader. Therefore, we have to expect that capital will continue to flow to emerging countries, especially Asia. That is the reality.

 

It’s a very simple issue, to my mind. The challenge for Asia is how you shift this, so that capital does not come with volatility in the short run, into short-run speculative or property investments that have caused bubbles and how do you shift that focus into FDI, as I said earlier.

 

Now, in the short run, you will see that countries in Asia have done a lot in these macroprudential measures, trying to target those flows which could be more sensitive from a shorter-run speculative point of view. They have stayed away from what is called capital controls so far. They have used a number of measures and I think to some extent they are succeeding, but I would say the more important longer-term issue is how to ensure that these flows go into infrastructure in much of Emerging Asia, across ASEAN, including India and South Asia; that the challenge is reorienting the fiscal policy space to build infrastructure and ensuring that this is boosted by foreign capital. That is the challenge.

 

Let me ask colleagues if you want to add to it.

 

Mr. Rodlauer - In terms of the individual country’s policy response to portfolio, large-scale portfolio inflows, I think there is not really a one-size-fits-all approach. It depends very much on the actual macro situation of the country, where they are in the policy framework. If there is room to have the traditional macro responses, like, some exchange rate appreciation for a country that may be undervalued or is not overvalued, that is one line of defense. If you have a monetary policy cycle where you can actually tighten, where you can actually loosen and you do not have overheating yet, you can reduce interest rates to keep capital flows outside.

 

If those macro traditional responses do not work, you may want to shift to macroprudential measures. There is a whole range of capital-based, liquidity-based measures that many countries have done. If that does not work in the end, as we have said, capital flow measures may in the end also be one of the policy tools in the arena as well as currency intervention.

 

For example, a country like Hong Kong, whose policy framework does not have an independent monetary policy, does not have capital controls, has a very clear fiscal framework, has very clear macro openness, no controls framework, macro-prudential and intervention are the main tools because that is consistent with their framework. So, it really depends on a country-by-country situation.

 

Question - Also a related question to the previous one. So, given that Japan has just announced a radical monetary easing policy, and we have seen many central banks have also done this, how can we assured that there will be no risk of competitive depreciation?

 

Mr. Singh - Well, I think on Japan we spoke about this yesterday, and I would say that the main point is that what Japan has done needs to be understood in terms of their own efforts to end decades-long deflation and to revive growth. Therefore, their new monetary framework is integral to this undertaking along with public debt and growth reforms. The ` process aims at raising domestic demand, and the nominal exchange rate could depreciate together with rising domestic demand to raise inflation.

 

Now, you talk about competitiveness. I do not think this is really a very big issue. In my view, as we look at currencies, we do not see in them any significant misalignments from their medium-term fundamentals. . I think what is crucial right now is for advanced economies to revive their growth that is important for the rest of the world. What we are seeing is part of their effort to do so.

 

Do you have anything on Japan?

 

The Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department (Mr. Schiff) - Just a couple of small points. One is that I think your question more generally was about spillovers from the Japanese policy response. Of course, that is an important issue. I think it feeds also into our view that, while the monetary expansion is appropriate and welcome, it needs to be accompanied by structural reforms to raise potential growth and by a number of steps to bring the fiscal situation under control. If they do those things, and if Japan is able to sustain higher growth, then we think that that will be very good for the region as well as for the global economy.

 

The other small point is that, given that Asia is characterized by this very well-known supply chain, even the impact of a depreciation of one currency has a not so straightforward impact on other countries because, on the one hand, countries compete in third markets, but Japan is also an important supplier of inputs into the supply chain. In that case, depreciation may be helpful for other countries in that supply chain.

 

Mr. Singh - Let me just make one more comment on Japan. You know that the authorities have indicated that they will, by midyear, announce their growth strategy. It is very important. It is important also that the Prime Minister has recently given some outlines and it is very important to us that he has also highlighted the importance of healthcare and women in the workforce.

 

There was a paper we had written as staff last year about the gains in Japan of raising women in the workforce. It is interesting that in a recent statement by the Prime Minister, he is highlighting that increasing women in the workforce will be central, key to his growth strategy. So, I think we will be seeing more measures in the coming months.

 

Question - China is exhibiting enormous excess capacity right now and that has been fueled by a very high investment rate over the last few years, up to 50 percent in some years. Now, much of that investment is going into production that is not being used. It is most obvious in the retail and residential housing sector, where you see unoccupied apartment buildings. You will see it in commercial sectors as well. My two questions are, one, how much is that also playing out in the state-owned enterprise sector? Is there an enormous amount of built-up excess capacity being developed there? The second question is how do you see that being resolved or how do you see it being played out over the next few years? How do they get out of that excess capacity situation?

 

Mr. Singh - I am going to ask Markus to answer that. The point I make is that this is part of the effort to change the growth model, to change it from it being investment-led. We know that investment in residential housing has been very high in certain parts of China, and it is to change that focus to other areas.

 

Markus, do you want to add to that?

 

Mr. Rodlauer - I think it is very clear in the government’s own policy statements that reducing excess capacity and working it off is one of the key parts, and I think rather than just destroying capacity, obviously reorienting the growth model from one that is investment-based that is traditional in China, building out capacity for growth to come and then selling the products abroad or at home.

 

Now, when you look at the real estate sector, for example, we do, of course know there is excess capacity. I would not take sort of the headlines that come out. We have all seen the recent 60 Minutes report. Those are cases which are not representative of the whole situation in China. There is enormous demand for housing. There is enormous potential for continued urbanization. So, while there is excess capacity, we must not take the headlines at some point as indicative of the general situation.

 

We have done our own estimate of the capital stock in China and two things come out. On the one hand, there is evidence that if you build it up analytically from the various components—initial stock, investment, depreciation—potential output is about 5 percent higher than actual output. So economy-wide, there is significant spare capacity. At the same time, let us not forget that capital stock per worker in China is somewhere around 10 percent of the capital stock in the U.S. per worker. Again, indicative that there is a tremendous amount of room to raise capital stock further.

 

In many ways, the issue is not the level but the speed. When you try to catch up very, very fast, there is a risk that you create accidents, bubbles, and misallocation along the line. So, reducing the speed, reorienting the growth model to one that is more consumer-led, I think is the appropriate approach.

 

Ms. Utsunomiya - Let me take a question online. What are the consequences for Thailand and Asia of the high appreciation of the Thai baht?

 

Mr. Singh - Well, I think what we are seeing across Asia is part of what we call rebalancing. We are seeing capital coming into Asia; we are seeing currencies appreciating. This is consistent with fundamentals.

 

Beyond that, if we look at Thailand specifically, we have seen that growth has picked up. Growth has been about 6 last year; it should remain close to 6 percent for this year. From all accounts, if you look at exports, exports remain competitive and export growth has been strong. So, overall I think what we are seeing in Thailand and Asia is part of the process of the implications of rebalancing and the effects on exchange rates.

 

Question - For the past two days I heard the term “macroprudential measures” many times. Could you specify what macroprudential measures are? Especially for China, what advice will you give for China to address financial stability risks?

 

Mr. Rodlauer - Generally, we classify macroprudential measures into three types and they have different effects and they have different consequences. The most direct ones are the ones that we call credit-based which try to address directly the amount of credit that is going out from institutions; for example, loan-to-value ratios. You tell a bank that you can only have so many loans compared to the value of the mortgage.

 

Then we have the capital-based ones which try to fortify the individual institutions to build up capital, to make sure that they have enough buffers in case there was a problem. And then we have the liquidity-based macroprudential measures which make sure that there is enough liquidity buffers in the system, that banks do not have maturity mismatches.

 

So, all three of those have been quite extensively employed by China as well as its neighbors. We can take Hong Kong as another example, which is trying to fight a property price boom that is there and, given their policy framework, macroprudential measures the main tool they can use to address it. So, we advise countries to use those as much as they can, particularly if their policy framework is constrained, like the one in Hong Kong. We do see that they are effective.

 

They have different consequences in terms of price signals and resource allocation. We generally think that the price-based measures, like capital-based macroprudential measures, are perhaps the least distortive ones because, again, they are price-based, actinig mainly through the cost of funds for banks. Overall, as I say, China and Hong Kong have used the whole gamut of these measures and they are effective.

 

Ms. Utsunomiya - If there are no more questions, we would like to conclude our press conference here. I have printouts of the opening remarks here. We will also post the transcript of this briefing online later. As Anoop mentioned, we will be launching the Asia Pacific Regional Economic Outlook on Monday, April 29th, so please mark your calendar. Thank you all for coming.

 

1670-1991 The History of The Queen's Head Public House 62 Willsbridge Hill, hamlet of Willsbridge, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, in the parish of Bitton. BS30 6EU England UK by Paul Townsend local historian.

 

see link below

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3356130025/

 

My grandfather ran The Willsbridge Milling Company for many years 1922-1968. My father Reginald Townsend and his brothers were locals in the Queen's Head during the war years (a good old sing-song round the pub piano with Bristol born Russ Conway) My family lived in the Tanyard Willsbridge from 1958-1980.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2039314529/

 

The Queens Head certainly is a pub with history, Until now it was not documented. Built in the 17th century it began life as a private house whose occupier brewd ale. It soon opened up it's kitchen and by 1719 The Queen's Head was a licenced house. Being in a prime location the pub was often used as a poor man's court (the Court Leet) in the eighteenth century. Each court had a jury of twelve local men and cases were small offences, with the usual punishment of a fine such as petty theft and breaking the peace. From then until now there has been a great amount of history made in The Queens Head. Locals are often talking of the fact the Pub is haunted.

 

The Queens Head has always been renowned for the quality of pint served. The Queens Head is a Grade II Listed Building of 'Architectural or Historical Interest'.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2040110042/

 

The Queen's Head and its History

 

(Queen's Head 2008 Status Closed Down no longer trading)

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3645994199/

 

At the bottom of Willsbridge and Brockham hills, on a busy Bath to Bristol road A431, stands an unassuming little building called The Queen's Head public house.

 

Unlike other pubs in the vicinity, The Queen's Head has never been wrapped up in all the usual alehouse folklore of highwaymen, cut-throats, and kings, and very little, by way of fact, or fiction, has ever been written about it. What follows is fact, and research reveals a fascinating history that tells the story of an establishment that not only served up ale, but which performed a whole variety of other hamlet, and old Bitton Parish functions.

 

Earliest Days

 

Willsbridge hamlet before The Queen's Head - The name 'Willsbridge' means 'the spring, (or well), by the bridge', and is Anglo Saxon in origin. In those days it was known as 'Wylsbrugge'. Now much extended, the original settlement was a hamlet at the Mill Clack Brook (now called Siston Brook) bridge - in other words the little bridge and immediate surrounding area where The Queen's Head is situated.

 

Roman remains have been found nearby at Oldland Bottom and Stout's Hill. It may be that the section of the A431 on which the original Wylsbrugge hamlet is situated is part of the Roman road, the Via Julia. It is possible that a house of refreshment has stood near, or on, the site of the present Queen's Head since Roman times.

 

The Goldwell was an important Anglo Saxon public well formerly situated at the roadside (near present day Oldbury Chase and Willsbridge Mill on the A431). It was still operating when in c.1779 the historian Rudder wrote of the water being 'reckoned very fine and pure. There is a pump erected, and a tin cup chained to it, for the use of travellers, to drink as they go along'.

 

The Rev. H.T. Ellacombe of Bitton Church called the well 'a place lying on the south of Stout's Hill, near which place was a gate entering the forest. By the mid nineteenth century, however, this public well was no more.

 

Mrs. Master's House

 

Our story now begins: The present pub is certainly a c.1660 to 1670 building with eighteenth century, and later, additions. Its seventeenth century appearance was that of a simple three bay house with a central door and porch, made from locally quarried stone. A substantial building when compared with former neighbouring cottages.

 

It began its life as a private house whose occupier brewed using water from Mill Clack Brook or a nearby well. Then it opened up its kitchen and fireside to drinkers and became an alehouse. It is not clear at what date exactly this change occured but by 1719 The Queen's Head was a licensed house.

 

It was built upon the Common Field within the Manor of West Hanham. This was the field shared by the hamlet inhabitants for their animals, for crop growing, and for recreation. It seems inevitable that the most important house built on that field should acquire a communal function also. The Creswicks of Hanham Court were Lords of the Manor, and West Hanham Manor was served by St. George's Chapel of Ease.

 

In 1685 Francis Creswick described his West Hanham lands, making mention of 'divers common fields, common meeds and other fields which the owners have, know their own distinct lands.. .wastes, fields or inclosures.. .cottages, with gardens and Barn's and appurtenances'. One of these dwellings was the more substantial house owned by Mrs. Masters on the West Hanhan Manor side of Willsbridge hamlet.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3643157472/

 

Built for Mrs. Masters in c.1660 at about the same time as nearby Londonderry Farm, this house stood on half an acre of pasture and also boasted an orchard. Mrs. Masters also owned other small parcels of land in the vicinity including' shooting over Keynsham way near Doverley' and some arable land on Whaddon acquired from Richard Jones of Londonderry Farm. This house belonging to Mrs. Masters was very probably what would become The Queen's Head.

 

The pub is shown on a map of West Hanham Manor drawn by, or for, Francis Creswick in 'about 1670'. It is interesting that The Queen's Head seems to be the only alehouse noted on the map. This is not because there were no other alehouses within the large area of West Hanham but because it had the most important role to play in Manor life, and because members of the Creswicke family knew the owners and attended meetings there.

 

see Creswicke link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2038388068/

 

And what of the queen of the name? At present a portrait of Victoria dangles in error from the pub. 'No queens who have far greater claim to a picture are Charles II's consort, Catherine of Braganza, who stayed at Sir Henry Creswick's Bristol residence, or, Anne, who came to the throne in 1702.

 

Court House & Country Kitchen

 

Farming was carried out at all levels down to the poorest form of pig and allotment husbandry. Much stone was quarried in the Southern-wood (flow called Willsbridge) Valley, and in West Hanham Manor. Coal mining, though not actually a Willsbridge activity, had long been an important industry in all the surrounding hamlets.

 

Pearsall Family

 

In 1716 Mr. and Mrs. John Pearsall, who were Quakers, settled in a thatched cottage by Mill Clack Brook in the area opposite The Queen's Head which, by all accounts, was largely un-reclaimed forest land. It was here, in about 1730, that John Pearsall built his mills for the rolling and slitting of hoop iron, so extending Willsbridge and increasing its importance. Much of this iron was used for roofing buildings. A carpentry shop, smithy, and workers cottages were also part of this small industrial centre. It was the Pearsalls who built Willsbridge House on Willsbridge Hill, the forerunner of today's 'castle'. Their business would flourish until 1816.

 

In 1727 the River Avon was officially opened to water cargo between Hanham and Bath. Stone, coal and foodstuffs such as brewing ingredients could now be transported in this way. Another communications improvement was brought about at the same time with the setting up of a turnpike road with a tollhouse at Brockham Hill. This became known as the Willsbridge Turnpike and the superior quality of the turnpike road made travelling much easier for horse drawn carts, carriages, and coaches.

 

Queeen's Head "The Local Court House"

 

From its earliest days as an alehouse The Queen's Head became a venue for both Hanham and Oldland Vestry meetings. The Vestry members were parish administrators' ecclesiastical parish councillors. Usually the two Vestries met at their own chapels of St. Anne's (Oldland), and St. George (Hanham), but occasionally the chapel-wardens, overseers, and way-wardens who made up their number met at The Queen's Head. Here they discussed accounts, poor relief, and obstructions on the highway.

 

The Queen's Head was also the venue for the poor man's court, the Court Leet. These courts would probably have assembled in the larger first floor room upstairs, away from the drinkers gathered about the kitchen fire downstairs.

 

Each court had a jury of about twelve local men and the whole was presided over by a steward. Only minor offences, with the usual punishment of a fine, were dealt with. Cases that came up concerned unlawful pit digging; petty theft; the blocking up of roads; breaking of the peace and general trouble-making; the sale of bad ale or food; and unruly alehouses.

 

No one party, or manor, held Court Leets at The Queen's Head, but several. On 22nd April, 1719, for example, six held sessions. These were:

 

i) Dennis Rogers, tythingman, of 'Hanham, the second meadow.'

 

ii) William Bush, tythingman, of Sir John Newton's Court.

 

iii) The tythingmen of Upton Cheyney.

 

iv) The return of the petty constables of Bitton.

 

v) The return of the tythingmen of Oldland.

 

vi) The return of Roger Harding.

 

Another function of the Court Leet was the yearly appointment of constables and tythingmen, and also the way-wards who helped to look after animal pounds and common pasture lands.

 

It was traditional for a feast, and general merry making, with a song or two, to take place at the close of business. The Queen's Head Court House would have been filled with noise and baccy smoke whilst a child servant brought round bacon, and tankards overflowing with beer from the brewhouse.

 

'Revels' and more 'Revels'

 

Until the close of the eighteenth century the 'revel' (ie. the hamlet or village fair accompanied by feasting, dancing, games and riotous drinking) was commonplace within the old ecclesiastical Parish of Bitton, of which Willsbridge, Oldland, and Hanham were a part. Many of these festivities were encouraged by alehouse keepers. At the front of the Bitton Parish Poor Book (1693 - 1739) are written the words:

 

'Not only wakes and revels (continue), but also other disorderly meetings, for wrestling and cudgel playing for hats or other prizes, which are promoted and encouraged by alehouse keepers.'

 

The report continues, saying that this leads to dissent, and to drunkenness 'in the common sort of people', and that guilty alehouse keepers must be punished.

 

It is unlikely that 'revels' associated with The Queen's Head degenerated into wild brawls and orgies, not only because of its Court House character, but also because its landlords, as we shall see, were, at this time, members of the local chapel Vestries, and were not supposed to be supportive of such activities (in public, at least). However, The Queen's Head played host to celebrations such as Leet and Parish feasts, harvest suppers, and customs associated with the common meadows.

 

West Hanham Manor farming folk venerated Ceres, goddess of the harvest, and it has been suggested that a Ceres effigy known as 'Sally' was paraded around the filled Hanham Court Farm barn at harvest time. A 'Sally' is still affixed to the Hanham Court Farm barn today.

 

'Revels' held in West Hanham and vicinity were often relics from the days, up until the dissolution, when these lands were owned by the abbots of Keynsham Abbey. The most famous of these relics was the yearly 'shooting' of the meadows custom when the four Bitton Parish common meadows were opened up for common pasture. The ritual involved a white bull, or a horse with a white sheet over it, and the creation of a King, or Queen, of the Meadows, to last the duration of the festival. This is a well documented custom but is mentioned briefly here as The Queen's Read would have contributed in some way to the merry making.

 

By 1846 the Rev. H.T. Ellacombe was able to write: 'the revelling, as in olden times.. .has happily, with the march of intellect subsided'.

 

Mr. Samuel Fox

 

Samuel Fox was owner and landlord of The Queen's Head from the mid eighteenth century to about 1770. Prior to this the pub had belonged to the Betterton family who had also owned, or rented, other lands in West Hanham Manor.

 

In 1729 the Brewster Sessions were begun that granted licences to publicans once a year only in September. At these Sessions publicans deposited 10 as a 'recognisance of good behaviour' plus a further 'recognisance' of 10 from someone else who was called a 'suretie'. Thus by 1755 Samuel Fox was owner and licensee of The Queen's Head, and William Dark, a fellow publican, and George Collins, a shoemaker, were his sureties. 'Good behaviour' largely meant not opening up the house before 1.00 p.m. on the Lords Day, and observing other holy days.

 

The Fox family had been established in West Hanham Manor and at Longwell Green since the fifteenth century at least. They were owners of small parcels of land, and of property, of yeoman class. Samuel not only owned The Queen's Head, but land, and property at Longwell Green. He was a member of the Hanham Vestry at St. George's Chapel, and his signature is seen beside that of Henry Creswick, and Charles Whittuck as part of Vestry accounts proceedings of April, 1764. Occasionally these meetings were held at his alehouse. Only persons considered 'fit' (which usually meant owners or occupiers of substantial property) could become wardens or overseers.

 

In 1762 he paid 2 shillings, and in 1770, 7d, on behalf of The Queen's Head, for a St. George's Chapel rate made 'towards defraying the expence and disbarments that have been laid out and expended in and about the chapel'.

 

Samuel and Mary Fox's Queen's Head would largely have had the atmosphere of a kitchen, with a better room set aside for Vestry cronies, as well as the function come Court room upstairs. They had their orchard to the rear, enough land for pasture, and outbuildings. The adjoining cottages we see today had not yet been built. Beer was home brewed in the brewhouse to the rear. This part of the pub, with its own chimney and its old fireplace/oven markings visible on the outside wall survives and is now the cellar. Formerly, however, the scene was set with pots, pans, shovels, mashing sticks and sacks of malt. Bread ovens have been removed from this part of the building in more recent years, suggesting that it was also the bakehouse. There was no bar as such. Drinks were carried through to customers from the brewhouse, or from a serving room.

 

Samuel and Mary Fox appear to have given up The Queen's Head at some stage after 1770. In his will, made in 1773, it is not mentioned. Instead he gives Mary, and a married daughter, Hester Malpost, all that the house wherein I now live with the stables, shops, orchard gardens, and appurtenances thereunto belonging situate at Longs Green in the said Hamlet of Oldland'. To these two ladies he also gives his 'two half acres of land, one of them called the well half acre and the other.... in Hanhams West Field.'

 

After his death the will was contested and Mary and Hester swore on oath to it being the 'true last will and testament of Samuel Fox.. .yeoman, deceased'. The oath ended with the words 'so help you God - kiss the Book', and the will was validated in 1782.

 

There is an interesting letter in the possession of Bristol Record Office written in 1915 by 83 year old Aaron Short. In confused and poor English he pleads for information on the history of the Longwell Green Foxes on behalf of 'friends' in South Africa. He explains that his mother's name was Angel Fox, and that she had been married to a hatter. An aunt Fox had married a master hatter, and his uncle, Job Fox, had lived at Longwell Green 'next to the old manor house' and had paid no rent for his house as it was in the family. He claimed to be 'the last' of the Longwell Green Foxes.

 

George Burgess "The Georgian Heyday"

 

George Burgess, the elder, of Willsbridge, was a well known local character who played an important part in the development of The Queen's Head. The exact date that George and Rebbecca Burgess became its owners and landlords is not known as licensing records for the period 1770 - 1826 have not survived. They were certainly its occupants in 1812, and, as they were then elderly, it is likely that they had already been there for some time. William Burgess, a Stout's Hill butcher, was their suretie.

 

George Burgess seems to have been quite an enterprising gentleman with several small business concerns. He not only owned The Queen's Head alehouse but the industrial cottages adjoining it. It is probable that it was he who had them built as a hat factory. His son, George Burgess Junior, was originally a hatter by trade, and though the elder was termed a 'licensed victualler' in 1827, it is possible that he had been, or still was, a hatter also, and that hats were made in the alehouse rooms. The whole rank was known as George Burgess's Queen's Head, and was more of a complete unit than the separate dwellings of today.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2040109710/

 

He also hosted The Queen's Head Friendly Society, and started up the Willsbridge Post Receiving House from The Queen's Head. During George and Rebecca's term (which lasted until 1832) the alehouse continued to be used as a venue for Oldland and Hanham Vestries, and for auctions, mining inquests, and important Parish meetings. George Burgess was himself a member of the Hanham Vestry.

 

In 1819 he paid his usual 7 shillings 6d on behalf of The Queen's Head for the St. George's Chapel rate. There were other contributors, such as immediate neighbours, and the Willsbridge Mill owners, who paid small amounts on behalf of The Queen's Head. This indicates that The Queen's Head lands, which were then more substantial than today, were shared by others. That same year he also contributed 5 shillings 3d to the same fund for a Willsbridge house called 'Dimmocks', which the family then rented.

 

When the adjoining industrial cottages were built in c.1790, The Queen's Head alehouse was extended, gaining its front projection, into which the original porch with seats was incorporated. Drinks could be passed through to those sitting outside via the porch window. This window is still visible though now bricked up. Inside were huge blazing fires and flagstone floors.

 

It is likely that barrels and bottles of beers from Bath and Bristol breweries were delivered from Burgess's day onwards. Porter was by far the most popular drink, which, together with pale ale, was produced at The George and Co. Porter and Beer Brewery at Bath Street, Bristol. West India Porter; Old Strong Beer; Brown Stout; Small Ale; X Beer; and locally produced or home made cider and perry were some of the brews Burgess would have served.

 

The Queen's Head Friendly Society

 

Friendly Societies were clubs for working men, and sometimes women, that provided financial support and companionship to their members. Each member paid a monthly contribution, and monies from the Society's pooled funds would be used to help a member who had fallen on hard times, or to pay for a burial. Amongst the written Resolves of Oldland Vestry, references are made to some poor seeking aid who were also in 'the club'. The Oldland overseers were anxious to keep individuals in 'the club' as their own poor relief funds were inadequate.

 

It was the role of the Society's stewards to investigate claims for financial assistance, and none would be given if a member's circumstances were considered to be self induced, through fighting, gambling, drunkenness or venereal disease, for example. The rules binding each Friendly Society also influenced members' conduct at meetings and Feast Days. They were expected to behave reasonably and not get drunk on such occasions. In spite of this, however, it was the pub that usually became the Friendly Society's headquarters.

 

The Queen's Head Friendly Society was founded in 1797 and its membership included hatters, end possibly cordwainers and miners. Burgess, the landlord, had much to gain from the arrangement as the club always purchased a certain amount of drink, and bread and cheese, at its monthly meetings, and brought a measure of prestige and publicity to the house. But Burgess also had his responsibilities. It was he who presided over the Society's box of funds, keeping it securely locked in his office, and it was he who had to ensure that the alehouse club room was kept well warmed by a good fire on club nights.

 

The Queen's Head Friendly Society had its own brass emblem, which was carried amidst much pomp and ceremony at the annual Feast Day procession. The brass depicts a woman, presumably a queen, with a ribbon in her hair, and who wears a head dress more akin to a hat than a crown.

 

The Queen's Head Friendly Society disbanded well before the end of the nineteenth century. The oldest local residents have no recollection of it, and it is not known where the members held their Feast, or what the Feast Day procession route was.

 

Mining Inquests "Killed down a pit"

 

Mining accidents and deaths were common, and boys as young as nine were killed in the local pits. The Queen's Head was one of a few old Bitton Parish alehouses used as a mining inquest venue. On February 18th, 1796, an inquest was held there for Isaac Stanley who was 'buried under coal at Hurd's Pit, belonging to Whittuck'. On March 11th, 1804, one was held for James Haskins who had fallen 'down the pit belonging to Samuel Whittuck'.

 

Post Receiving House "Bristol Mail Coach"

 

These were the days before the Penny Black postage stamp and post offices. To send a letter it had to be taken to the nearest Receiving House between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. where it was stamped by the Receiver of mail, and then despatched by mail coach, cart, or post boy. The post boys (who were not often boys but old men), could be robbed, or become carried away at the alehouses en route.

 

Willsbridge was one of the very first places outside the City of Bristol to have an official Receiving House, and this was set up by Burgess at The Queen's Head in August, 1814. The Pearsalls would have relied on this service for their business. In 1814 the only other official Receiving House in the area was at Warmley. By 1825 there was one at Bitton also.

 

Prior to 1828 Willsbridge mail was transported on foot by a post boy. The name of one such was William Delves, a Bitton man. As an official Receiver, Burgess was responsible for stamping deposited letters with a number stamp, and for keeping the letters secure at all times. The special mixture for stamping was a concoction of lamp black, culinary oil, and ink, all stirred up together over a slow fire. This was contained by pieces of hat, or cloth.

 

Burgess set up an office within The Queen's Head to deal with the post and other affairs. In c.1930 an unusual post box (since lost or destroyed) was removed from the fireplace wall in the rear room where darts is now played. The top half of the device was made of crown glass, and the bottom was wooden with a posting slit. Letters and heavy coins (also sadly lost), which had become caught up in the box's lining were also discovered at that time. Prior to c.1954 this back room was in fact two very small rooms, and it may be that one of these was the office. The room was also used for general commercial affairs, and for securing other valuables, such as the Friendly Society box. In June 1814, (two months prior to Burgess becoming an official Receiver of mail), one could apply to The Queens Head for particulars of the Barr's Court Estate sale.

 

From 1828, the year of Burgess's death, mail was delivered and despatched by horse drawn mail coach. This service ran from Bristol to Bath via Hanham, Willsbridge, Bitton, and Kelston. The Queen's Head was never a coaching inn. In fact the coachmen did not even stop during delivery but dropped off and received mail bags whilst on the move. At The Queen's Head, Willsbridge, Rebbecca Burgess would have been waiting.

 

The New 'Waterloo' Churches and The Queen's Head

 

After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the British government set up its Million Fund for the building of new parish churches. In Bitton Parish the Rev. H.T. Ellacombe saw to this work with great vigour.

 

On January 28th, 1819, an historic meeting was held at The Queen's Head to appoint an organising committee to launch the building of the first of these 'New Churches', which was Holy Trinity, Kingswood Hill. John Bowes, a former vicar of St. Anne's, Oldland, states in his short history of Oldland, that this meeting was chaired by Captain Stratton. It was Stratton who would later buy Willsbridge House from the Pearsalls and give it the appearance of a 'castle'. - Holy Trinity was consecrated in September, 1821.

 

The ordeals of Oldland Vestry

 

During George and Rebbecca Burgess's period at The Queen's Head, the chapelwardens, overseers, and way-wardens of St. Anne's Chapel, Oldland, held meetings and auctions there. From their surviving minuted meetings - 'The Orders and Resolves of the Hamlet of Oldland 1807-1832' it is clear that much of their time was spent looking into cases of poverty, and deciding to whom aid should be given:

 

'We.. .appoint Tuesday the 17th (May, 1814) for the purpose of examining into the state of the poor.. .to be holden at The Queen's Head, Willsbridge', they record. - And again they write on May 11th that same year: 'and we do lastly adjourn the meeting for examining into the state of the poor to Tuesday the 24th instant at the Queen's Head, Willsbridge, at ten o'clock in the forenoon.'

 

The level of poverty in Oldland hamlet was appalling and the problems created by bastardy and infirmity a constant drain on Parish funds. A letter of 1817 in which the Vestry pleads for more funds explains:

 

'Our hamlet is chiefly composed of colliers, quarriers, and the lowest class of husbandmen.'

 

A living was barely to be made from such occupations and it was a struggle to survive.

 

Oldland Vestry members gathered at The Queen's Head for a meeting on February 1st, 1813, included Robert Henderson (chapelwarden), Christopher Williams (overseer), Ambrose Lewton, Humphrey Creswick, William Fry, and James Gully, amongst others. At it they discussed payments for the wives and families of soldiers; weekly poor relief settlements; and overdue payment of taxes amongst Oldland inhabitants.

 

On April 26th, 1813, Robert Henderson, Humphrey Creswick, Thomas Pearsall of Willsbridge Mill, and others, met at the alehouse to elect overseers and a chapelwarden for the forthcoming year, and to discuss Vestry members' accounts.

 

Notification of 'a sale of the properties of Gully and Williams by Public Auction at The Queen's Head (Willsbridge)' was given at a meeting in September 1818.

 

Insanitary living conditions in the district bred cholera, and one of many outbreaks ensued from 1831/1832. From then on Vestry time was taken up with attempting to combat the spread of the disease. Each fatality and recovery from Cholera Morbus was carefully registered and medicine delivery stations were set up. A Mr. Barker was in charge of the Willsbridge station.

 

In 1832, the year Rebbecca Burgess died, the Oldland minute book closes, and we have no surviving volume to follow on.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2039313941/

 

Land Enclosure

 

Prior to the Land Enclosure Acts which chiefly affected Bitton Parish in the first half of the nineteenth century, acres of that Parish were open common grounds of marsh, moor, heath, scrub, allotments, and pasture. The process of 'enclosure' sought to better control and get the most out of these lands by dividing them up, fencing, or hedging them in, and bringing them under individual management:

 

'Fence meeting fence in owner's little bounds of field and meadow, large as garden grounds' (John Clare, poet and farmer, 1793 - 1864)

 

George Burgess was very keen to secure his Willsbridge lands for pasture, and prior to his death many enclosure meetings for local inhabitants claiming their own patches and parcels of ground were held at The Queen's Head. On January 28th, 1819, one such was held at the alehouse to discuss applying to parliament for land enclosure locally. Later that year the first Enclosure Act was passed and the following places (with names which aptly described their states) were enclosed: Oldland Common, North Common, Cadbury Heath, Longwell Green, Hanham Common, Westfield, and Redfield.

 

On March 31st, 1827, at 10 a.m., a 'Special General Meeting' was held 'at the House of George Burgess, victualer, commonly called the Queen's Head situate at Willsbridge...' for 'proprietors' interested in enclosure. Another like it was held later that year in September. The enclosure awards of 1859, when the four Bitton common meadows of Edensfield, Micklemead, Holmead and Sydenham were enclosed by Act of parliament, saw the fruits of those 1827 meetings. By the year 1859 George Burgess Junior was probably also dead. Even so, at that date, the Right of Common Pasture was finally awarded to the Burgess family at The Queen's Head (five acres more or less), and at 'Dimmocks' (two acres, more or less).

 

Burgess Junior

 

The son, George Burgess Junior, was a hatter and a publican, and by 1826 was living with his wife Sarah, and increasingly large family, at The White Hart, Keynsham Bridge, (now called The Lock Keeper and still trading today), which he rented. He played a major role in Hanham Vestry life at both St. George's Chapel, and, after 1843, at the 'New Church' of Christchurch, Hanham. As a 'fit and substantial' householder he was elected various times as an overseer, and warden, and acted as chairman of proceedings working closely with members of the Shellard and Olds families (whom we will meet again), married Henry Creswick, the Queen's Head son thus becoming the Rev. William Fry, the Messrs. Whittuck, and Mr. Couch. He achieved local fame when his daughter, Sarah Anne, father-in-law to a son whose family had been Lords of the Manor of West Hanham, and owners of Hanham Court, since 1638. By c.1833 when the two married, however, the Creswicks had sunk from Lord Mayor of Bristol status to one of destitution, and it is reputed that Henry lived in the gamekeepers lodge of the old family home. In fact it is very likely that the Burgesses were now considerably better off than the Creswicks.

 

Henry and Sarah Anne emigrated to Barrie, Canada, where he became a successful land surveyor. They had a distinguished family whose descendants still live in Canada.

 

George Burgess Junior left The White Hart in 1850, returning to the Willsbridge of his childhood to live by The Queen's Head. He was now a widower. The census of 1851 tells us that he was then 65, a 'landed proprietor', and that he lived with his 45 year old 'housekeeper', Eliza Green.

 

Years of Great Change

 

During the 1820's after the collapse of the Pearsall's business, Willsbridge Mill became a corn mill.

 

By 1833 the Willsbridge section of the mineral railway, the 'dramway', was operational. The dram carried coal from the Kingswood East Bristol pits to the river Avon at Londonderry Wharf - Keynsham from where it was transported, by barge, to the cities of Bath and Bristol. At Willsbridge it ran through the Willsbridge Valley tunnel, then cut right across the road at Brockham Hill (where the mini roundabout now is), before going on to Keynsham and the river, it remained active at Willsbridge until c.1850, thereafter receiving a second lease of life when the California Colliery re-opened from 1876 to 1904.

 

The dramway may have brought new custom to The Queen Head, but it also paved the way for new development, businesses, and therefore competition. Brockham Hill Terrace, the rank of cottages where today's post office stands, and other buildings along that part of the Bath Road developed alongside the dramway. Here, as well as shops, farriers, wheelwrights, and blacksmiths, there were beer retailers whose licenses only permitted outdoor consumption of the grog bought from them. The most famous of these was the now demolished Railway Inn, which started off its life in this way. (The Railway Inn once stood where the modern-day mini roundabout now stands - it was pulled down in the early 1960's)

 

In 1835 the industrial cottages adjoining The Queen's Head, which were still owned by the late George Burgess, the elder, were occupied by a variety of craftsmen. John Barlow ran his small hat factory from two of them, and, by 1841, they were joined by Silas Nurse, a shoemaker, and his family. The hat factory closed in 1849.

 

The Shellards

 

Members of this important local family were licensees and tenants of The Queens Head from 1837 to 1855, and lived and worked in the pub rank for many years after that. We will begin their saga in Longwell Green.

 

Daniel and Judith Shellard lived in a house (built by Daniel) in, or near Dod Lane, Longwell Green. They certainly occupied land, including an old quarry, at Dod Lane. This long and narrow track, then consisting of only three or four cottages, was the forerunner of the busy California and Shellard Roads, the latter being named after this family.

 

Daniel was a carpenter, like a brother, Cornelius, and the surviving accounts for Hanham and Oldland Chapels are full of entries for payments made to Daniel and family for lock mending and furniture building, etc. Daniel was also a member of the Oldland Vestry, being repeatedly elected as overseer, chapelwarden, waywarden, and 'surveyor for the highway'. His parents, Joseph and Hannah, had owned, or rented, lands in nearby West Hanhan Manor.

 

Daniel and Judith had a large family. The first born was George, who was christened in 1809, followed by Joseph, Daniel Junior, Henry and Thomas. Then, in around 1833, Daniel and family appear to have moved to Londonderry Farm, near Willsbridge, which they rented from the Avon and Gloucester Railway Company (ie. the dramway).

 

The Shellards occupied many of the lands and buildings along the dramway route from Willsbridge to Keynsham. In 1835 another relative, William Shellard, owned Clack Mill by the dramway. Londonderry became a beerhouse run by Daniel's eldest son, George, and his family. And in 1837 another son, Joseph, and his wife, Susanna, both aged 26, became tenants of The Queen's Head, taking over from Benjamin Hassell. Elizabeth, the first of many children, was born in 1840.

 

The census records of 1841 make no mention of other individuals staying at The Queen's Head. There is nothing to say that it was ever an inn, in the true sense of the word, that is that accommodation was provided as part of the hospitality. The Queen's Head, then, as now, was an alehouse, and as such did not regularly accommodate travellers, though a bed, or a piece of floor in front of the fire may have been made available if necessary.

 

Like other Queen's Head landlords before him, Joseph Shellard was a member of the Hanham Vestry. In fact most of Daniel Shellard's sons seem to have attended their meetings, and in 1841 Joseph was nominated as overseer. In 1847 he (and George Burgess Junior) were re-elected for that office. It is not surprising that their meetings were occasionally held at The Queen's Head during the course of his tenancy. On September 5th, 1848, at 10 a.m., the Rev. William Fry, the Messrs. Whittuck, Mr. Couch, George Burgess Junior, and others, met there to 're-assess the poor rate'.

 

Auctions continued to be held in the big first floor room. On April 5th, 1845, the sale took place of four acres of arable land, known as Whaddon Moor, near the Willsbridge Turnpike on Brockham Hill. Then, in 1850, Joseph and Susanna left The Queen's Head, to become tenants of The White Hart, Keynsham Bridge, taking over from Joseph's Hanham Vestry colleague, George Burgess Junior, who, as we know, returned to Willsbridge. This is a move which demonstrates that Vestry membership was also a provider of useful social and business contacts. It is also possible that the Burgesses and the Shellards were in some way related.

 

But the Shellards had not yet finished with The Queen's Head. In 1850 Daniel's younger son, Henry, 26 year old wife, Anne Maria, 6 year old daughter, Mary, sister-in-law Mary Webley, and Harriet Harrison, a 16 year old house servant, all moved in. And Daniel and Judith themselves settled in the cottage rank next door.

 

For whatever reason Henry then departed from the family home for five years at least, leaving Anne as head of the household and publican, in which capacities she was no doubt assisted by her parents-in-law. It seems that Daniel was licensee during the years of Henry's absence. In 1851, at 73, Daniel was also still farming 30 acres of land near the dramway.

 

At about this time a bar was set up in the alehouse which was situated in the public room where it is today, but at the opposite end, up by the front windows and entrance porch. That was its position until the turn of the century. Cider, perry, and bottled or draught porters and stouts were served up in tankards, and in the glasses which were now replacing them.

 

Anne Maria gave up The Queen's Head in 1855. It was about then that Daniel Shellard died, leaving his widow, Judith, 'a landed proprietor' in the rank. Anne moved in with her mother-in-law and took up dress making. Henry returned in c.1861, finding work as an agricultural labourer. Also in 1861 Sarah Barlow, John Barlow the hatter's widow, became Willsbridge's postmistress. The rank cottage immediately adjoining the pub, called 'Speedwell' served as the hamlet's first post office until the turn of the century, when it moved to its present Brockham Terrace site. Henry and Anne Shellard followed Mrs. Barlow as sub postmasters at 'Speedwell'. In 1881, when they were both aged 57, they were still there. The census of that date describes Anne as 'postmistress'. and Henry as a 'carter'.

 

And what of Joseph and Susanna, the first Shellard tenants of The Queen's Head? In 1873 they were owners of The White Hart, Keynsham Bridge. During their lifetimes they amassed a considerable estate, which included lands in Keynsham, Saltford, Bitton, and Hanham Parishes. They also owned the property called 'Roseneath' opposite Londonderry Farm (and therefore another Shellard property in the dramway vicinity).

 

'Good Behaviour'

 

The keeping of 'good behaviour' required of licensees as part of their agreements was generally somewhat lax in the vicinities of Bitton, Hanham, and Oldland in the mid nineteenth century.

 

In 1828 an important act designed to combat disorderly public houses, was passed. This was the Alehouse Act, under which terms it was possible for a pub to attain the full publican's licence, known as an Alehouse Licence. Landlords at such houses were allowed to sell any excisable liquor (using only legal and properly stamped measures). The landlord also had to ensure against drunkenness, disorderly conduct, unlawful games, and 'the gathering of bad characters' on the premises. The house was not to open during the Divine Service on Sundays, Christmas Day, or Good Friday. All this was supposed to create a better class of publican and pub.

 

Pubs without an Alehouse Licence, and which sold only beer, ale, cider, perry, and porter, were known as 'beerhouses', or 'Tom and Jerry's'. These houses tended to receive mare visits from the Justices of the Peace, and were often fined. The majority of pubs in the Hanham, Oldland, and Bitton vicinities were in this category.

 

The Queen's Head, however, soon gained its Alehouse Licence. It is not clear at what date, exactly, this was granted, but it was in the 'Alehouse' category by the 1860's, and was therefore amongst the first few in the area to be so classed.

 

The jottings of local Justices of the Peace, who wandered about the district on Sundays trying to catch out publicans serving pints before 1.00 p.m. make interesting reading: Sunday May 31st, 1840. William Caple's House, Bitton. Men seen drinking outside pub before 1.00 p.m. On seeing the J.P. they attempted to hide their glasses under their hats:one lying on his hat. Took up the hat and found a pint of beer under it'. Sunday July 25th, 1847. Samuel Nurse's House, Hanham. Sold beer before 1.00 p.m. J.P. saw five men drinking who immediately 'tipped it on the ground'. Good Friday, 1847. Henry Crew's House, Bitton. The publican's wife defends herself: 'I had not drawn a drop of beer that day before 1 o' clock'. Boxing Day, 1863. William Parson's House, The White Hart, Bitton. Gathering together of bad characters including well known criminals. Even the fiddle player is slated. And so on.

 

Sometimes the constable or J.P. was distracted from the course of his duties by himself being offered a pleasant drink. Sometimes this pleasant drink was so designed to make him totally inebriated. On other occasions drinkers were less subtle, and he was punched instead.

 

Nothing of this kind appears to have been recorded for The Queen's Head, and there are various reasons for this. In the first place The Queen's Head of the 1840's probably really was a better run and better 'behaved' establishment than others in the locality. The three main licensees of the pub to date - Fox, Burgess, and Joseph Shellard, were Vestry men. As the Vestry overseers could be held responsible for ensuring that public houses were kept orderly, Fox, Burgess, and Shellard would have strived for an outward show of this, at least. Who is to say, however, that the good gentlemen of the Hanham Select Vestry were not closeted within a small, dark room at The Queen's Head at fifteen minutes before 1 o'clock on Sunday, savouring their pipes and porter? (And this they may have termed 're-assessing the poor rate').

 

Until 1855 The Queen's Head had been managed largely by these three families. Each knew the other very well (possibly inter-marrying), and belonged to the same 'landed proprietor' class and well known local establishment circle of the Hanham Vestry. These families had lived in Willsbridge, West Hanham, and Longwell Green for generations. After 1855, however, this pattern changes, and the next fifty years see a quick succession of tenants who came not only from the next village, but from all parts of Somerset, from Bristol city, and from London. (This being a direct consequence of improved road and rail communications). And it was also during those next fifty years that the first recordings of 'bad behaviour' were made for The Queen's Head. In 1870 the pub was fined for gambling. (Laws against gaming in public houses were passed in the 1860's). Though the gambling has long since stopped, card games, such as cribbage, have always remained, and are ever popular at The Queen's Head.

 

The Queen's Head Yard from 1855 to 1901

 

The Caple family from Somerset took over from the Shellards as tenants of The Queen's Head. The owner of the premises was now Daniel Harris of Fieldgrove Farm, a local farmer of some 240 acres. In 1861 William Caple's seventeen year old son, George, was a butcher by trade. When, in 1863, the Caples moved on to take up a small farm in Longwell Green, the interestingly named Sumption Thompson became tenant. Thompson had previously lived and worked in Micklemead meadow between Bitton village and Swineford, where he had owned, or rented, a house, butchers shop, and corn mill. These Queen's Head links with farmers and butchers are a reminder of the former animal pound role of the pub yard - that is the area now used as the pub car park. Here were kept horses, cattle, and sheep.

 

Sumption Thompson was tenant for just three years. After him came the Harveys from Banwell and Bristol with their seven children, and fourteen year old servant from South Wales whose name was Sarah Rees.

 

These were years of transport changes and increased activity on road and rail. In 1869 the Midland Railway Opened its Bath-Bitton-Bristol service. Bitton Station is actually at Willsbridge. On the road, horse drawn passenger omnibuses, and carriers and hauliers of goods, all vied with one another for business between Bitton and Bristol. All these Bitton to Bristol services collected, and dropped off passengers, and goods, at Willsbridge. Many vehicles, in any case, would be forced to stop by The Queen's Head at Willsbridge Bottom, before negotiating the very steep Willsbridge Hill. Not surprisingly, then, during this period Willsbridge Bottom was home and workplace to carters and hauliers such as Henry Shellard, who kept their carts and horses at the pub yard, and who were Queen's Head customers.

 

In 1872 The Queen's Head came under the ownership of William Russell of Baptist Mills. Four tenants 'John Way, John Joyce, William Turner (from London), and Thomas Gay - resided at the pub until his death in 1901.

 

Between 1890 and 1900 The Queen's Head yard also became the site for the main slaughterhouse at Willsbridge. The long stone building adjoined the pub rank. At the turn of the century the owner was Tom, or 'Roly' Bence, the Brockham Terrace butcher. Slaughtering methods in those days were barbaric and Willsbridge meat - butt of many a joke - was not always 'decent'. Opposite the slaughterhouse, on the other side of the road, was a yard with cottages where tanning was carried out. Today this area is still known as 'The Tanyard' and still is today. Together the two industries sent their waste and stench spilling into Siston Brook and the surrounding area. It must have been delightful having a drink on a hot summers day.?.

 

Freehouse Days Over

 

The area called 'Willsbridge' at this date was a considerable extension of the original Anglo Saxon hamlet, and the bridge/brook Willsbridge Bottom area was no longer the focus of the community. Places in the immediate vicinity which for generations had been commonly known as 'Brockham', 'Doverley' (or 'Snoggy'), 'Whaddon', 'Londonderry', 'Goldwell', 'Stout's Hill' (and beyond Stout's Hill, to the end of Court Farm Road), were generally accepted as being part of 'Willsbridge'.

 

It was quite a self sufficient hamlet during this period, with its own shops, industries, and clubs. Two lime works operated in Court Farm Road. The Nethercotts at Clack Mill, and the Mills family at Willsbridge Mill were farmers and millers, and apples were pressed for cider at the latter for local consumption. William Clapp farmed at 'Londonderry'. Market gardening was becoming increasingly important, and the slaughtering and tanning at Willsbridge Bottom continued until c.1915.

 

There were coal merchants at Bitton Railway Station, wheelwrights, a 'dame school' for young children, and a private boarding school at the Willsbridge house called 'The Querns' (opposite today's post office).

 

The post office come grocery store was now removed from 'Speedwell Cottage' to its present site, with Bence the butcher's nearby. There were sweet and ice cream shops, beer retailers, and the dearly loved Railway Inn off licence and general store, at which 'everything' was sold. The latter was demolished in 1962 to make way for the mini roundabout at the Keynsham Road/Brockham Hill junctions.

 

There were several large 'gentlemen's residences' at Willsbridge, most of which still remain, which then all had their maids, cooks, and rival gardeners, as well as tennis courts, kitchen gardens, and exotic fruit trees. Many small cottages, now demolished, also stood in the hamlet. Children played amongst pigs and chickens on the then unfrenetic Bath to Bristol road, and watched otters swimming in the Brook. Or they could support the Willsbridge Amateurs football team as they thrashed the Brazil Strakers at home, and boosted their position in the Gloucestershire Minor Cup League. Shops and the many hamlet wells were social centres and haunts for gossip mongering.

 

After the Willsbridge Bottom tanning and slaughtering, and prior to motor car domination, the hamlet passed through one of its 'picturesque' phases. It was described as such in 1919 by a Miss Ellen Willmott, a friend of the Ellacombes. She wrote also of the 'old world atmosphere' of Willsbridge, Bitton, and Oldland, continuing:

 

'Anything more typical of rural England as it was a century ago could scarcely be found. The steep wooded banks, the various flowery chines, and the little thatched cottages. . .all make that remote part of the country one of the most romantic I have ever seen'.

 

(One wonders if she had also looked inside those 'little' cottages).

 

But these were indeed lush, leafy years of lanes overhung with branches and tangled with dark ivy. Clear running spring water fed wayside herbs.

 

The Queen's Head, with its shutters, pretty window boxes, and exterior walls that were as yet untouched by fumes from ridiculous levels of motor traffic, had a rather more quaint appearance than it does today.

 

Parish meetings, Leets, and inquests were no longer held there, though clubs of all kinds used it as their headquarters. The Saturday lunch-time card game accompanied by 'a drop of the good stuff ' was a favourite ritual for the Queen's Head men.

 

The Grindells

 

The new owner of the pub in 1901 was William S. Grindell, esq. of Bristol, and relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Grindell took over as tenants. The Grindells were, at this time, a wealthy land owning family who traded in horses. Grindell Road, Redfield, which is near to a former field of theirs, is a reminder of those days. Frederick Grindell, who was married to a one time actress, Miss Lily Toms, traded from Lydiard's Farm, Memorial Road, Hanham. (This ancient building was unfortunately demolished in the 1960's).

 

Mention the name 'Grindell' to our oldest local residents and they immediately talk of horses: 'Oh yes, I remember young Dibbie Grindell, she was always wandering about with a horse.

 

The Queen's Head yard was used by the Grindells for their horses and carts, and it may have been that the old slaughterhouse was sometimes used for stabling after c.1915. The colourful Grindells were not untouched by scandal in those days. One incident related to Mrs. Alfred Grindell of The Queen's Head, who was supposed to have made a damaging accusation against a local woman whose husband had been away fighting in the war. In spite of Mrs. Grindell's denial of having made any such slanderous statement, in February 1919, his Lordship, the Bristol Assize Judge, ordered her to pay 15 to the woman 'to show people that they must not indulge in this kind of slander'.

 

Joseph Harry Olds, landlord, 1918 - 1929

 

'Invalid Stout', 'Home Brewed', 'India Pale Ale', 'Mild', and 'Bitter' were the Bristol United Brewery cask and bottled beers that Joe Olds, as the peace-time licensee of The Queen's Head served up. For from 1918 onwards the pub's freehouse days were over, and it became tied to Bristol United Breweries Limited.

 

Mr. Olds was a butcher by trade as well as a publican, working for the firm of Taylors in Hanham High Street whilst at The Queen's Head. His was a long established and important Hanham family, and he is remembered as being a 'very smart man...'

 

On leaving The Queen's Head he would take over the butcher's shop at 102 High Street, Hanham, once occupied by Charles Taylor, and remained there for many years. Nearby, at 103, Wilfred Gladstone Burgess presided over the post office. These Burgesses were descendents of George and George Junior, The Queen's Head crowd. In fact the arrival of Joe Olds as landlord of the pub was something of an echo from the past as the Olds and Burgesses were thus related: James Olds had been a member of the Hanham Vestry alongside the aged George Burgess Junior in 1849. Like Joseph Harry, James had also been a butcher and a publican (of The Blue Bowl, Hanham). He was also Hanham's first postmaster. When his daughter married Samuel Burgess, Samuel took over from his father-in-law at the post office, and for a second time Burgesses became local postmasters.

 

The Brockham Hill Rangers

 

From c.1918 to c.1923 The Rangers were Willsbridge's own football team, and The Queen's Head served as their headquarters. The Brockham Hill Rangers washed and changed in the disused slaughterhouse and played on the field, (the old Common Field), behind the pub. After the game they met back at base for a few pints.

 

Fun and games on the road - Dawn of the motor car

 

The Willsbridge Hill of the 1920s was steeper, narrower, and more dangerous than it is today, but even then the first motorists sped down it as if it were a racing track. Inevitably there were accidents. One such concerned Messrs. Cottle and Harris, out for the day in their 'De Dion Boutong' six cylinder motor car named 'Sylvia'. Journeying down Willsbridge Hill 'Sylvia' became over excited, and went out of control. The brakes failed, and she collided into the side of The Queen's Head, sending her radiator crashing into a window and through to the bar. Mercifully neither drivers, nor astonished drinkers, were injured.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2040110146/

 

Haven, and Home from Home - Pre War Years - Randolph Ricketts 1929 - 1948

 

The mid 1930's saw a momentous and long awaited arrival at Willsbridge - electricity. Prior to that time oil lamps were used at The Queen's Head, and the pub's lights and cheer must have been a welcoming sight for travellers struggling down Willsbridge Hill on a moonless night in Bristol smog.

 

For a picture of those times, I quote a former resident:

 

'The row of houses adjoining The Queen's Head... always full of people, very poor, but very friendly, no money, no pretence, but plenty of goodwill. Opposite, a house (might have been a barn), stood high up and had access by outside steps to three small rooms for a family of two adults with three or four children crowded in, dreadfully poor, but happy and content...'

 

The Blitz - The Wars Years

 

They walked in from the city and outskirts in droves to get away from the bombing, some pushing prams, and then walked back again in the morning. The pub brought them warmth, companionship, food, drink, and fun, in those frightening times. Favourite songs were sung to the accompaniment of the back room piano, and local folklore has it that Russ Conway, in his pre-stardom days, was one of those pianists.

 

A war time event creating a great deal of excitement locally was the crash landing of a Spitfire on land just behind The Queen's Head rank. This was the only Spitfire in the Kingswood area to do so. According to those who remember, the incident boosted Queen's Head trade, and the drinkers were not just curious onlookers. R.A.F. staff involved were delighted to find a pub so close to hand.

 

Post War - The Tuckers

 

From 1948 to 1954 the Sheppards were tenants of The Queen's Head. And then in 1954 Stanley and Gwen Tucker took over. After the death of her husband Stanley in the 1960s - Gwen carried on as landlady, assisted by a family friend Paul Hawkins, and the pub was known as 'Gwen's' to all regulars for many years.

 

On their arrival the Tuckers created the back family/darts room out of the former two (one of which had latterly been used as a kitchen scullery) and changed furniture fittings. (Tram seats and a settle had previously been employed in the public bar). In 1956, when Georges and Co. Bristol Brewery Ltd. acquired Bristol United Brewery, The Queen's Head became a George's pub. 'Bitter Ale', 'Dark Mild', 'India Pale', 'Bristol Stout', and 'XXX Old Vatted Beer' were draught favourites, and bottled varieties included 'Bitter Ale', 'Home Brewed', 'Bristol Stout', and 'Milk Stout'. Audiences for darts were large, and the excellent Queen's Head team built up a strong reputation. Today the team is in Division I of the North Bristol League, playing against other traditional pubs.

 

'The Great Storm of July 1968'

 

Willsbridge Mill suffered a tremendous battering as the, by now unrecognisable, Warmley Brook roared through it. Several tons of animal feed disappeared when the store and outbuildings were washed away.

 

A massive tree trunk was swept into the dam walls which were unable to withstand the force of the impact and gave way. The resulting 'tidal wave' which descended into the valley below demolished the walls on both sides of the main road near the Queen's Head public house and washed cars out of the car-park.

 

The public house, adjacent cottages and houses and bungalows at The Tanyard opposite were all flooded to a depth of several feet. The publican's wife, Mrs Gwen Tucker said that they had to stop serving drinks at about 8.00pm as water was pouring down the hill and entering the bar.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2051697841/

 

The main flood following the mill dam bursting, happened in the early hours when they heard a series of loud bangs and the force of the water burst open their doors. As the water receded during Thursday morning, it revealed the main road littered with cars, blocked by a tree trunk and covered in a thick layer of mud and rubble.

 

In 1962, when Georges was swallowed up by Courage, it began its long term as a Courage house. A few years later the Tuckers bars were flooded under several feet of water. The floods of the night of Wednesday July 10th, 1968, and the following morning, had a devastating effect on Willsbridge, Bitton, and surrounding districts. At Willsbridge the problem was made worse by the breaking up of the dam at Willsbridge Mill (then used by The Willsbridge Milling Company who produced animal feed) owned by the Bull family and run by the Townsend family, which released the Mill pond.

 

By Thursday morning all was chaos:

 

'At Willsbridge, the scene was heartbreaking. Eighteen inches of thick slime filled downstairs rooms at Willsbridge Hill and The Tanyards.... At The Queens Head, Licensee Mr. Stanley Tucker and his wife Gwen were knee deep in water. Only hours earlier their bars had been under five feet of murky water.. .Mrs. Tucker said:

 

'we are in a terrible mess. We have had to close down for the first time in the history of the pub until pumps arrive. . .The dam burst at 2.15 a.m. and the three cars in our car park were washed downstream'.(Extract from the Observer)

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2052483974/

 

'Good Beer Guide'

 

The Queens Head is renowned for the quality of pint served. The beer is cool, beautifully clear, and always in tip top condition. Not surprisingly it has been listed in every edition of CAMRA's 'Good Beer Guide' since 1981. A rare achievement indeed. In 1991 it became an Ushers of Trowbridge plc pub.

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3645994153/

 

Listed Building Status

 

The Queens Head, and The Queens Head rank are Grade II Listed Buildings 'of Architectural or Historic Interest'. As such the special character of the buildings must be preserved inside and out, and it is illegal to carry Out works (such as any demolition, alterations, or extensions) without prior Listed Building Consent.

 

In spite of being some three hundred years old, the pub has remarkably retained its original country alehouse personality both inside and out, changing very little over the years. Some of the features of the building which combine to make it unique are as follows:

 

* The Bristol United Brewery pennant forecourt.

 

* The high roof.

 

* The Gloucestershire entrance porch with its built in seats and window.

 

* The former kitchen/brewhouse to the rear.

 

* The central passageway.

 

* The three small individual rooms downstairs leading off the passageway which serve as public bar, more private lounge, and games/family room.

 

* The splendid first floor (former meetings/auctions) room.

 

* Many original beams.

 

* Some original Georgian windows.

 

* Some huge fireplaces (currently concealed).

 

* Old internal doors, their hinges and latches. The older entrances are markedly low.

 

* Some of the Victorian/Edwardian glass and wood panellings.

 

see photo links

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3645994355/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3645994325/in/ph...

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3646800166/in/ph...

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3645994251/in/ph...

 

Known Licensees and Owners of The Queens Head Public House, Willsbridge.

Licensee Dates Owner Dates

 

Licensee and Owner dates 1670 - 1991

 

(private house) 1670 - ? Mrs. Masters 1670 -?

Mr. Betterton ? - 1740 Mr. Betterton ? - 1740

Samuel Fox 1740 - 1770 Samuel Fox 1740-1770

George Burgess 1770-1832 George Burgess 1770-1855

Benjamin Hassell 1832-1837

Joseph Shellard 1837-1850

Henry Shellard 1850-1852

Daniel Shellard 1852-1855

William Caple 1855-1863 Daniel Harris 1855 - ?

Sumption Thompson 1863-1866

William Harvey 1866-1873 William Russell 1872-1901

John Way 1873-1875

John Joyce 1875- ?

Charles Turner ? - 1881

Thomas Gay 1881-1901

Alfred Grindell 1901-1918 William Grindell 1901-1918

Joseph Olds 1918-1929 Bristol Utd. Brewers. 1918-1956

Randolph Ricketts 1929-1948 Bristol Utd. Brewers.

Ernest Sheppard 1948-1954

Stanley Tucker 1954 - Georges 1956-1962

Gwen Tucker 1954 - Courage 1962-1991

Ushers 1991- Manager name not known.

 

Many of the pubs now owned by Pubfolio Ltd originally belonged to Ushers of Trowbridge. In 1824 Thomas Usher established a small brewery in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, where he brewed a locally renowned ale which was sold by his wife, Hannah from ‘The Tap’ at their family home.

 

Over the years the brewery flourished as a family business until 1941 when Thomas Usher, the founder’s grandson retired.

 

During the next 20 years Ushers continued to grow operating in an area from London to Bournemouth. They brewed an array of fine ales including Best Bitter, Oatmeal Stout and East India Pale Ale.

 

In 1960 Ushers was bought by Watney Mann increasing its interests across the West Country. In 1972 Watney Mann was bought by Grand Metropolitan and the brewery and pubs were managed by separate divisions.

 

Following an MMC report in 1991 restricting the number of pubs a brewery could own, Grand Metropolitan and Courage did a pubs-for-breweries swap, with Grand Metropolitan concentrating on pubs and Courage on brewing. With Courage concentrating on high volume production in large breweries.

 

However in November 1991 the brewery was saved by a management buy-in which included the brewery and 433 pubs. Ushers of Trowbridge was once again an independent brewery with a tied estate, which continued to invest in developing their beer brands and the pub estate which grew year on year.

 

Post Script

 

'Last Orders - the end of the village pub in England and the future is looking grim'

 

Willsbridge has changed in character considerably since those days of 1992. Today it is neither hamlet, nor village, but a largely dormitory sprawl which has seen its life blood of shops and industries for the most part fade. The Post office closed down - The local Butchers shop gone forever. But we still have our good old Queen's Head but for how much longer no one knows.??

 

see photo link

 

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2040109962/

 

Since Gwen Tucker the Queen's Head as had a succession of six or seven Mangers who have each stayed a very short time.

 

The truth is many pubs have simply closed down, while others eke out a marginal existence until a manager with entrepreneurial flair and the necessary capital

CIA- Al Qaeda Imperators pretend you don't know they are the same terrorist:

 

Al Qaeda: Friend or Foe? The US Cannot Have It Both Ways

By Joachim Hagopian

Global Research, April 03, 2014

The US government needs to be confronted with the untenable position of maintaining al Qaeda as America’s enemy while for decades it has been creating, funding and promoting al Qaeda.

 

What’s it going to be? Friend or foe? Trick or treat? Ally or enemy?

 

This line of questioning has no greater relevance than the US government’s rather ambiguous relationship to the so called al Qaeda terrorists.

 

On the one hand, war criminals Bush and Cheney insisted al Qaeda was the identified enemy that changed our world forever on 9/11, when allegedly 19 box cutting al Qaeda Moslem terrorists killed nearly 3000 Americans. Bush and Cheney convinced Americans that al Qaeda was the reason behind the US invading Afghanistan in October 2001 and less than a year and a half later Iraq. Al Qaeda is the reason President Obama is still justifying fighting that same war in Afghanistan thirteen years later. Al Qaeda is the reason why the Department of Homeland Security was suddenly created to make sure those al Qaeda enemies were kept out of the US, dedicated and committed to protecting American citizens from another 9/11.

 

Al Qaeda is the enemy of America, (while CIA-Mossad's tool) is and that has not changed from the early Bush days right up to the present Obama presidency. You ask any American over the last decade and a half who the enemy is in the global war on terror and virtually every one of them will readily rattle off “al Qaeda.” Repeatedly drilled into our brains, the American public has been forever reminded that it is the al Qaeda terrorists who are America’s longtime sinister nemesis constantly plotting to kill us Americans every chance they get.

 

This is the commonly accepted explanation given by the US government to promote and justify waging America’s longest lasting wars in its history, fighting and dying on multiple war fronts and allocating unprecedented amounts of US taxpayer dollars bleeding a shaky, faltering economy dry, while financing annual Defense budgets greater than the entire rest of the world combined. That’s how much al Qaeda is our sworn enemy. Giving away our hard earned tax dollars to the detriment of a shrinking middle class and a swelling underclass of disenfranchised poor increasingly unable to make ends meet. The American public has made a very grave self-sacrifice in its post-9/11 lost civil liberties, all for the sake of so called security at home so American Empire can keep us safe from those swarthy mean looking Muslim terrorists who will gladly die for Allah just to kill us.

 

Yet if the designated al Qaeda enemy is so much against America and wishes to kill the American people, why over the last three years are more of our tax paying dollars going to Al Qaeda fighting America’s proxy war in Syria against Bashar al Assad’s government forces? And why was al Qaeda the first hired guns on the ground to go into Libya right after the US-NATO bombings three years ago? And why to this day after removing the supposed bad guy Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi are al Qaeda still in control in Libya? Why are our taxpaying dollars for years at a time filling our supposed enemy al Qaeda’s pockets in places like Syria and Libya? And why does al Qaeda keep showing up as US’s surrogate troops on the ground in nations around the world, wherever US foreign policy agenda calls for destabilization and regime change? This line of questioning is just as valid and in need of answering as much as the opening paragraph ones. And though I cannot answer the first questions, answers to the latter questions can be formulated based on confirmed fact.

 

A brief digression seems in order here. Historically US foreign policy is synonymous with American Empire firmly rooted and immersed in US imperialism. By the end of overt European colonialism and independence of scores of developing nations after World War II, the US government’s cold war power grab began opportunistically filling the imperialistic void. And as a result, through countless acts of covert terrorism executed primarily by the CIA, coups and assassinations of even democratically elected leaders became routine around the world. Most notably in 1953 Iran and 1973 Chile, CIA with US military intelligence murdered leaders imposing regime changes in a host of ill fated sovereign independent nations with democratically elected leaders. US imperialism emerged at the forefront of American foreign policy during the cold war years always as a so called counterpoint to the threat of expanding Communism.

 

Hence, Operation Gladio was born. Gladio was part of the post-World War II campaign designed by CIA and NATO to undermine and neutralize Soviet communist invasions and influence in Italy and Western Europe. But in reality, it was nothing more than a state-sponsored right-wing terrorist network involved in false flag operations and the subversion of democracy. And just as it was then and still is today, covert acts of terrorism and false flag operations have come to characterize US foreign policy even more so today, from the heavy, protracted counterinsurgency war losses in Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan to virtually every Third World nation on the planet.

 

A decade ago President Reagan’s National Security Council Director Lt. General William Odom said:

 

“Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world. By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ’78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.”

 

In the rush to answer the Soviet Empire’s expansion into Afghanistan in December 1979, US foreign policymakers bankrolled a young, unknown upstart named Osama bin Laden and the Afghan mujahideen throughout the Soviet’s 1980’s decade long “Vietnam” in Afghanistan. Both Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and then CIA Director and later G.W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates publicly admitted that the US made the decision to both organize and support Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen as the al Qaeda “forefathers” that ultimately defeated the overextended Soviet Empire that in turn led to its crumbling apart in 1991.

 

Ronald Reagan with Representatives of the Mujahideen, White House, 1980s

 

Thus from the beginning the United States government maintained only a supportive and positive relationship with Al Qaeda and its original mastermind leader Osama bin Laden. Back in the 1980’s when Russia was fighting in the land called the graveyard of empires, it was the Saudi black sheep of the bin Laden family Osama who was the CIA’s darling deploying his burgeoning brand of terrorism as an “Arab mujahideen” in Afghanistan, proving himself a pesky thorn in the expansionist Soviet Union Empire.

 

In a July 2004 article entitled “Al Qaeda’s Origins and Links” BBC wrote,

 

“During the anti-Soviet jihad bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.”

 

Meanwhile throughout that 1980’s decade, American university textbooks as part of the series underwritten by a USAID $50 million grant to the University of Nebraska among others, kept churning out books extolling the virtues of jihad and of killing the Communists for Afghan children.

 

Bin Laden stated the name al Qaeda originated

 

“as a camp to train youth to fight against the oppressive, atheist, and truly terrorist Soviet Union. We called that place al Qaeda – in the sense that it was a training base – and that is where the name came from.”

 

Al Qaeda’s Arabic meaning often refers to the base as in military base. The term was first used in 1989 just two years before the Soviet Union’s breakup following its withdrawal from its own costly, protracted Afghan quagmire.

 

Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s joint mission was to recruit Islamic fundamentalists from the entire Arab world to come together for the common cause of fighting to liberate fellow Muslims from oppression in nations throughout the world. Soon after the Soviet war was won in Afghanistan, Osama sought his next terrorist campaign and soon found it in the Balkans in the 1990’s liberating fellow Muslims in Yugoslavia. As long as al Qaeda’s enemies happen to be US enemies like the Soviet Union, the US government never has a problem providing financial support sponsoring al Qaeda terrorism. Be it during the Republican Reagan years of the 1980’s Afghanistan or the Democratic Clinton years of the 1990’s and beyond in the Balkans, the US government secretly funneled a steady flow of American taxpayer dollars in support of continuous al Qaeda operations.

 

Without authority from either the UN Security Counsel or any international law, for 78 straight days in the spring of 1999 the US-NATO forces rained tons of outlawed cluster bombs as crimes against humanity down on the people of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. Four years after the bombing campaign to “liberate” Kosovo ended, under the auspices of UN Security forces, a December 2003 Toronto National Post article chronicled the deteriorating conditions with mounting evidence of ethnic cleansing, drug and human smuggling, and rampant violent crime and vandalism. Ethnic Albanian Moslem militia and Middle Eastern al Qaeda terrorists combined forces to kill and drive out Christian Serbs in a concerted effort to gain independence from Serbia.

 

At the Hague Tribunal trying him for war crimes and genocide, Yugoslavian dictator Slobodan Milosevic presented a Congressional statement from the FBI dated December 2002 documenting that al Qaeda militants began arriving in 1992. This statement was corroborated by Simon Fraser University Professor Lenard Cohen who stated, “Al Qaeda migrated to Bosnia hoping to assist their Islamic brethren in a struggle against Serbian [and for a time] Croatian forces.” Naturally the Bosnian Moslems welcomed al Qaeda terrorists giving them an edge against their Serbian enemy.

 

Using money from smuggling heroin from Afghanistan through Turkey to Kosovo in addition to covert US financial aid, al Qaeda mujahideen set up terrorist training camps in Bosnia. An undisclosed Western military source claimed al Qaeda was also financed by wealthy US allied oil nations Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. In the years before the 1999 bombing campaign, al Qaeda moved its well funded operations to the southern Serbian province of Kosovo to fight alongside ethnic Albanians comprising the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against their common enemy the Serbs.

 

Clinton, US Congress and NATO commander General Wesley Clarke supported US state sponsored terrorism by al Qaeda, the Bosnian Army and the KLA against the common enemy Milosevic’s Serbian Army. Though the US ensured Milosevic was tried for genocidal war crimes at the Hague and subsequently executed in 2006, the Muslim terrorists were committing the same war crimes of ethnic cleansing toward the Serbs but both the US and UN simply condoned them, hypocritically choosing to look the other way. After all, by that time the US had been consistently investing millions of US tax dollars on al Qaeda terrorists in both the Afghanistan and Balkan Wars for nearly two decades.

 

Thus, even after the horror of 9/11, after the Neocons declared to the world that the al Qaeda network were the perpetrators, the US continued to secretly support al Qaeda operations in eastern Europe although insider fears of blowback were beginning to grow. So Bush, Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld simply battened down their hatches doing their powerful best in waging a propaganda disinformation war to conceal their countless treasonous skeletons in their closet.

 

To this day an international movement is pushing louder than ever to indict these war criminals for their crimes against humanity. In this regard, the Washington blog refers to the United States War Crimes Act of 1996 that stipulates no statue of limitation exists for any military or civilian national who violates the Geneva convention by committing acts of torture (the widely known, widely practiced waterboarding under the Bush-Cheney regime even Obama agrees constitutes torture), inhuman treatment and murder.

 

Of course Obama has only continued to carry out Neocon policies and, as such, is a repeated violator of the Geneva Convention as well. Despite all the Bush Administration lies, there are still numerous cracks in their stonewalling of the truth. So from one war criminal to the next, last August Obama’s Department of Justice filed a request to grant immunity to George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz for knowingly entering a war under false pretenses.

 

For decades the bin Laden family has enjoyed close business ties with the Bush family as well as the US government. On the morning of 9/11 while Americans were jumping out of windows in New York City, Bush senior was busily wining and dining the bin Ladens in a meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in DC and later that same day while all planes in the US were grounded, the bin Laden family was quietly escorted out of the country flying safely home to Saudi Arabia.

 

Further substantiation of this all too cozy a relationship with Osama after al Qaeda fought Russians in Afghanistan came from former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. She stated in a June 2009 interview that she came across classified material proving that the US government lied in its denial of maintaining “an intimate relationship” with bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Taliban “all the way up to September 11th.”

 

It appears that the neocons never stopped working with bin Laden and al Qaeda right through 9/11. In a symbiotic relationship, they needed him as much as he needed them. Considering the neocon plan to invade Iraq has been documented to exist long before the alleged 9/11 attack, and the proven utter lack of credibility and corruption of the entire Bush Administration, in the post-cold war era Osama bin Laden gladly became their convenient face of the enemy in America’s sudden new “war on terror.”

 

A couple weeks after 9/11 that same war criminal then retired General Wesley Clark revealed in 2007 the ambitious neocon plan to take out seven sovereign nations within the next five years in North Africa and the Middle East. Those countries targeted for regime change are Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Iran. The Neocons no longer viewed the purpose of the US military strictly in terms of national defense but simply to start wars and take out existing governments, replacing them with US controlled, weak and corrupt puppet governments. Of course the first two countries on that infamous list were Afghanistan and Iraq. So the US launched invasions resulting in decade long costly wars ostensibly to track down and defeat the Al Qaeda enemy.

 

Of course we all are painfully aware of the lies of the neocon’s false flag operation that got America stuck fighting a winless war in Iraq for a decade. Again without UN Security Council backing and in clear violation of every international law, the Bush doctrine of launching pre-emptive, unilateral wars using the sole global superpower’s exceptionalism and the “might makes right” mentality, with prefabricated, calculated lies contending Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and terrorist 9/11 ties, Iraq was invaded in March 2003 to replace the onetime US ally turned convenient enemy Saddam Hussein.

 

Back during the eight year bloody war between Iraq and Iran also during Reagan 1980’s, the US poured military hardware and US military intelligence giving Saddam the distinct advantage of knowing where his enemy’s troop movements were. Thus supplying him with the chemical weapons the US knew he would eagerly use not only on Iran soldiers but his own people the Kurds in northern Iraq, again without conscience the US government was supporting more state sponsored terrorism and crimes of humanity to the worst degree. Another reason the neocons had to bring Hussein down was his grumblings demanding to be paid no longer in US dollars for his oil but in gold. So another friend turned foe bad guy was extinguished in more cutthroat American imperialism.

 

And what does America have to show for its three trillion dollar war in Iraq? After the decade long tragedy of US occupation and ongoing war leaving 4,486 American soldiers dead, the US’s parting gift to the Iraqi people is an indefinite sectarian civil war with no end in sight, a completely desecrated nation full of deformed babies at 17 times the prewar rate (worse than the postwar Japanese atom bomb rates at Hiroshima-Nagasaki). Cancer rates over the years with the two US wars in Iraq are surging off the charts from depleted Uranium war rubble and the chemical white phosphorus used in US military assaults on cities like Fallujah and Basra. Iraq’s pre-Gulf War cancer rate in 1991 was just 40 out of 100,000 people. After the Gulf War in 1995 it jumped up to 800 out of 100,000 and by 2005 still early in the latest war, cancer had already stricken twice the earlier rate at 1600 out of 100,000 Iraqis. Obviously the rates are far higher nearly a decade later than that last statistic. Finally the tragic death toll to Iraq’s population at the hands of America’s aggression from 2003 through 2012 is nearly two million fellow human beings. And this is just from the US’s latest war in Iraq. More than 4000 more Iraqis are dying each year since the US left.

 

A January article written by CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen reads “Al Qaeda controls more territory than ever in Middle East.” This is the unanimous consensus from both English and Arab news sites that include jihadist websites. Covering a 400-mile stretch from northern Syria all the way to central Iraq, the so called enemy occupies and controls more territory now than it has in its entire history. Having retaken Fallujah and Anbar province in Iraq, al Qaeda now controls one third of Iraq territory. Al Qaeda is busily setting up massive bread distribution centers winning the local people’s hearts and minds, something General Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency manual failed to practice what it preached.

 

Considering that the whole pretext for invading Iraq aside from the phantom WMD’s, was Saddam and Iraq having direct ties to both the 9/11 attack and al Qaeda, then of course the world subsequently learned the hard way that was just another neocon lie. This latest pathetic turn of events only begins making sense when taking the overall bigger picture view that al Qaeda has always been the US government’s friend in as much as it is a self-serving tool to manipulate and sic on our worst enemies. Only to the American people has it been put that al Qaeda is our enemy. So much for how our government feels about us. And that said, so much for America winning its global war on terror. The old expression comes to mind… “with enemies like you, who needs friends?” Or more apropos, “with friends like you, who needs enemies?” After Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s the over four trillion dollar question, never mind Libya, Syria and the rest of the Moslem world where al Qaeda apparently is not only alive and well, but evidently thriving and growing. A revent Harvard study’s conservative estimate is anywhere from over four to seven trillion dollars.

 

The longest US war in history – the Afghanistan War – is fairing no better. More than a dozen and a half years after the US invasion, like the al Qaeda “enemy,” the Taliban enemy is also expanding its territorial control and hold within the country. With the presidential election looming this Saturday, it marks the end of the ex-CIA operator-oil company advisor Hamid Karzai’s reign of corruption playing both sides. He has been busily meeting regularly with the Taliban while refusing to sign the security agreement to retain US troops in the country. Karzai has maintained lucratively warm ties with the Taliban enemy, and may be betting on team Taliban poised and ready to pounce and take over once the US military presence officially departs at the end of December. And since it will no longer be his government to lose, he is choosing to circumvent the US altogether in attempts to reach a peace settlement. Outside the capital particularly in the southern provinces, the Taliban occupies more control than the 200,000 man Afghanistan National Army that the US military is handing over the reigns to. The US government is confident that the newly elected president will sign the agreement to retain of 12-15,000 US security forces in 2015 and longer. Despite the reduced troop size, the war budget is slated to be $79.4 billion. Many American generals and politicians are warning that without US troop support beyond this year, the Taliban will once again rule.

 

Though technically the Taliban is different from al Qaeda since its domain of interest is far more localized to Afghanistan and less ambitious than al Qaeda’s, for propaganda purposes both are Islamic extremists sharing the same enemy America in common. And apparently since the Taliban has been steadily resurging in power in recent years, al Qaeda is less needed in Afghanistan than other Middle Eastern hot spots like Syria, Libya and Iraq where its presence is far more pervasive and dominant.

 

Speaking of Syria, nowhere is it more puzzling and bewildering to reconcile the glaring discrepancy between America’s sworn enemy Al Qaeda terrorists, steadily funded by US tax dollars fighting in Syria, certainly not for our interests but only for the US-Saudi-Israeli axis of power’s implementation of the 1% war profiteering oligarch plan for a New World Order.

 

Obama’s false flag blaming the chemical weapons attack on Assad’s government last August when it was in fact US backed al Qaeda rebels’ doing, demonstrates the fixated agenda of US foreign policy to vanquish the Syrian government. Gaining a foothold in Syria as the gateway to the final prize of Iran would be the planetary game changer that would effectively cut off Russia and China to full oil-gas pipeline access supplying the rest of the world. The US will use al Qaeda as its paid mercenaries to fight anywhere that will limit the East’s power. The former Soviet outer states of Central Asia so rich in gas and oil reserves is the fertile ground that Special Ops and al Qaeda mercenaries are destined to play an integral part in this global destabilization plan firmly underway. Thus to the US government and transnational corporations, al Qaeda has been a friendly weapon of mass destruction and simply another con job of an enemy to the American people.

 

Yes, there are angry Islamic fundamentalists that since 9/11 due to US foreign aggression have been given justifiable reason to hate America. Every time Special Operations terrorize and murder families throughout the Third World by raiding homes in the middle of the night, detaining and torturing male family members in prison camps, leaving surviving family members to understandably seek revenge. In this way our brutal foreign policy ensures a fresh supply of so called al Qaeda enemies for its permanent global war on terror.

 

Of course the other favorite twenty-first century warfare in US Empire’s arsenal is the massive deployment of remote controlled drone strikes that again terrorize and murder more innocent people around the world than so called terrorist bad guys. Losing family members of course also serves the function of recruiting more jihadists committed to avenging the deaths of their relatives by fighting the holy war against America the aggressor. Whether employed as US hired guns by proxy or surviving family victims recruited to fight the war on terror, al Qaeda is serving the self-interest of only the US government, and certainly not us Americans.

 

Clearly the tiny nation of Syria has never posed any threat to the security of US citizens. Yet just over a month ago a number of Congress members and Homeland Security head went on mainstream media announcing that the greatest threat to America’s security now is Syria. They contend that many Americans and Europeans with legitimate passports are currently traveling in droves to Syria for secret jihadist terrorist training with intentions of returning to America and Europe to commit heinous acts of terrorism.

 

If what these fear mongers are saying is true, then it is on the US government for creating this “greatest security threat” by financing al Qaeda mercenaries to go in droves to Syria in the first place. For several years now America has been backing many Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria posing as anti-government rebels fighting the US proxy war for regime change. They are fighting to bring Islamic extremism to every nation in the Middle East and beyond and the US government has created this monster by promoting it for years now. The Assad military is gaining the edge in a stalemated war. They are too busy defending their nation against all the al Qaeda mercenaries America keeps sending there. So the terrorist trainers that all these warmongering Chicken Little’s must be talking about are these same US financed al Qaeda militants.

 

It is among the oldest Gladio tricks in the deception game to use false flags to hype up the fear factor in order to justify more war and greater profits for the military industrial complex. And it is this kind of hype and deception that most often occurs when the opponent is gaining the upper hand, just like last August’s false flag with the chemical attack. The US government has been secretly funding the same al Qaeda for many decades past, first in Afghanistan, then the Balkans, then more recently in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. The high stakes that Obama and his neocon plan for regime change place on this Middle Eastern nation are anything but inconsequential. This latest reality only confirms that Obama and his neocons are only getting more desperate, perhaps creating a new false flag with this latest terrorist training scenario.

 

This rash of fear mongering occurred in February but apparently it turned out to be just more false flag waving hype. But then last week another false flag event surfaced, this time the guilty party being exposed was US longtime ally Turkey. A leaked tape was released on youtube with the Turkish intelligence chief, a general and a deputy foreign minister discussing a plan to stage a false flag attack on Turkey in order to falsely blame Syrian government forces that would justify a military air strike on Syria. It is unclear when this recorded conversation took place but believed to be either late last year or early this year. Not surprising it received very little mainstream media coverage as this incident comes as yet another embarrassment to the US-NATO alliance (of which Turkey is a member) on the heels of the Ukraine crisis where Russia annexing Crimea was viewed as a defeat. Obama and the West keep reeling from a series of foreign policy blunders going back to the infamous chemical weapons false flag in Syria last August and September.

 

It appears that in the face of so many recent setbacks, the urgency and desperation to step up the war in Syria is more than likely increasing pressure coming from way up on high, the banking cabal that stands alone to gain from these constant campaigns being waged internationally with agendas to destabilize every nation not already in complete submission to US Empire hegemony. And Syria and Iran remain the final two holdouts on that original pre-9/11 take down list of seven. Only by examining the global geopolitical chessboard does the impatient New World Order emerging become plainer to see.

 

Another post-regime change nation to look at is Libya. When another onetime ally Muammar Gaddafi envisioned a developing solidarity of African power starting with their own currency off the standard US fiat dollar, he too like Saddam was a dead man walking, but not for long. NATO air bombing pulverized the country into oblivion that set the stage for the US government to send in its first boots on the ground large numbers of rag tag al Qaeda militants and mercenary thugs. They looted and plundered Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves as well as his arsenal of weapons. Key al Qaeda leaders from all over the Middle East paired up with Libyan al Qaeda affiliates, and rewarded by CIA and US Special Ops, were placed into bullying roles in all major cities. Lawlessness and chaos prevail to this day.

 

Also participating in the Saudi-Israeli-US war by proxy, under Hillary Clinton’s State Department cover, a massive arms smuggling operation went down shipping guns through Turkey to be used against Syrian government forces. The 9/11/12 murder of Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans less than two months prior to the November presidential elections became a hidden at all cost liability to Obama, Hillary and then CIA Director Petraeus.

 

If the real truth had been told right after those four Americans were murdered in Benghazi instead of the Administration lie that an obscure anti-Moslem video caused the attack, it would have been over for all three of the world’s most powerful war criminals. Obama, Clinton and Petraeus refused to come to the aid of the ambassador despite his desperate requests for increased compound security that began months in advance of the Benghazi attack. Why? Because Hillary’s State Department was acting as the main cover for the gun smuggling operation out of Benghazi. Last August CNN reported that the CIA operatives and Special Ops personnel stationed at the Benghazi annex have been threatened harm to both them and their families should any of them reveal the truth of what was really going on. Additionally each one of them must undergo a lie detector test every month to ensure that they all remain silent or else.

 

So the US government wants America to continue to fear the al Qaeda enemy that still desires to kill Americans yet simultaneously the US government also wants to continue bankrolling the enemy to do its dirty work fighting for regime changes around the world. This presentation points out the fallacy of wanting your cake and eating it too. The US government can no longer play both sides and expect to not be called for it. The relentless hypocrisy, deception and making up its own psychopathic rules while using others for one’s own selfish gains without any consideration for short or long term negative consequences, this malevolent and destructive endgame must stop. It is up to us citizens to set limits for a government that is out of control.

 

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. Having written a manuscript based on his military experience, the link is below:

www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/.

 

After the military Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and eventually became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century.

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.aspx

  

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/about.aspx

  

One of very few ancient landscapes remaining in London, these medieval marshes right next to the River Thames were closed to the public for over 100 years and used as a military firing range.

 

We managed to acquire the site in 2000 and set about transforming it into an important place for nature and a great place for people to visit. Now you can expect to see breeding wading birds in spring and summer, and large flocks of wild ducks in winter.

 

Birds of prey and rare birds are regularly seen too. There are also water voles in the ditches and rare dragonflies flit across the boardwalks.

 

There is an innovative visitor centre, with huge picture-windows that look out across the marshes. It is full of environmentally friendly features and already boasts a handful of prestigious architectural awards.

 

There is also a shop and café and a new wildlife garden and children's adventure play area too. A full events programme offers something for everyone, and while we still have several years to go to finish all the visitor features out on the reserve, it is already an incredible transformation. Boardwalks throughout the reserve give access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Opening times

 

From 1 November to 31 January, we're open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. From 1 February to 31 October, it's 9.30 am - 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

  

Entrance charges

 

Car park: voluntary £1 donation. Reserve: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering and Thurrock. Non-members: £3 adult, £1.50 child, £9 family (two adults and up to four children). There are extra costs for some events - please check when you book.

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Birds are easy to see year round. The reserve runs a number of regular events for birdwatchers throughout the year, from novice to expert, including weekly Wednesday guided birding walk with Howard Vaughan, dawn chorus walks, winter spectacle birding event, a new birdwatching club for children, February's flock bird event and spring walks. There are also designated open days and weekends. Please see the events pages for further information.

  

Information for families

 

There is an evolving events and walks programme specially designed for families, with activities for all. All the reserve's paths and boardwalks are family and wheelchair friendly. There are also Adventure and Toddler's Playgrounds.

  

Information for dog owners

 

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs. However, dogs are allowed on the Thames riverside path - a public footpath and cycleway running adjacent to the reserve.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Avocet

 

The delicate forms and and piping 'kluit' calls of avocets are becoming a more and more frequent site at Rainham throughout the year.

  

Lapwing

 

Lapwings from different places visit Rainham Marshes during the year. Wintering birds are replaced by breeding birds in spring and other birds that have bred further north pass through in summer and autumn.

  

Little egret

 

Little egrets can now be seen here in large numbers right throughout the year. Dispersing juvenile birds lead to a sudden rise in numbers in late summer and autumn.

  

Peregrine

 

The large concentrations of wildfowl and waders regularly attract hunting peregrines - especially in autumn and winter.

  

Ringed plover

 

These neatly banded waders can be seen performing their 'run and stop' feeding routine here.

  

Seasonal highlights

 

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Wheatears, stonechats, oystercatchers, hobbies, curlews, swifts, sand martins, house martins, warblers, marsh harriers, reed buntings, water and short-tailed voles, damselflies, marsh frogs, grass snakes, water shrews.

  

Summer

 

Black-tailed godwits, whimbrels, greenshanks, snipe, little egrets, dunlins, lapwings, teals, swifts, common sandpipers, ruffs, starlings, avocets, yellow wagtails, oystercatchers, yellow-legged gulls, bank and water voles, water shrews, marsh frogs, wasp spiders, red foxes.

  

Autumn

 

Marsh harriers, arctic terns, bearded tits, thrushes, finches, skylarks, meadow pipits, jackdaws, stonechats, hen harriers, goshawks, merlins, peregrines, short-eared owls, barn owls, avocets, black-tailed godwits, white fronted geese, pintails, wigeons, crickets, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, stoats, weasels, red foxes.

  

Winter

 

Bullfinches, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, golden plovers, water and rock pipits, little egrets, snipe, chiffchaffs, curlews, lapwings, dunlins, redshanks, shelducks, peregrines, kingfishers, short-eared owls, red foxes, stoats, weasels.

  

Facilities

  

Visitor centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Picnic area

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Currently two bird hides, family orientated Marshland Discovery Zone and several open viewing areas.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a network of nature trails currently in place, which are utilised for specific guided walks and events. There are approximately 2.5 miles plus of nature boardwalks, all designed for wheelchair and pushchair access.

  

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

Cold drinks

Sandwiches

Snacks

  

Shop

 

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

Books

Bird food

Bird feeders

Nestboxes

Outdoor clothing

  

Educational facilities

 

The Education team offer a comprehensive and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits for all school levels. We have Woodland, Reedbed and Marshland Discovery Zones, an Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas and lots more. It's a safe and inspiring environment to get close to nature. A selection of lifelong learning courses on a variety of topics are run throughout the year, along with a range of children's activities, including holiday clubs. Please contact us for further details.

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe gives magnificent views not only over the ancient wildlife-filled grazing marsh, but also across Old Father Thames which flows majestically past the window. It is the perfect place to relax after exploring our nature trails or as a respite stop after the hustle and bustle of shopping nearby.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

Whether you are after a refreshing cuppa and a slice of our fabulous home-made cake, or a filling sandwich, panini or jacket potato, you will find something to tickle your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you soon!

  

Opening hours

 

From 1 November-31 March, we're open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From 1 April-31 October it's 9.30 am to 5 pm. We're closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Highlights from our menu:-

 

Fabulous home-made cakes

Locally-made soup

Freshly-prepared jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings

Locally-baked pies and pasties

Made-to-order toasties, paninis and sandwiches

Lovely cafe with warming soup and fantastic cake. Yummy!

  

Access to the cafe

 

The cafe is fully wheelchair-friendly.

 

Children welcome

 

We're happy to serve smaller portions and we can also warm baby food in the microwave.

 

We use local ingredients

 

All produce is sourced locally where possible, including ham, bacon, sausages, soup and pies.

  

Dietary requirements

 

Jacket potatoes, sandwiches etc all have veggie options, as well as a veggie pastry. We have vegan meals. The soup and jacket potatoes are wheat-free; some gluten-free cakes are available.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from the webpage.

  

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from our reserve reception

 

Free entry for RSPB members, residents of Havering and Thurrock. For other visitors admission charges apply. Carer or essential companion admitted free with disabled visitor

 

No dogs. Registered Assistance dogs only

 

Visitor Centre, car park and reserve trails are open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from 1 November-31 March and 9.30 am to 5 pm from 1 April-31 October; closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Check accessibility for events and activities.

  

How to get here

 

Purfleet Railway Station is a 15 minute walk to reserve

 

Bus stops near the reserve entrance.

  

Car parking

 

110 spaces and seven Blue Badge spaces

 

Gates locked at 5 pm

 

Surface is loose gravel

 

No formal drop-off point

 

No height restrictions.

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Ground floor shop, slight slope to heavy door with 10 mm lip, normally open. Assistance bell. Non-slip tiles. Reasonable lighting. Some display units tall or deep. Pen and paper available. Bird seed bins are outside the shop.

 

The visitor centre and cafe are on first floor, accessed by a long ramp left of Blue Badge parking. Entry by two sets of double heavy doors opening outwards. No threshold. NOTE JUNE 2012, power assistance is out of order so an alternative bell is provided.

 

Step-free, level access throughout and non-slip tiles. Lowered counter section. Good lighting. Pen and paper available. Binocular hire. Staff available to assist.

  

Nature trails

 

Three signposted trails, a mix of flat gravel surface paths and boardwalks. Information boards in large print. Trails start at the visitor centre across a short section of non slip grill with a short steep section. You can leave the reserve part way round and along the River Thames. Use the one way turnstile or gate (Gate key code available from reception)

  

Viewing facilities

 

Four hides on the circular walk. None on the Woodland walk. All level entry either adapted for wheelchair spaces or designed for everyone to gain the same great views. Marshland Discovery Zone has touch interpretation. Shooting Butts Hide has 14 stairs and a lift.

  

Toilets and baby changing facilities

 

Accessible toilet on ground and first floors (Baby changing in first floor)

  

Catering

 

Café on first floor. Good lighting. Non slip tile flooring. Self-service. Menus are clear print. Staff available to assist.

  

Picnic area

 

Eleven tables with wheelchair spaces, on soft and hard surfaces, level ground behind visitor centre. Alternatively, a table in the adventure playground and toddler's play area. Visitors are welcome to consume their own food and drink here.

  

Education facilities

 

Education team offer a wide and exciting array of curriculum linked field study visits at our Environment and Education centre, fully equipped classrooms, specific study areas, pond dipping areas.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Rainham Marshes

E-mail: rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01708 899840

RM19 1SZ

  

How to get here

  

By train

The nearest railway station to this reserve is Purfleet. Purfleet train station is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. The reserve is a 15 minute walk from the station following the brown pedestrian signs along the riverside path. Turn right out of the station and then join the path at the Royal Pub. Follow the Riverside path and then cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre.

  

By bus

The ensignbus 44 bus route which runs between Lakeside and Orsett Hospital, Grays, stops near the reserve entrance on New Tank Hill Road. This bus runs every hour and up to 30 minutes during peak periods. The service is operated by Ensignbus (01708 865656).

  

By road

The reserve is located off New Tank Hill Road (A1090) in Purfleet which is just off the A1306 between Rainham and Lakeside. This is accessible from the Aveley, Wennington and Purfleet junction off the A13 and J30/31 of the M25.

  

Cycling at Rainham Marshes

  

RSPB Rainham Marshes is just a stone's throw from London, easily accessible by public transport, on foot and by bike. Located on ancient marshland nestled beside the river Thames, it really is a special place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The reserve itself offers a leisurely amble in a superb setting with fantastic facilities such as an award-winning, eco-friendly visitor centre with cafe and shop.

 

If cycling is your thing, a brand new cycle route links the villages of Purfleet and Rainham. This runs beside the reserve, following the Thames, looping round and passing the stone barges.

 

Both on the reserve and along the riverside path, you will see a variety of interesting, sometimes rare, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as bugs and beasties of all kinds. You will also be able to learn so much of the history and importance of this area.

  

Our work here

  

Rainham Marshes protects an ancient, low-lying grazing marsh in the Thames Estuary. Its complex of wet grassland and ditches, together with rank grassland and scrub, supports many breeding and wintering birds.

Wildlife also includes scarce wetland plants and insects, and a key population of the nationally declining water vole.

 

The site has a history of neglect, but the RSPB is working to restore important habitats and improve their biodiversity. This will transform a former wasteland into an important natural asset, and help raise public awareness of local conservation issues.

 

Managing the marsh

 

Birdlife on the marsh includes breeding waders, such as lapwing, redshank and snipe, as well as important numbers of wintering wildfowl, waders, finches and birds of prey.

 

We plan to enhance the habitat for these birds by creating a mosaic of unflooded tussocky grassland, flooded short grassland and semi-permanent pools. This will also benefit important plant species, such as golden dock.

 

Meanwhile we will improve the ditch system for the benefit of water voles, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and breeding birds.

 

Leaving well alone

 

We will leave the areas of tall rank grass and scattered scrub unmanaged in order to retain their existing conservation value. Wildlife in these habitats includes small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and birds such as wintering short-eared owls and breeding stonechats.

 

We will also look after sandy areas for their specialist insect life.

 

Silt lagoons

 

Lagoons on the reserves are currently used for commercial silt dredging. We will work around this in order re-create and maintain a complex of brackish lagoons and reed-swamp for important wildlife, including breeding, wintering and passage waterfowl.

 

While some lagoons will remain operational, we will manage others rotationally and keep the rest permanently open.

 

Access for all

 

We aim to make the site accessible to everyone, without impinging on the dredging operation or compromising our conservation priorities. We will develop and promote the reserve as a major visitor attraction and centre for environmental education. We aim to encourage interest in local and general conservation, and create a broader understanding of the work of the RSPB.

 

Funding

 

Current work is being funded by the EU’s Interreg IVA Two Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, Homes and Communities Agency’s Parklands Funding administered by Essex County Council, and Biffa Award and Veolia Cleanaway Havering Riverside Trust, both through the Landfill Communities Fund.

 

Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Barclays, Royal Mail, Family Mosaic, Ipsos Media we have been able to deliver more for wildlife and people at Rainham Marshes.

King Ludwig II and King Otto in their younger years. From Bavaria.

 

from wiki

Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm;[1] sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 1845[2] – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King (German). Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.[3]

Ludwig is sometimes also called "Mad King Ludwig", though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. His younger brother, Otto, was considered insane[by whom?][citation needed], thus the claim of hereditary madness was convenient. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental incapacity without any medical examination, questions about the medical "diagnosis" remain controversial. Adding to the controversy are the mysterious circumstances under which he died. King Ludwig and the doctor assigned to him in captivity at Castle Berg on Lake Starnberg were both found dead in the lake in waist-high water (Ludwig was well-known to be a strong swimmer), the doctor with unexplained injuries to the head and shoulders on the morning of June 13, 1886.[4] One of his most quoted sayings was "I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others."[5]

Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of two extravagant palaces and a castle, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. King Ludwig is generally well-liked and even revered by many Bavarians today, many of whom note the irony of his supposed madness and the fact that his legacy of architecture and art and the tourist income they generate help to make Bavaria the richest state in Germany.

 

Born in Nymphenburg Palace (today located in suburban Munich), he was the eldest son of Maximilian II of Bavaria (then Crown Prince) and his wife Princess Marie of Prussia. His parents intended to name him Otto, but his grandfather, Ludwig I of Bavaria, insisted his grandson was to be named after him, since their common birthday, 25 August, is the feast day of Saint Louis, patron saint of Bavaria. A younger brother, born three years later, was named Otto.

Like many young heirs in an age when kings governed most of Europe, Ludwig was continually reminded of his royal status. King Maximilian wanted to instruct both of his sons in the burdens of royal duty from an early age.[6] Ludwig was both extremely indulged and severely controlled by his tutors and subjected to a strict regimen of study and exercise. There are some who point to these stresses of growing up in a royal family as the causes for much of his odd behavior as an adult. Ludwig was not close with either of his parents.[7] King Maximilian's advisers had suggested that on his daily walks he might like, at times, to be accompanied by his future successor. The King replied, "But what am I to say to him? After all, my son takes no interest in what other people tell him."[8] Later, Ludwig would refer to his mother as "my predecessor's consort".[8] He was far closer to his grandfather, the deposed and notorious King Ludwig I, who came from a family of eccentrics.

Ludwig's childhood years did have happy moments. He lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee (Swan Lake) near Füssen. It was decorated in the gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas. The family also visited Lake Starnberg. As an adolescent, Ludwig became close friends with his aide de camp, Prince Paul of Bavaria's wealthy Thurn und Taxis family. The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged scenes from the Romantic operas of Richard Wagner. The friendship ended when Paul became engaged in 1866. During his youth Ludwig also initiated a lifelong friendship with his half-first cousin once removed, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, later Empress of Austria.[7] They loved nature and poetry; Elisabeth called Ludwig "Eagle" and he called her "Dove."

 

Crown Prince Ludwig had just turned 18 when his father died after a three-day illness, and he ascended the Bavarian throne.[8] Although he was not prepared for high office,[7] his youth and brooding good looks made him popular in Bavaria and elsewhere.[7] One of the first acts of his reign, a few weeks after his accession, was to summon composer Richard Wagner to his court in Munich.[7][9] Wagner had a notorious reputation as a revolutionary and a philanderer and was constantly on the run from creditors.[7] Ludwig had admired Wagner since first seeing his opera, Lohengrin, at the impressionable age of 15½, followed by Tannhäuser ten months later. Wagner's operas appealed to the king's fantasy-filled imagination. On 4 May 1864, the 51-year-old Wagner was given an unprecedented 1¾ hour audience with Ludwig in the Royal Palace in Munich; later the composer wrote of his first meeting with Ludwig, "Alas, he is so handsome and wise, soulful and lovely, that I fear that his life must melt away in this vulgar world like a fleeting dream of the gods."[7][9] The king was likely the saviour of Wagner's career. Without Ludwig, it is doubted that Wagner's later operas would have been composed, much less premiered at the prestigious Munich Royal Court Theatre, now the Bavarian State Opera House.

A year after meeting the King, Wagner presented his latest work, Tristan und Isolde, in Munich to great acclaim. But the composer’s perceived extravagant and scandalous behaviour in the capital was unsettling for the conservative people of Bavaria, and the King was forced to ask Wagner to leave the city six months later, in December 1865.

Ludwig’s interest in theatre was by no means confined to Wagner. In 1864, he laid the foundation stone of a new Court Theatre. This theatre is nowadays called the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz (Gärtnerplatz-Theater). In 1867, he appointed Karl von Perfall Director of the new theatre. Ludwig wished to introduce Munich theatre-goers to the best of European drama. Perfall, under Ludwig’s supervision, introduced the public to Shakespeare, Calderón, Mozart, Gluck, Ibsen, Weber and many others. He also raised the standard of interpretation of Schiller, Molière and Corneille.[10]

Between 1872 and 1885, the King had 209 private performances (Separatvorstellungen) given for himself alone or with a guest, in the two court theatres, comprising 44 operas (28 by Wagner, including eight of Parsifal), 11 ballets and 154 plays (the principal theme being Bourbon France) at a cost of 97,300 marks.[11] This was not due so much to misanthropy but, as the King complained to the theatre actor-manager Ernst Possart: "I can get no sense of illusion in the theatre so long as people keep staring at me, and follow my every expression through their opera-glasses. I want to look myself, not to be a spectacle for the masses."

 

The greatest stresses of Ludwig's early reign were pressure to produce an heir, and relations with militant Prussia. Both issues came to the forefront in 1867.

 

Ludwig became engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, his cousin and the youngest sister of his dear friend, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.[7] The engagement was publicized on 22 January 1867, but after repeatedly postponing the wedding date, Ludwig finally cancelled the engagement in October. A few days before the engagement had been announced, Sophie had received a letter from the King telling her what she already knew: "The main substance of our relationship has always been ... Richard Wagner's remarkable and deeply moving destiny."[12] After the engagement was broken off, Ludwig wrote to his former fiancee, "My beloved Elsa! Your cruel father has torn us apart. Eternally yours, Heinrich" (the names Elsa and Heinrich came from characters from Wagner operas)[12] Ludwig never married, but Sophie later married Ferdinand d'Orléans, duc d'Alençon (1844–1910).

Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian theatre actor Josef Kainz, and courtier Alfons Weber (born c.1862). He began keeping a diary in which he recorded his private thoughts and his attempts to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith. Ludwig's original diaries from 1869 were lost during World War II, and all that remains today are copies of entries during the 1886 plot to depose him. These diary entries, along with private letters and other surviving personal documents, show Ludwig's lifelong struggle with his orientation.[13] (Homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813,[14] however became punishable again in 1871 due to the Unification of Germany under Prussian hegemony, see Paragraph 175, an event due to which for instance early German gay activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs had to leave Bavaria, living the remainder of his life in exile in Italy) Some earlier diaries have survived in the Geheimes Hausarchiv in Munich and extracts starting in 1858 were published by Evers in 1986.[15]

 

Relations with Prussia took centre stage starting in 1866. During the Seven Weeks' War, which began in July, Ludwig agreed (as did several other German principalities) to take the side of Austria against Prussia.[7] When the two sides negotiated the war’s settlement, the terms required that Ludwig accept a mutual defense treaty with Prussia.

This treaty placed Bavaria back on the firing line three years later, when the Franco-Prussian War broke out. Prussia and her allies prevailed in this conflict, and an emboldened Prussia now finished her campaign to unify all of the minor German kingdoms into one German Empire under the rule of his uncle Wilhelm I of Prussia, who would now be declared Emperor, or Kaiser.

At the request of Prussian Minister President Bismarck (and in exchange for certain financial concessions), Ludwig wrote a letter (the so-called Kaiserbrief) in December 1870 endorsing the creation of the German Empire. With the creation of the Empire, Bavaria lost its status as an independent kingdom and became another state in the empire. Ludwig attempted to protest these alterations by refusing to attend the ceremony where Wilhelm I was proclaimed the new empire's first emperor.[16] However the Bavarian delegation under Prime Minister Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg had secured a privileged status of the Kingdom of Bavaria within the German Empire (Reservatrechte). Within the Empire the Kingdom of Bavaria was even able to retain its own diplomatic body and its own army, which would fall under Prussian command only in times of war.

After the creation of the greater Germany, Ludwig increasingly withdrew from politics, and devoted himself to his personal creative projects, most famously his castles, where he personally approved every detail of the architecture, decoration and furnishing.

 

Ludwig was notably eccentric in ways that made serving as Bavaria’s head of state problematic. He disliked large public functions and avoided formal social events whenever possible, and preferred a life of seclusion that he pursued with various creative projects. He last inspected a military parade on 22 August 1875 and last gave a Court banquet on 10 February 1876.[17] His mother had foreseen difficulties for Ludwig when she recorded her concern for her extremely introverted and creative son who spent much time day-dreaming. These idiosyncrasies combined with the fact that Ludwig avoided Munich and participating in the government there at all costs, caused considerable tension with the king's government ministers, but did not cost him popularity among the citizens of Bavaria. The king enjoyed traveling in the Bavarian countryside and chatting with farmers and laborers he met along the way. He also delighted in rewarding those who were hospitable to him during his travels with lavish gifts. He is still remembered in Bavaria as Unser Kini, which means "our cherished king" in the Bavarian dialect.

Ludwig also used his personal fortune (supplemented annually from 1873 by 270,000 marks from the Welfenfonds[18]) to fund the construction of a series of elaborate castles. In 1867 he visited Viollet-le-Duc's work at Pierrefonds, and the Palace of Versailles in France, as well as the Wartburg near Eisenach in Thuringia, which largely influenced the style of their construction. In his letters, Ludwig marveled at how the French had magnificently built up and glorified their culture (e.g., architecture, art, and music) and how miserably lacking Bavaria was in comparison. It became his dream to accomplish the same for Bavaria. These projects provided employment for many hundreds of local labourers and artisans and brought a considerable flow of money to the relatively poor regions where his castles were built. Figures for the total costs between 1869 and 1886 for the building and equipping of each castle were published in 1968: Schloß Neuschwanstein 6,180,047 marks; Schloß Linderhof 8,460,937 marks (a large portion being expended on the Venus Grotto); Schloß Herrenchiemsee (from 1873) 16,579,674 marks[19] In order to give an equivalent for the era, the British Pound sterling, being the monetary hegemon of the time, had a fixed exchange rate (based on the gold standard) at £1 = 20.43 Goldmarks.

In 1868, Ludwig commissioned the first drawings for two of his buildings. The first was Schloss Neuschwanstein, or "New Swan on the Rock castle", a dramatic Romanesque fortress with soaring fairy-tale towers situated on an Alpine crag above Ludwig's childhood home, Castle Hohenschwangau (approximately, "High Swan Region"). Hohenschwangau was a medieval knights' castle which his parents had purchased. Ludwig reputedly had spied the location and conceived of building a castle there while still a boy. The second was Herrenchiemsee, a replica of the palace at Versailles, France, which was sited on the "Herren" Island in the middle of Lake Chiemsee, and was built as a monument to Ludwig's admiration for Louis XIV, the magnificent "Sun King." Only the central portion of the palace was built; all construction halted on the king's death. Herrenchiemsee comprises 8,366 square feet, a "copy in miniature" compared with Versailles' 551,112 ft². The following year, Ludwig finished the construction of the royal apartment in the Residenz Palace in Munich, to which he had added an opulent conservatory or winter garden on the palace roof. It was started in 1867 as quite a small structure, but after extensions in 1868 and 1871, the dimensions reached 69.5mx17.2mx9.5m high. It featured an ornamental lake complete with skiff, a painted panorama of the Himalayas as a backdrop, an Indian fisher-hut of bamboo, a Moorish kiosk, and an exotic tent. The roof was a technically advanced metal and glass construction. The winter garden was closed in June 1886, partly dismantled the following year and demolished in 1897.[20][21]

  

An 1890s photochrom print of Schloss Neuschwanstein.

In 1869, Ludwig oversaw the laying of the cornerstone for Schloss Neuschwanstein on a breathtaking mountaintop site. The walls of Neuschwanstein are decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the legends used in Wagner's operas, including "Tannhäuser," "Tristan and Isolde," "Lohengrin," "Parsifal," and the somewhat less than mystic Meistersinger.[22]

After plans for a monumental festival theatre for Wagner's opera in Munich were thwarted by Court opposition, he supported the construction in 1872-76 of the Festspielhaus in the town of Bayreuth, and attended the dress rehearsal and third public performance of the complete Ring Cycle in 1876. In 1878, construction was completed on Ludwig’s Schloss Linderhof, an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo style, with handsome formal gardens. The grounds contained a Venus grotto lit by electricity, where Ludwig was rowed in a boat shaped like a shell. After seeing the Bayreuth performances Ludwig had built in the forest near Linderhof Hunding's Hut (Hundinghütte) (based on the stage set of the first act of Wagner's Die Walküre) complete with an artificial tree and a sword embedded in it. In Die Walküre, Siegfried's father Siegmund, pulls the sword from the tree. Hunding's Hut was destroyed in 1945 but a replica was constructed at Linderhof in 1990. In 1877 a small hermitage (Einsiedlei des Gurnemanz) as in the third act of Wagner's Parsifal was erected near Hunding's Hut, with a meadow of spring flowers, where the king would retire to read. (A replica made in 2000 can now be seen in the park at Linderhof.) Nearby a Moroccan House, purchased at the Paris World Fair in 1878, was erected alongside the mountain road. Sold in 1891 and taken to Oberammergau it was purchased by the government in 1980 and re-erected in the park at Linderhof after extensive restoration. Inside the palace, iconography reflected Ludwig's fascination with the absolutist government of Ancien Régime France. Ludwig saw himself as the "Moon King", a romantic shadow of the earlier "Sun King", Louis XIV of France. From Linderhof, Ludwig enjoyed moonlit sleigh rides in an elaborate eighteenth-century sleigh, complete with footmen in eighteenth century livery. Also in 1878, construction began on his Versailles-derived Herrenchiemsee.

In the 1880s, Ludwig’s plans proceeded undeterred. He planned construction of a new castle on Falkenstein ("Falcon Rock") near Pfronten in the Allgäu (a place he knew well: a diary entry for 16 October 1867 reads "Falkenstein wild, romantic"[23]) The first design was a sketch by Christian Jank in 1883 "very much like the Townhall of Liege" (Kreisel 1954, p. 82). Subsequent designs showed a modest villa with a square tower (Dollmann 1884) and a small Gothic castle (Schultze 1884, Hofmann 1886).[24] a Byzantine palace in the Graswangtal and a Chinese summer palace by the Plansee in Tyrol. By 1885, a road and water supply had been provided at Falkenstein but the old ruins remained untouched;[25] the other projects never got beyond initial plans.

 

Although the king had paid for his pet projects out of his own funds and not the state coffers,[26] that did not necessarily spare Bavaria from financial fallout. By 1885, the king was 14 million marks in debt, had borrowed heavily from his family, and rather than economizing, as his financial ministers advised him, he undertook new opulence and new designs without pause. He demanded that loans be sought from all of Europe's royalty, and remained aloof from matters of state. Feeling harassed and irritated by his ministers, he considered dismissing the entire cabinet and replacing them with fresh faces. The cabinet decided to act first.

Seeking a cause to depose Ludwig by constitutional means, the rebelling ministers decided on the rationale that he was mentally ill, and unable to rule. They asked Ludwig's uncle, Prince Luitpold, to step into the royal vacancy once Ludwig was deposed. Luitpold agreed, so long as the conspirators produced reliable proof that the king was in fact helplessly insane.

Between January and March 1886, the conspirators assembled the Ärztliches Gutachten or Medical Report, on Ludwig's fitness to rule. Most of the details in the report were compiled by Count von Holnstein, who was disillusioned with Ludwig and actively sought his downfall. Holnstein used his high rank and bribery to extract a long list of complaints, accounts, and gossip about Ludwig from among the king's servants. The litany of supposed bizarre behavior included his pathological shyness, his avoidance of state business, his complex and expensive flights of fancy, dining out of doors in cold weather and wearing heavy overcoats in summer, sloppy and childish table manners; dispatching servants on lengthy and expensive voyages to research architectural details in foreign lands; and abusive, violent threats to his servants.

While some of these accusations may have been accurate[citation needed], exactly which, and to what degree, may never be known. The conspirators approached the Imperial Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who doubted the report's veracity, calling it "rakings from the King's wastepaper-basket and cupboards."[27] Bismarck commented after reading the Report that "the Ministers wish to sacrifice the King, otherwise they have no chance of saving themselves," and suggested that the matter be brought before the Bavarian Diet and discussed in a session of Parliament, but did not stop the ministers from carrying out their plan.[28]

In early June, the report was finalized and signed by a panel of four psychiatrists: Dr. Bernhard von Gudden, chief of the Munich Asylum; Dr. Hubert von Grashey (who was Gudden's son-in-law); and their colleagues, a Dr. Hagen and a Dr. Hubrich. The report declared in its final sentences that the king suffered from paranoia, and concluded, "Suffering from such a disorder, freedom of action can no longer be allowed and Your Majesty is declared incapable of ruling, which incapacity will be not only for a year's duration, but for the length of Your Majesty's life." The men had never met the king except Gudden, once, twelve years earlier, nor examined him.

 

At 4 a.m. on 10 June 1886, a government commission including Holnstein and von Gudden arrived at Neuschwanstein to formally deliver the document of deposition to the king and place him in custody. Tipped off an hour or two earlier by a faithful servant, his coachman Fritz Osterholzer, Ludwig ordered the local police to protect him, and the commissioners were turned back at the castle gate at gun-point. In an especially famous sideshow, the commissioners were attacked by 47-year-old local Baroness Spera von Truchseß,[29] who flailed at the men with her umbrella and then rushed to the king’s apartments to identify the conspirators. Ludwig then had the commissioners arrested, but after holding them captive for several hours, had them released.

That same day, the Government publicly proclaimed Luitpold as Prince Regent. The king’s friends and allies urged him to flee, or to show himself in Munich and thus regain the support of the people. Ludwig hesitated, instead issuing a statement, allegedly drafted by his aide-de-camp Count Alfred Dürckheim, which was published by a Bamberg newspaper on 11 June:

The Prince Luitpold intends, against my will, to ascend to the Regency of my land, and my erstwhile ministry has, through false allegations regarding the state of my health, deceived my beloved people, and is preparing to commit acts of high treason. [...] I call upon every loyal Bavarian to rally around my loyal supporters to thwart the planned treason against the King and the fatherland.

The government succeeded in suppressing the statement by seizing most copies of the newspaper and handbills. Anton Sailer's pictorial biography of the King prints a photograph of this rare document. (The authenticity of the Royal Proclamation is doubted however, as it is dated 9 June, before the Commission arrived, it uses "I" instead of the royal "We" and there are orthographic errors.) As the king dithered, his support waned. Peasants who rallied to his cause were dispersed, and the police who guarded his castle were replaced by a police detachment of 36 men who sealed off all entrances to the castle.

Eventually the king decided he would try to escape, but it was too late. In the early hours of 12 June, a second commission arrived. The King was seized just after midnight and at 4 a.m. taken to a waiting carriage. He had asked Dr. Gudden, "How can you declare me insane? After all, you have never seen or examined me before." only to be told that "it was unnecessary; the documentary evidence [servants' tittle-tattle] is very copious and completely substantiated. It is overwhelming." [30] Ludwig was transported to Castle Berg on the shores of Lake Starnberg, south of Munich.

 

On 13 June 1886, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig asked Gudden to accompany him on a walk through the Schloß Berg parkland along the shore of Lake Starnberg. Gudden agreed; the walk may even have been his suggestion, and he told the aides not to accompany them. His words were ambiguous (Es darf kein Pfleger mitgehen, "There is no need for attendants to go with [us]") and whether they were meant to follow at a discreet distance is not clear. The two men were last seen at about 6:30 p.m.; they were due back at eight but never returned. After searches were made for more than three hours by the entire castle personnel in a gale with heavy rain, at 11:30 p.m. that night, the bodies of both the King and von Gudden were found, head and shoulders above the shallow water near the shore. The King's watch had stopped at 6:54. Gendarmes patrolling the park had heard and seen nothing.

Ludwig's death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, but the official autopsy report indicated that no water was found in his lungs.[31][32] Ludwig was a very strong swimmer in his youth, the water was approximately waist-deep where his body was found, and he had expressed suicidal feelings during the crisis.[31][33] Gudden's body showed blows to the head and neck and signs of strangulation, leading to the suspicion that he was strangled by Ludwig.

 

Many hold that Ludwig was murdered by his enemies while attempting to escape from Berg. One account suggests that the king was shot.[31] The King's personal fisherman, Jakob Lidl (1864–1933), stated, "Three years after the king's death I was made to swear an oath that I would never say certain things — not to my wife, not on my deathbed, and not to any priest ... The state has undertaken to look after my family if anything should happen to me in either peace time or war." Lidl kept his oath, at least orally, but left behind notes which were found after his death. According to Lidl, he had hidden behind bushes with his boat, waiting to meet the king, in order to row him out into the lake, where loyalists were waiting to help him escape. "As the king stepped up to his boat and put one foot in it, a shot rang out from the bank, apparently killing him on the spot, for the king fell across the bow of the boat."[31][34] However, the autopsy report indicates no scars or wounds found on the body of the dead king; on the other hand, many years later Countess Josephine von Wrba-Kaunitz would show her afternoon tea guests a grey Loden coat with two bullet holes in the back, asserting it was the one Ludwig was wearing.[35] Another theory suggests that Ludwig died of natural causes (such as a heart attack or stroke) brought on by the extreme cold (12°C) of the lake during an escape attempt.[31]

Ludwig’s remains were dressed in the regalia of the Order of Saint Hubert, and lay in state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace. In his right hand he held a posy of white jasmine picked for him by his cousin the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.[36] After an elaborate funeral on 19 June 1886, Ludwig's remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich. His heart, however, does not lie with the rest of his body. Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Mercy) in Altötting, where it was placed beside those of his father and grandfather.

Three years after his death, a small memorial chapel was built overlooking the site and a cross erected in the lake. A remembrance ceremony is held there each year on 13 June.

The King was succeeded by his brother Otto, but since Otto was genuinely incapacitated by mental illness, the king's uncle Luitpold remained regent.

 

Otto

Prince Otto was born on 27 April 1848, two months premature, in the Munich Residenz. His parents were King Maximilian II of Bavaria and Marie of Prussia. His uncle King Otto I of Greece served as his godfather.

Otto had an older brother, the Crown Prince Ludwig. The brothers spent most of their childhood with their teachers at Hohenschwangau Castle. Between 1853 and 1863, they spent their summer holidays at the Royal Villa in Berchtesgaden, which had been specially built for their father[1][2]

Prince Otto served in the Bavarian army from 1863. He was appointed sub-lieutenant on 27 April 1863 and admitted to the Cadet Corps on 1 March 1864. On 26 May 1864, he was promoted to full lieutenant.

On 10 March 1864, his father died and Ludwig succeeded as King of Bavaria. Between 18 June and 15 July 1864, the two brothers received state visits by the emperors of Austria and Russia. About a year later, Otto showed the first signs of a mental disorder. Otto was promoted to Captain on 27 April 1866 and entered active military service in the Royal Bavarian Infantry Guards. In 1868, he became a member of the Order of St. George, the house order of the House of Wittelsbach. He participated in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and as colonel in the Franco-German War of 1870-1871. When Wilhelm I was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles, Prince Otto and his uncle Luitpold represented Ludwig, who refused to participate.[3][4] Otto then criticized the celebration as ostentatious and heartless in a letter to his brother.

In general, Otto had a cordial relation with his brother, which showed when they undertook things together. For example, they visited the Wartburg together in 1867. In 1868, Otto received the Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception, the house order of the House of Wittelsbach. In 1869, he joined the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, on the initiative of Cardinal Karl-August von Reisach.[5]

Otto's mental condition began to deteriorate rapidly after the end of the Franco-German war. From 1871, he increasingly avoided encounters with strangers. He was placed under medical supervision and reports about his condition made it to the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. He was officially classified as mentally ill in January 1872. From 1873, he was held in isolation in the southern pavilion of Nymphenburg Palace. His attending physician was Dr. Bernhard von Gudden, who was considered a coryphée in the field of mental health care.[citation needed] Dr. von Gudden confirmed Otto's disease in a further report in 1873.

During Corpus Christi Mass 1875 in the Frauenkirche in Munich, there was a sensational incident, when Otto – who had not attended the church service – stormed into the church wearing hunting clothes and fell on his knees before the celebrant, Archbishop Gregor von Scherr, to ask forgiveness for his sins. The High Mass was interrupted and the prince did not resist when he was led away by two church ministers. Otto was then moved to Schleissheim Palace and guarded more carefully. His last public appearance was his presence at the side of his brother at the King's parade on 22 August 1875 at the Marsfeld in Munich. From 1 June 1876, he stayed for a few weeks in the castle at Ludwigsthal in the Bavarian Forest. In the spring of 1880, his condition worsened. From 1883 until his death, he was kept confined under medical supervision in Fürstenried Palace near Munich. This palace had been specially converted for his confinement. King Ludwig II occasionally visited him at night, and ordered no violence be used against Otto.On 10 June 1886, the Bavarian cabinet declared King Ludwig II unable to rule and apppointed his uncle Luitpold as Prince Regent. Ludwig died only three days later, under unexplained circumstances. This meant that Otto became King on 13 June 1886. He was however, unable to rule. The official explanation was that the King is melancholic. The proclamation of his inauguration was read to him at Fürstenried castle the next day, but he failed to understand it, and held his uncle Luitpold for the rightful King.

Luitpold kept his role as Prince Regent until he died in 1912 and was succeeded by his son Ludwig. The constitution of Bavaria was amended on 4 November 1913, to include a clause specifying that if a regency for reasons of incapacity lasted for ten years with no expectation that the King would ever be able to reign, the Regent could proclaim the end of the regency and assume the crown himself.

 

The following day, Otto was deposed by his first cousin, Prince Regent Ludwig, who then assumed the title King Ludwig III. The parliament assented on 6 November, and Ludwig III took the constitutional oath on 8 November. Otto was permitted to retain his title and honours until his death in 1916. During this time Bavaria had two kings.

Otto died unexpectedly on 11 October 1916, due to a volvulus. His remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich. Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Miraculous Image) in Altötting, beside those of his brother, father and grandfather.

 

Both Otto and his brother Ludwig II were reported to be depressed or mentally ill. At the time, psychiatry was still in its infancy and this diagnosis was based on statements made by third parties from which the first psychiatrists formed vague clinical pictures.

On 15 October 1889, the Innsbrucker nachrichten reported this, citing an article in the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten as their source:

King Otto looks very strong, if a little corpulent. He wears a huge beard, which reaches his chest. His beard needs to be trimmed, but this is not possible, because the easily excited monarch vigorously resist such a procedure. The beard could perhaps be trimmed during his sleep, but no one has the courage to try this. His eyes are glazed over as he stares into the distance. Only when the old maid Marie, who would carry him on her arm when he was a young boy, get close to her, he will call her with his sonorous baritone, fairly lively, voice. He will command that some object, for example, a glass of beer, will be brought to him, and then immediately forgets it. The monarch is always dressed in black. He'll walk past other people, as if he would not recognize them. There are strict orders that he is not to be greeted and he may not be addressed when he is walking about. He often stands in a corner, gesturing with his hands and arms while vividly speaking to imaginary people. This alternates with a complete apathy, which may last for hours or days on end.

 

His Majesty smokes cigarettes with a passion, usually 30 to 36 per day. He uses a large number of matches, as he always lights a whole bundle of matches at once and, after use, throws away the still burning bundle with visible pleasure.

 

The daily routine of the patient is arranged in painful detail. His Majesty will sit at the head of the dinner table, with a larger space between himself and the aides, the doctor and the chamberlain. The King likes to eat drink. He mostly drinks beer and sometimes orders, in a sharp, commanding voice, some sparkling wine. King Otto wants to be ignored completely by the other people on the table, and he ignores them. If the King orders some food, a special hand signal from his doctor means that it must be brought to him immediately. The King is allowed to use his knife and fork normally. However, he will use his suit as a napkin.

 

The King lives in an elegantly furnished apartment on the ground floor, while his servants live on the first floor. His bedroom is equipped with every from of modern comfort. The King uses toilet articles regularly, but he rarely takes a bath in his magnificent bath cabin, his aides finding it difficult to persuade him to do so.

 

King Otto is extremely sensitive to closed doors. The doors are not provided with peepholes. All doors on the ground floor remain open during the day, including the doors to the garden. If the King finds a closed door, he falls into a rage and bangs his fists on it. Iron bars have been fitted to the windows looking out onto the street, after His Majesty had broken some of the windows.

 

His Majesty thoroughly dislikes driving. His resentment is attributed to the fact that when he is out on the street, curious passers by will stare at him, which he finds very painful. If the King has to leave his apartment, the coach must wait at the rear of the castle. One time, the King was staring dreamingly into the air and missed the footboard. He became angry, jumped back and shouted "I'm not going". Reports that the King was longing for his beloved Munich and has repeatedly expressed a desire to visit the capital, are definitely false. He has never expressed such a request.

 

The King sometimes looks into the available newspapers. Our informant was unable to be sure whether His Majesty is able to read and comprehend their contents.

 

The King's entourage are constantly trying to entertain him. Last spring, they put a small music box in his room. The monarch listened and was amazed at the gentle music. A glimmer of joy flitted across his face. One of the five nurses immediately reported this sentiment to the physician on duty. He reported to the chamberlain, who quickly purchased a larger music box for 5000 marks. However, the King did not like the larger instrument and after a while began to be disgusted by it. The instrument had to be removed.

 

His entourage has evidence that the patient recognizes the people surrounding him, and in a lucid moment, he has even greeted some of them. Little can be said about his future: he may be granted a long life, or his disturbed mind may cause a sudden loss of strength.