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Essex Wildlife Trust: Thameside Nature Park
We regularly advertise various events around the County organised by the Essex Wildlife Trust and recently in an article with Grant Maton he mentioned the opening of the new Visitor Centre at Thameside Nature Park, near Stanford-le-Hope.

As we happened to be in that area recently (August 2012) we decided to drop in to see what it was like. The visitor centre opened on the 1st July this year and the official opening is 15th September. On the day of our visit, the bird life was a little sparse but the view was stunning over the Thames.

Be warned: at the present time if you set your Sat Nav to the postcode above, you will probably turn off  Mucking Wharf Road too early into the industrial area. If you turn into the bottom of that road persevere on over the railway crossing and pass the cottages, through the building complex and on to the somewhat dusty road out to the Visitor Centre (there are vehicle passing points along this road) which you will see on the skyline, about a half mile or so drive. You wouldn’t want to walk this road so take your car out until you arrive at the new Car Park.
The final bit is well made up and there is an adequate car park. The Visitor Centre is a most unusual design at first sight, but is excellent in that the slope that appears outside is a very easy walkway that goes round the outside of the building and take you up to the roof which is a magnificent viewing platform for the surrounding countryside and over the Thames.  
The interior, of course, is very modern and has a seating area for viewing the estuary, a shopping area and drinks facilities, and a study /work area for activities, all very good.  
The very modern design makes provision for an easy ramp walk way around the building up to the roof viewing area, which is essential for your visit to catch the full scope of the views.
Binoculars are a must for scanning the area for wildlife but be prepared for a somewhat ‘industrial’ feel upriver