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Retrieving dog keeping a watchful eye

Wildfowling on the Blackwater


Keeping traditions alive.

Wildfowling on the Blackwater

The tradition of wildfowling on the Blackwater estuary in Essex is centuries old. Local people have long hunted or trapped migratory birds there for food or for sport, and at one time the district supported many professional wildfowlers who shot ducks and geese in the winter for the market. 


In the 1950s growing problems with poaching led to the setting up of wildfowling clubs, and the Blackwater Wildfowlers Association was formed in 1960. Today's wildfowlers hunt purely for the enjoyment provided by a challenging and difficult sport, conducted in wild and remote surroundings. They enjoy the full support of local farmers, landowners and nature conservation agencies.

Coastal Heritage

The Blackwater estuary is an internationally important site for migratory wildfowl. Each winter it attracts thousands of ducks, geese and waders from beyond the Arctic circle to its rich feeding and roosting grounds; eight key wildfowl sites on the Blackwater and Crouch estuaries in Essex. It manages habitats such as ponds and marshes to benefit wildfowl, rears and releases mallard on to unshot reserve areas to supplement the wild population and provides additional feeding during periods of severe weather. Club members maintain bridges and access routes across the marshes and collect and dispose of litter.

Walter Linnet, Wildfowler who lived at St Peters Chapel Bradwell

Walter Linnet, a wilfowler who lived in Linnet Bungalow close to St Peters Church, Bradwell. Photo credit - John Tarlton

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