SUP Two Tree Island, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

Two Tree Island has become a firm favourite SUP spot on the Thames Estuary. It’s one of a very few local venues that suits low tide, when you can paddle east down the Ray to Seal Point and beyond to Southend Pier. If it’s windy, just go down the ‘dog-leg’ between the first two bends to tuck out of the wind on flat water. Situated south of Leigh-on-Sea but opposite Canvey Island, at high tide it’s kept relatively sheltered from prevailing south-westerly winds so the water generally stays pretty flat. In light winds you can take on the 6km circumnavigation of Two Tree Island, or in anything from southerly via westerly to northerly head west to Benfleet Yacht Club, Benfleet Station or even Canvey Way and back for an 8km, 10km or 12km loop… A firm SUP Club favourite!

Two Tree’s at its best at slack water – ie; 2 hours around high tide, and two hours around low. On a flooding high tide, paddle west towards Benfleet or cross the channel to investigate ‘The Maze’. Then as the tide turns, paddle east back home. Around low tide, being careful to follow the deep channel and avoiding spring lows below 0.5m, you can paddle east right down the Ray towards the end of Southend Pier. There’s often a colony of seals at ‘Seal Point’ midway down the Ray (a 9km return paddle).

The wind does effect this spot – but not as much as Chalkwell or other more exposed coastal locations, as it is often protected from the worst of the prevailing weather by Canvey Island. Moderate westerly breeze does produce some chop in the deep channel, especially on flood tide, but with plenty of creeks and mudbanks, even when the wind’s blowing there’s usually flat water to be found somewhere. At high tide during summertime, look out for sea breezes as easterly winds and an ebb tide can produce steep chop. Light easterlies suit low tide paddles as you can work out into the breeze and get a helping push back home. Check out our SUP Weather section for the latest…

Although parking is free, in 2017 Southend Council introduced a £4 slipway launch fee for canoes and paddleboards, payable to the Foreshore Officer (who is on duty 10am to 6pm, May to October). Annual permits are £30. There are still virtually no facilities except a fresh water tap at the top of the slipway.

Drive south over the railway at Leigh Station, and follow the road past the skatepark and driving range, then over the bridge to the far car-park. Park near the containers at the top end of the slipway in left-hand corner of the car-park. Postcode: SS9 2GB