Saturday, 17 October 2015

River Crouch, Essex (Frambridge to Burnham-on-Crouch)

A long but very easy peaceful walk along one of those wide creeks that pierce the Essex Coastline. Not the most dramatic or varied of walks but very pleasing with nice views, clusters of boats, estuarine birds and at the end the picturesque town of Burnham-on-crouch. The perfect walk to catch up with a friend you haven’t seen for ages.

How to get there
This walk is at my upper travel limit of 1½  hours. I traveled from Harringay Station, first grabbing my first coffee and cinnamon buns for later from the newish But First Coffee, the other side of Harringay Station on Quernmore Road, both were excellent.  You travel to Stratford Station then take a train to North Frambridge (changing at Wickford). You return from Burham-on-Crouch, 2 stations down the line. 

The Walk
The walk is on the Dengie peninsula and is around 10 miles long. 

Location of walk in Essex (© Google Map)
Walking person marks the walk (from Essex 

Fambridge - Burnham Ordnance Survey Route Map
North Frambridge to Burnham-on-Crouch (from Essex

I found this walk on the brilliant Essex Walks website, with downloadable maps and directions far better than you’ll get here. Silvermud covering one person's walks around the Essex Coast has interesting historical titbits about this walk. 

You turn left out of the station and down a road lined with houses, each within its own plot and backed by fields.  Houses I imagine many Londoners hanker after in their dreams of a country life.  

As the road bears to the right you carry on straight down an unmade lane to Blue House Farm nature reserve, managed by Essex Wildlife Trust. The barn in front is home to 3 families of barn owls. Sadly the webcam wasn’t working when we visited.

To the right of the barn the footpath carries on. 

Looking back to Blue House Farm Frambridge 

The ditch before the sea wall 

Through a field of sheep and then up to the sea wall and suddenly you can revel in being out of London bathed in big skies, breathing pure air with long vistas back to a small flotilla of boats marking Frambridge and in the other direction the watery highway stretching out to the sea.
River Crouch looking back to Frambridge

The rest of the walk is pretty much all along this sea wall as it winds its way along the course of the River Crouch, Bridgemarsh Creek and then back alongside the River Crouch again.

Bridgemarsh Creek, with rows of  wooden posts running into the water, how old and what for I wonder.

Bridgemarsh Creek with yacht  in distance

A Jetty at Althorne mid point on the walk, complete with bench out of view for a perfect picnic or coffee stop

Who wouldn't want this shed near Creeksea?

Looking back to Althorne

Baltic Wharf on Wallasea Island. 


Across the water from Creeksea you see Baltic Wharf on Wallasea Island built in the 1920s. A liner service apparently operates between Latvia and Estonia and there are regular shipments from Sweden, bringing mainly timber and steel. 

Burham comes into view and it's around Burham Marina and then into town. There has been human activity and settlement in this area since neolithic times, there is evidence of Roman enclosures, it was close to Viking battles and in Medieval times the town expanded with fishing a major source of income. During the London plague in 1665 sailors from Burnham and Bradwell were the only people prepared to ferry grain into the capital. They were rewarded by an exemption from duty when landing grain for ever. The oyster beds in the area were expanded in the 1700s employing large numbers. In 1898 Burnham was connected to the rail network and  became a popular yachting centre, leading to boat building and sail making. 

Burnham in the distance with the Marina to the left. 

Boats at the head of Burnham Marina 

The riverfront is a mix of aged weather beaten corrugated iron workshops and very attractive modest Georgian houses and inns. It’s certainly worth continuing along the whole esplanade before you head up to the station. 

1930s Cinema still open at Burnham

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