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West Mersea Sign

Sep 2020

Estuary island connected to the Essex mainland by the Strood, or a floodable causeway if you'd rather.

West Mersea Sign

There are two sides to the four square miles of Mer-zea Island, east and west, naturally. Access to either is via the Strood, an old word for a causeway and, get this, it floods, yoinks!

The Strood causeway flooded at spring tide

Not in a Holy Island  kind of way, mind, so you'll only have to check the tide tables when the moon's in a bad mood. Not that this scaredy-cat knew at the time so, yes, the tide tables were checked.

East Mersea's attractions are largely of the scenic variety with a  country park leading to the island's best beach, not seen or shown, and winkle and worm-eating waders on the muddy flats, mainly.

Path from beach up and over seawall, East Mersea

It also has a big car park but that's still far too busy so it's a bit of a shame and straight back out to head west past the caravans to, well, West Mersea.

At least four, fairly-big caravan parks looking south out over the estuary, actually. It's reassuringly old-skool and many in these parts aren't tempted to jet off to Torremolinos with  Thomson™s like everybody else has been doing since the '70s.

West Mersea is where most of the island's inhabitants live with all of the normal trappings that downtown brings.

Mersea Island - High Street St Peter & St Paul, West Mersea

Parts of St Peter and St Paul's Church are purportedly Roman but who'd have time for that? There's a right whiff of ozone in the air now, at least there's a whiff of something.

Carry on down Coast Road where the beach is serviceable and there's an even better bit a little way back where you can hang out in a hut.

Mersea Island - Beach Mersea Island - Mud

Either way, you might want to put off that plodge until the tide's fully in to mask the fact that's Blackwater Estuary mud underfoot, and in your nostrils.

 
Victory at Mersea (Coast Road)

The fleshpots of West Mersea are in complete contrast to the east and by fleshpots, it's meant an ice-cream van and people enjoying a socially-distanced sup at the tables of the Victory.

'A Great Place to Sink a Few', even during you-know-what, but the full extent of that won't be felt here, again, for a few more months with a different type of Trafalgar back on most hostelries' horizon.

The mud is part of the deal in this part of Essex so any serious bathers will be found elsewhere. The car parks, however, are still packed, making for a doable destination for day-trippers from Colchester.

Them and sailing sorts too, and while the  scene's not quite up there with Burnham's, their houseboats definitely are.

Mersea Island - River Blackwater Mersea Island - River Blackwater Mersea Island - Houseboats

Parking up in town makes for a gentle amble back up through the pleasantly residential before braving the causeway despite having checked the tides.

If only there was some other way off, a ferry, say? A ferry across the Mersea, eh?

Well, there isn't and if there was you will find that would be a ferry across the Blackwater and Colne incorporating North Geedon Creek and the Pyefleet Channel.

Now, there's a  song that's never getting sung on the terraces, eh?