Blackwater Estuary

The Blackwater Estuary is the estuary of the River Blackwater between Maldon and West Mersea in Essex. It is a 5,538 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[2][3] An area of 4,395 hectares is also designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance,[4][5] and a Special Protection Area[6][5] 1,099 hectares is a National Nature Reserve.[7][5] Tollesbury Wick and part of Abbotts Hall Farm, both nature reserve managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, are in the SSSI.[8][9][3]

Oysters have been harvested from the estuary for more than a thousand years and there are remains of fish weirs from the Anglo-Saxon era. At the head of the estuary is the town of Maldon, which is a centre of salt production. The other major settlement is the town West Mersea, of Mersea Island, on the northern seaward side. Numerous other villages are on its banks.

Within the estuary is Northey Island which was the location for the first experiments in the UK in 'managed retreat', i.e. creating saltmarsh by setting sea walls back from what are perceived to be unsustainable positions. The area is notable as a breeding area for little tern (Sternula albifrons) and as a transit point for ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula).

Over-wintering species

The Estuary is also the current mooring location for the Ross Revenge, the home of former pirate station Radio Caroline

Blackwater Estuary
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Blackwater Estuary - - 973638
Area of SearchEssex
Grid referenceTL940070
Area5,538.0 hectares
Location mapMagic Map
Official nameBlackwater Estuary
Designated11 March 1992
Reference no.543[1]

See also


  1. ^ "Blackwater Estuary". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Blackwater Estuary citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Map of Blackwater Estuary". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Blackwater Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 4)" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Magic Map". DEFRA. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Blackwater Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 4)". Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Essex's National Nature Reserves". Natural England. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Abbotts Hall Farm". Essex Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Tollesbury Wick". Essex Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 7 September 2016.

External links

Coordinates: 51°43′19″N 0°44′38″E / 51.722°N 0.744°E

Abbotts Hall Farm

Abbotts Hall Farm is a 282 hectare nature reserve in Great Wigborough in Essex. It is the head office of the Essex Wildlife Trust, which manages the site. It is also part of the Blackwater Estuary National Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar site, Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation, It is an important archaeological site, and includes a Scheduled Monument, Great Wigborough henge.This is a working farm which is managed to encourage wildlife. Seawalls have been breached to create marshland, which has many fish, insects, invertebrates and plants which provide food for migrating birds. A new lake has also been constructed, and fields provide additional habitats for fauna such as skylarks.There is access to some areas and footpaths across others.

Bradwell Waterside

Bradwell Waterside is a small hamlet in Essex, England. It is located about 9 km (5.6 mi) north-northeast of Southminster and is 28 km (17 mi) east from the county town of Chelmsford. The hamlet is in the district of Maldon and the parliamentary constituency of Maldon & East Chelmsford. The population of the hamlet is included in the civil parish of Bradwell-on-Sea.

It has a marina and is about a mile north-northwest of Bradwell-on-Sea on the Blackwater Estuary on the northern edge of the Dengie peninsula.

Coastline of the United Kingdom

The coastline of the United Kingdom is formed by a variety of natural features including islands, bays, headlands and peninsulas. It consists of the coastline of the island of Great Britain and the north-east coast of the island of Ireland, as well as a large number of much smaller islands. Much of the coastline is accessible and quite varied in geography and habitats. Large stretches have been designated areas of natural beauty, notably the Jurassic Coast and various stretches referred to as heritage coast.

Great Totham

Great Totham is a large parish village in Maldon district, Essex, England situated midway between Chelmsford and Colchester. The village includes the Island of Osea in the Blackwater estuary and is separated into two parts, north and south. The north side and the south side which are about a mile and a half apart distributed along the B1022.

Heybridge, Maldon

Heybridge is a civil parish and large village, large enough to be a town in the Maldon district of Essex, England. It is adjacent to Maldon, near the River Blackwater. It is often overshadowed by its historic neighbour, and one could mistakenly think it to be the same town, as the two have merged with one another over the years. It has a population of 7,627, increasing to 8,175 at the 2011 Census.Heybridge has a number of residential areas, most recognisable is the newer Bovis housing estates to the west of the town, which were built in 1995. Before building commenced, a full archaeological dig was undertaken and the excavations showed the existence of an important Iron Age settlement and ritual complex, a large Roman settlement and a succeeding Saxon settlement, as well as scattered pre-historic remains. Along the Goldhanger road are situated a number of traditional British holiday campsites, catering for both permanent residents and visitors.

List of estuaries of England

The following is a list of estuaries in England:

Adur Estuary

Alnmouth Estuary

Alt Estuary

Arun Estuary

Avon Estuary

Axe Estuary

Beaulieu River

Blackwater Estuary

Blue Anchor Bay

Blyth Estuary

Breydon Water

Bridgwater Bay

Camel Estuary

Chichester Harbour

Christchurch Harbour

Colne Estuary

Coquet Estuary

Crouch-Roach Estuary

Cuckmere Estuary

Dart Estuary

Deben Estuary

Dee Estuary

Dengie Flats

Duddon Estuary

Eastern Yar

Erme Estuary

Esk Estuary

Exe Estuary

Fal Estuary

Fowey Estuary

Gannel Estuary

Hamford Water

Hayle Estuary

Helford Estuary

Humber Estuary

Inner Solway Estuary

Inner Thames Estuary

Langstone Harbour

Lindisfarne & Budle Bay

Looe Estuary

Lymington Estuary

Maplin Sands

Medina River

Medway Estuary

Mersey Estuary

Morecambe Bay

Newtown River

North Norfolk Estuary

Ore / Alde / Butley Estuary

Orwell Estuary

Otter Estuary

Oulton Broad

Ouse Estuary

Pagham Harbour

Pegwell Bay

Plymouth Sound

Poole Harbour

Portsmouth Harbour

Ribble Estuary

Rother Estuary

Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary

Severn Estuary

Southampton Water

Stour Estuary

Taw-Torridge Estuary

Tees Estuary

Teign Estuary

Thames Estuary

The Fleet and Portland Harbour

The Swale

The Wash

Tweed Estuary

Tyne Estuary

Wansbeck Estuary

Wear Estuary

Western Yar

Wootton Creek

Yealm Estuary

MV Ross Revenge

MV Ross Revenge is a radio ship, the home of Radio Caroline, as well as having supported Radio Monique and various religious broadcasters. She was constructed in Bremerhaven in 1960, and initially served as a commercial trawler as part of the Ross Group fleet, notably taking part in the Cod Wars of the 1970s. Following her decommissioning, she was purchased by Radio Caroline and outfitted as a radio ship, complete with 300-foot (91 m) antenna mast and 50 kW transmitter. Her broadcasts began on 20 August 1983; her final pirate broadcast took place in November 1990. She ran aground on the Goodwin Sands in November 1991, bringing the era of offshore pirate radio in Europe to an end. She was, however, salvaged, and is now maintained by the Caroline Support Group, a group of supporters and enthusiasts.

Maldon, Essex

Maldon (, locally ) is a town and civil parish on the Blackwater estuary in Essex, England. It is the seat of the Maldon District and starting point of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. It is most renowned for Maldon Sea Salt which is produced in the area.

Maldon District

Maldon is a local government district in Essex, England. Its council is based in the town of Maldon, and the next largest centre of population is Burnham-on-Crouch. The district covers the Dengie peninsula as well as an area to the north of the Blackwater Estuary, a total area of 358.78 km².The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. It covered the municipal borough of Maldon and urban district of Burnham-on-Crouch along with Maldon Rural District.

As of 2017, the district had an estimated population of 63,975. The majority of people live in the small rural villages, many of which have their origins in connections with the coast or agricultural economy. Many people know the district from its association with sailing.

Munster Blackwater

The Blackwater or Munster Blackwater (Irish: An Abha Mhór, The Big River) is a river which flows through counties Kerry, Cork, and Waterford in Ireland. It rises in the Mullaghareirk Mountains in County Kerry and then flows in an easterly direction through County Cork, through Mallow and Fermoy. It then enters County Waterford where it flows through Lismore, before abruptly turning south at Cappoquin, and finally draining into the Celtic Sea at Youghal Harbour. In total, the Blackwater is 169 km (105 mi) long.

The total catchment area of the River Blackwater is 3,324 km2.

The long term average flow rate of the River Blackwater is 89.1 Cubic Metres per second (m3/s)The Blackwater is notable for being one of the best salmon fishing rivers in the country. Like many Irish and British rivers, salmon stocks declined in recent years, but the Irish Government banned commercial netting of salmon off the coast of Ireland in November 2006.

Original Sin (James novel)

Original Sin is a 1994 detective novel in the Adam Dalgliesh series by P. D. James. It is set in London, mainly in Wapping in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, and centers on the city's oldest publishing house, Peverell Press, headquartered in a mock-Venetian palace on the River Thames.

River Blackwater, Essex

The River Blackwater is a river in Essex, England.

It rises as the River Pant in the northwest of the county, just east of Saffron Walden, and flows in a generally southeast direction to Bocking, near Braintree, via Great Sampford and Great Bardfield. At Bocking, it becomes the River Blackwater, and veers east to flow past Bradwell Juxta Coggeshall and Coggeshall. It then veers south, flowing past Kelvedon and Witham, before reaching Maldon. There, it veers east again and empties into the Blackwater Estuary, which in turn meets the North Sea at Mersea Island.

The River Blackwater has two major tributaries: the River Brain, which meets it just south of Witham, and the River Chelmer, which meets it just west of Maldon. The lower reaches of the Chelmer, from Chelmsford, were canalised in the 1790s, and the navigation diverts water north of the Blackwater through Maldon before emptying into the Blackwater Estuary at Heybridge Basin.

River Chelmer

The River Chelmer is a river that flows entirely through the county of Essex, England, running 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the north west of the county through Chelmsford to the River Blackwater near Maldon.

SB Wyvenhoe

SB Wyvenhoe is an 83-ton, steel Thames sailing barge. She was built by Forrest & Sons, Wivenhoe in 1898.

She has the Official No. 110012.

St Lawrence, Essex

St Lawrence is a parish in the Maldon district of Essex in the East of England on the Dengie peninsula. The village of St Lawrence Bay, which takes its name from the parish, is situated on the south shore of the Blackwater Estuary, 4 miles (6.5 km) from Southminster and is also known by local residents as “Stone”.

The village contains areas known as Ramsey Island and St Lawrence Bay.

The village has a single access road leading down to the estuary shore and has seen recent expansion and the construction of new housing due to its riverside location and proximity to Southminster railway station, which provides a fast commuter service to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London. Also with bus links via the D1 allowing for access to Bradwell-on-sea and Maldon where other bus links are available.

There are a small number of businesses in the village including two pubs called “The Stone” and "St Lawrence Inn" and a single shop which also provides Post Office services. In the summer the population of the area swells due to tourism, with the presence of Waterside Holiday Park which holds many open days for local residents and its visitors, plus with many second homes the area becomes a retreat for many. The Blackwater Estuary also provides a good location for water sports and there are two clubs which provide facilities on the waterfront; Stone Watersports Club and Stone Sailing Club. In 2012 St Lawrence opened a village hall which hosts various social clubs.

The area also has many more outdoor pursuits from rambling to triathlons and road cycling.

The village is protected from flooding by a sea wall which was reinforced in the nineties due to increased flood risk in the east of England. This provides a footpath along the south bank of the estuary with good views of the surrounding countryside. Also located at intervals along the sea wall are Type 2 pillboxes that were built to defend the estuary during the Second World War.

Steeple, Essex

Steeple is a small village on the Dengie peninsula in Essex. It is situated just east of Maylandsea and Mayland, on the southern side of the River Blackwater estuary.

A hamlet, within the village of Steeple, on the banks of the River Blackwater is called Stansgate.

Viscount Stansgate

Viscount Stansgate, of Stansgate in the County of Essex, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1942 for the Labour politician, former Secretary of State for India and future Secretary of State for Air, William Wedgwood Benn. He was the second son of Sir John Benn, 1st Baronet, of The Old Knoll. Lord Stansgate's eldest son and heir apparent, the Hon. Michael Benn, was later killed in the Second World War; consequently, he was succeeded in the title by his second son, the second Viscount, better known as the Labour politician Tony Benn. The latter disclaimed the peerage on 31 July 1963, the day the Peerage Act 1963 passed into law and made it possible for him to do so. As of 2018, the title is held by Tony Benn's eldest son Stephen as third Viscount. As a descendant of the first Benn Baronet of The Old Knoll, he is also in remainder to this title.

From 1947 to 1957, Viscount Stansgate was President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and played an outstanding role in the transformation of the Union into a truly global organization of parliaments.

Stansgate is a hamlet near the village of Steeple, Essex, on the southern side of the River Blackwater estuary. The village has been home to several generations of the Benn family since about 1900. They live in Stansgate Abbey, described by Chris Mullin as "an ungainly, rambling 1920s house in a stunning location".

West Mersea Yacht Club

West Mersea Yacht Club is a yacht club that has its clubhouse in Coast Road, West Mersea, Mersea Island, Essex.

It is on the estuary of the River Blackwater, 20 minutes by road from Colchester. The Blackwater estuary is a major sailing centre on the English east coast.

Founded in 1899, the club has sponsored national (United Kingdom) and international yacht racing meetings. The club has competitive offshore racing fleets and run racing throughout the UK sailing season, a cadet week and an annual regatta during 'Mersea Week'. Of its many famous members, the most notable was probably Maurice Griffiths, the yacht designer and author.

A club launch runs from Tuesdays to Sundays during the season; callsign on VHF Channel 37: YC1 (Why - See - One).

The WMYC ensign is the Red Ensign defaced with the Essex symbol (3 seaxes).


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