Harwich - Parkeston - Dovercourt - Essex Way - Harwich

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Harwich still retains something of the atmosphere and many features of a mediaeval seafaring town. Several well-known Elizabethan figures (Hawkins, Frobisher and Drake) sailed from here on various expeditions. After visiting Harwich Elizabeth I described it as "a pretty place and wants for nothing".

The founder of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 sailed from Harwich. It was his home town, as it was for Christopher Jones, master of the Mayflower. He sailed to America with the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620 and you pass his house towards the end of your walk. King Charles also sailed from Harwich and Samuel Pepys was often there in his capacity as MP for the town.

At that time Harwich was an important naval dockyard and many famous fighting ships were built here. You pass the wharf where the shipbuilding took place and can view the names and dates of these vessels. Nelson and Lady Hamilton are said to have stayed at the Three Cups and you pass this as well as The Redoubt - a fortress built to defend the port against invasion by Napoleon; a tread wheel crane, which would have been operated by sailors or dockhands walking, like modern day hamsters, inside it; the Guildhall; the Electric Palace Cinema - one of the earliest in the country; the Ha'penny Pier; and several museums, including one for radio and television. This latter is housed in the "High Lighthouse".

The lighthouse in question is one of four you pass on your walk with a particular historic and linguistic association. They are all "Leading Lights", so called because that was the purpose for which they were built. In each case there is a "high" and "low" lighthouse and ships helmsmen had to align the lights one above the other to be sure of steering a safe course into port. Their architecture is unique. They remain intact, though their function became redundant when first the buoys were set in place, - and of course more recently by the use of radar. There is still, however a need for buoys and lightships and you will see a number of these at the important Trinity House Depot you pass. You may even see some being loaded or unloaded on one of the two large Trinity House ships based in Harwich, the Mermaid and the Patricia.

Finally, it may be of interest to know that the TV series "Hi-de-Hi" was made at the former Warners Holiday Camp, the site of which you pass on your way back into Harwich along the seafront at Dovercourt.

England - East England - Essex - Coast

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Castle, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Museum, Play Area, Pub, River, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets
15/10/2019 - Sid Marks

Re-walked after 6 years and enjoyed this walk again. It's actually 9 miles in total,not 8 as stated.There are some updates which are not mentioned on my previous comments,which are,at Waymark 6,the path which stays parallel with the railway actually brings you out on to a road.Here you cross the road and enter some woodland,with the river on your right, follow the path straight ahead for 100m.Ignore all turn offs.This brings you out to the grass space at waymark 9 which you cross half left to arrive at 103 Dockfield Road.Waymark 7 and 8 are not in use on this walk anymore. At Waymark 9,the disused factory has now gone,being replaced with new houses.At waymark 13,after starting on the broad track,the directions stated are wrong.When you reach a T junction,with the North Sea ahead.turn right.You then arrive at another T.junction.Go straight ahead on the left hand side of a field with a hedge on the left.You soon arrive at waymark 15.

31/03/2013 - Sid Marks

A lovely walk,with plenty to see.Was very cold on the last stretch by the sea,but was well worth it to see some great views. A few updates,which are : At waymark 2, dont turn left into George Street otherwise you will end up back at he station,just carry on walking down The quay to pass Trinity House depot at waymark 3. At waymark 4,the Anchor Inn has been demolished. At waymark 11,when you pass the school,you carry straight on,not right as stated. At waymark 12,it is at least 200 yards to the broad track after the houses on the left,not 40 yards as stated,also the 40mph sign has now gone. At waymark 15,the path on the left is after the decaying oak,not before as stated. At waymark 18,you bear right with the sea wall,not left as stated