Chalkwell

Back in February the boys and i had an early morning walk along the shore at Chalkwell, just outside Southend-on-Sea, as we hadn’t been there for a while. The wind was blowing and the sky was overcast grey as we parked up shortly after first light, but adverse weather doesn’t detract us from enjoying our walks. Up and over the sea defence and across the concrete prom and then down onto the beach we went, and it was a lot windier than i originally thought.

Roadway to Leigh sands
Looking back along the roadway towards Chalkwell

The tide was slowly on the way in so we had a time to have a little walk below the low water line and have a wee scout around to see what might be found. Walking along the old sunken road which leads out to the deeper channel that runs into Old Leigh i found a good few different species of shellfish including a few small oysters, cockles, winkles and mussels. I did find a small broken section of a clay pipe probably thrown overboard by a sailor many moons ago.

CHALKWELL ‘CROWSTONE’
CROWSTONE PLAQUE

A couple hundred yards Southend way stands a large stone pillar with a beautifully aged plaque fixed to it. This pillar is known as the Crowstone and the plaque upon it reads:

PORT OF LONDON AUTHORITY

THIS BOUNDARY STONE KNOWN AS THE CROWSTONE, WAS ERECTED INN 1837 TO MARK THE SEAWARD LIMIT ATH THAT TIME OF THE CITY OF LONDOS JURIDICTION OVER THE RIVER THAMES.

BESIDE IT STOOD A SMALLER STONE ERECTED BY THE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON ON 25TH AUGUST 1755, WHICH WAS REMOVED TO PRIORY PARK, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, IN THE YEAR 1950

FLOREAT . IMPERII . PORTUS

After admiring the CROWSTONE and wondering how its managed to stay in place for all these years considering the tide, weather and constantly shifting mud we strolled back towards the shore as the tide was now starting to run harder, and its very easy to get overtaken by the tide along this stretch of the coastline. A quick game of chase the stones in a nearby saltwater pool/lagoon for the boys and back tooth van we went. Wet, muddy and ready for breakfast we drove of towards home.

PAGLESHAM

DERELICT
RUSTING AWAY

Just thought i’d share a couple of photographs i took a while ago whilst out for a walk. Both pictures were taken at Paglesham on the River Roach and show some rusting old fishing machinery from what used to be the local shell fish industry there. Just out of shot on the marsh shore is a fenced off area with 4, i think, dug out pools in the marshland. I believe these were used to cultivate/hold the shellfish caught by the fisherman. I’ve seen more of these rectangular depressions, most of them have silted up and don’t fill with water now, in a few other places along the River Crouch banks as well as the the Roach. Interesting history around these areas which i will endeavour to look further into once i get some more time.

Spring has sprung

So i,m sitting here in my office suffering from a mild case of cabin fever due to the UK being on lockdown whilst the Coronavirus is raging through the country, in fact the world, and I,ve been looking through some of the multitude of pictures I’ve taken on my phone over the past couple of weeks whilst out walking the dogs. I have to admit that my iPhone does take an exceptionally good picture for just a phone and it also has a very good editing suite on it too. I,m not really one for editing my photos but i,m learning more with each picture i take, i only edit to help enhance the picture quality and rely more on the natural light and good composition than anything else. One of my favourite things to take a photo of is fresh young shoots, buds and flowers of our various fauna as it wakes from its winter sleep when the temperature starts to rise and the sun finally starts to warm everything. I have quite a few pictures so i,m going to post up a few of my favourites here to hopefully put a little smile on your faces thinking of the warmer days to come.

The above images are from different Hawthorn bushes in different locations and show how they can vary considerably.

The first 2 bushes are from alongside a local estuarine river, you can just see the water in the back of one of the pictures, and these bushes are quite short and fairly spindly, my guess being that they are only small because of the harsh conditions along the river. They produce quite a few crisp white flowers though and have exceptionally long and pointed spikes hiding among the blossom.

The third and fifth pictures are of the same bush, or rather tree, and are from a large country park near me. The tree they are on is pretty large and is covered in these beautiful white flowers and there’s a good few other similar trees in the park. These flowers have a slight yellowish hue to them when you look closely.

The fourth picture is of a large bush version of Hawthorn which is located in the same country park but is only half the size of the previous and has more flowers on it. If you look closely the blossoms have a slight pink tinge to them, similar to a ornamental cherry which i thought it might be before searching on the internet.

All three of these may be different ‘Thorn’ species but after searching the web they all look to be Hawthorn. There is also a Whitethorn bush as well as a Blackthorn bush which flowers later than the Haw and it is this bush that gives us the sloe berry, much sort after for infusing in gin and vodka, something i am planning on doing later on in the year.

HAWTHORN BERRIES

Once pollinated the flowers turn into bright red berries known as ‘Haws’. The young leaves, flower buds and young flowers are all edible and can be added to salads where as the haws can be eaten raw, but may cause mild stomach upset, but are usually cooked and made into jellies and sauces.

I hope this little bit of information about the Hawthorn was of interest to you while we are all locked away indoors while this virus runs its course across the country.

Stay safe out there……..

THE SKIES ON FIRE

SKY ON FIRE

About a month ago i was up early, as per usual, and had chucked the boys in the back of the van just as the sun was starting to rise. Our destination was only a few miles up the road at a point on my local tidal river where i can access the bank and take a nice long walk along the waters edge and watch the wildfowl at this time of year. We started our walk along a concrete access road then up onto a pathway on top of the flood bank turning left as i have done many times before. A few hundreds along this path is a small scrubby bush and for some reason when i reach this point i like to turn around and look back along the path as its quite a lovely view across the river from here. Reaching the bush i turned round and what a beautiful sight i was greeted with.

SKY ON FIRE
SKY ON FIRE
SKY ALIGHT
SKY ALIGHT

The attached pictures really don’t do much justice as to how beautiful the sky actually was. I stood and watched this spectacle for a fair old while before realising that i could make a small video recording of this stunning sky.

After admiring this gorgeous natural lightshow i continued to walk along the riverbank happy with what i had just witnessed that morning…….

ESSEX PILLBOX

On one of my local walks there is a disused PILLBOX sited on the marshland and fortunately this one has not had the doorway blocked in so earlier this year i decided to have a little walk round the inside of it with my camera. I’ve included a link to the video on my Youtube channel below so head on over there for a watch and don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ and ‘SUBSCRIBE’ to my channel.

Now for those that don’t know what a Pillbox actually is here is a brief explanation of why they were built.

They were built in the ww1-2 as small fortified structures, made of steel re-enforced concrete to withhold small arms fire, and used as defensive observation posts in various locations around the UK that might be vulnerable to an attack. There are many located around Essex in large fields and along the banks of our tidal rivers and creeks as these were considered to be prime areas for enemy attacks from both air and sea. Entrance into these ‘buildings’ was via a small doorway and once inside the roof was barely inches above your head with the only light being from the small ‘slit’ type openings which were used to observe through and also to shoot through is an enemy was seen. Having been inside one now, usually the doorway would have been bricked up, i can’t imagine what it would of been like in there during the winter period as it was a dark cold place to be.