Mersea Island Circular

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Look at an OS map of the Essex coast and the extent of the sea defence walls will be plain to see. What a mammoth task to construct and maintain. Their necessity was seen in the storms of 1953, when walls were breached and tremendous damage done. Current thinking (to combat rising sea levels) is to encourage salt marshes to re-develop, thus acting as a buffer between sea and wall. Mersea is unique in being England's most easterly inhabited island and there are stretches of desolate, low lying salt marsh, where wading birds and wildfowl gather and oysters have been farmed for centuries. Thames barges, with their red sails, were also a common sight in the 19th Century. A visit to the local museum in the High Street (tel: 01206-385191) provides an insight into the island's history. Today the barges mainly serve as leisure craft. The town of West Mersea is adequately served with shops, pubs and cafes. Indeed, chef Rick Stein recommends The Company Shed (near to start, tel: 01206-382700) for its excellent quality of seafood.

England - East England - Essex - Coast


Birds, Flowers, Food Shop, Nature Trail, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets
25/09/2012 - David and Chris Stewart

Thanks to Chris Pluthero for his new pictures and updates. September 2012. Walkingworld Admin.

24/08/2012 - Chris Pluthero

This is a very different and unusual landscape that made a nice change for someone more used to the hills of the North and South Downs. In late Summer the path on the north side after leaving the road was quite overgrown. On the south side of the island the path is well used and much easier walking, however beware that after the country park the walk is into the prevailing wind. So despite being flat this walk can be quite hard work! Also be aware if using public transport that when the tide is very high some buses will be cancelled as they are unable to cross the causeway to the island. On the day of my visit this was advertised on the bus stop. Waymark 5: The "Danger - causeway breached" sign has now been replaced by one saying to use the alternative path 20m away. The route in the walk is now a fully signed permissive footpath with a bridge having been installed across the ditch.

19/02/2006 - kirstie theobald

We did this walk feb 12th 06 in the wind and rain. Altough we got very wet and very cold it was a really good walk but a bit tricky at times. On the whole very good and it has a fantastic shop that sells fantastic pasties for when you get back - right oppersite the car park mmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

28/11/2005 - Robin Philpott

Did this walk on a clear but cold Sunday in mid-November. Thoroughly enjoyable - not at all strenuous and, and apart from one quite muddy and overgrown stretch of the sea defence wall generally completed on easy terrain. An absolute joy for wading and shoreline birds - particulary in the migration season. We'll be back to do this one in other seasons too.