Essex is located in the East of England. The county town is Chelmsford. The name Essex derives from the 'East Seaxe' (East Saxons).
The county coastline begins in the Thames Estuary going round to the eastern coastline and the North Sea, stretching over 300 miles in total. The coastline contains a high number of estuaries and coastal villages, mudflats, sand and shingle banks, beaches, sea walls and marshes. It's tranquil coastal landscapes support many types of bird and wild life. The Stour and Orwell estuaries have in fact been designated as European Marine Sites, giving protection to certain bird species and habitats. Some areas of the coast such as Colne, Blackwater, and Dengie Peninsula have been designated Special Protection Areas.
The Essex Marshes are dotted along the Essex coast from the River Thames to Harwich and the River Stour. Marshes of coastal interest include the RSPB Environment and Education Centre at Rainham Marshes in Purfleet, the marshes at Tollesbury, and at Mersea Island with it's mud flats home to many wading birds.
Coastal towns in Essex include Clacton On Sea and Southend with it's famous Pier.