Walton-on-the-Naze Things to Do

  • 0ld Lifeboat house & lifeboat...
    0ld Lifeboat house & lifeboat...
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  • Things to Do
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Most Recent Things to Do in Walton-on-the-Naze

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    Bathhouse Meadow & Columbine Centre...

    by arturowan Written Nov 21, 2014

    Walton's Bathhouse Meadow lies alongside the main road, which is the isthmus that connects the town to the Naze, via Marine Parade...
    0n this site is a playing field, childrens' playground, public swimming baths, & the Columbine Centre - the area is used for the annual town car show (see separate tip...)
    The Columbine Centre can be hired for private functions, such as weddings & jumble sales...
    The Columbine Centre is named in memory of Private Herbert Columbine, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, for still fighting the enemy while greatly outnumbered, during 1916
    As well as the centre being named after this fallen hero, there is a statue of him on the seafront, & a bust in the town's War Cemetery (see separate tip...)

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    Bird life...

    by arturowan Written Apr 3, 2014

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    Like any seaside resort, Walton has its fair share of feathered friends, & if you spend any amount of time there, you'll notice how differently each species behave & makes its home in a niche in the seaside environment...
    Turnstones usually flock together on the beach, moving up the shoreline as the tide arrives, but they will gather along the seawall if they sense food is available...
    Gulls are the best known seaside bird, but for the 'anorak' there is much more to gulls, as there are several main species, & amongst these, appearance differs between first, second, & third year of life...
    Gulls are adapt at surviving in all sorts of environments, & many flocks fly inland when ploughing is happening, or become full-time raiders of landfill sites...
    It is a common sight in the Walton town area, if you are an early riser, to find the black refuse bags put out the night previous for collection, ripped to shreds & any food debris picked clean by the gulls...
    In many ways, gulls are rats-with-wings, because not only do they congregate around human waste, they positively thrive by digesting it!
    Also, if you've ever had a close encounter with an aged rat, you'll notice they have a look in their eyes of sheer defiance, & the same is true of seagulls - those who have survived their harsh, extreme environment of cold & wet, are not to be intimidated, & will often sit upon a sea wall staring back at you!
    I must admit I admire these birds - they are survivors & have amazing senses for detecting food, however humans might attempt to conceal it from their beaks!
    The older Herring Gulls grow into large birds & have obvious personality, with sparkly eyes that reflect how clever they are at getting what they need to get by...
    0ther species to look out for are Cormorants, Little Terns, & at times of migration, Geese or Swans...

    Gulls - sentinels of the seaside... Where there's food, there's gulls! A Turnstone on the foreshore...
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    • Birdwatching
    • Beaches
    • Budget Travel

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    Red sails in the sunrise...

    by arturowan Updated Apr 3, 2014

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    Walton is an east coast resort, so any day of the year, you can watch the sun rise over the waves...
    It's a great way to start the day, & very often the best part of the day, especially in wet, gloomy weather, when often this is the only opportunity to see the sun at all...
    0n a clear day, even in midwinter, there is something special about the promise of that approaching crimson arc that is the rising sun, just appearing on the horizon...
    In fact, the darkest months of the year are perhaps the best time to watch the sunrise here, because at times of full moon, it's possible to have the western horizon as bright as the eastern, if the moon has not set before the sun arrives - a truly magical time of day, & an experience never forgotten...
    The benefit of sunrise watching in Walton, as opposed to Dovercourt on the opposite side of the bay, where there isn't a single seafront shelter, is that you can do this satdown, & in all but a full-on easterly gale, not have to suffer the worst that seaside weather typically throws at you...
    However, if the weather is clement, it makes sense to walk up to the Naze & receive a clifftop panorama of the dawn sky, flushing with warm colours...
    If you're lucky, a Thames barge might sail past at this time, as they are prone to do, & you will see the canvas sails, treated with red oakum, glowing translucent crimsom...
    Thames barges were the HGV's of a century ago, shifting huge amounts of cargo from point A>B
    How times change, so that these commercial vessels are now regarded romantically, & even a symbol of bygone times & a slower pace of living...
    A truly perfect sight these vessels are at any time of day, but most especially sunrise...

    Walton pier Thames barge (& Walton lifeboat & RAF Wattisham) Thames barge in full sail...
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Birdwatching
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Wattisham Air Sea Rescue...

    by arturowan Updated Mar 18, 2014

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    If you like the sight & sound of big, noisy helicopters, then don't miss the Wattisham Air Sea Rescue, B Flight, 22 Squadron, when they come to Walton-on-the-Naze, in order to practice...
    This is a weekly event, & sometimes the helicopters just hover out to sea, dangling the man on the winch over the waves, but during holiday time, they create a spectacle by flying up to the cliffs & practising as close as the pilot dares go to the rocky crag...
    If you stand aside the clifftop, you can actually look DOWN into the rotors, & make eye contact with the air crew!
    B Flight, Air Sea Rescue, are an elite force, & if you're at the Naze when they arrive, you can see for yourself the skill & daring at work behind Wattisham's 2 Sea King Mk111 big, yellow choppers...
    22 Squadron are the best of the brave & have saved many lives in conjunction with the RNLI - I wouldn't want to be in a boat or a helicopter, in galeforce winds & driving rain, but these rescuers make it their duty...

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Beaches
    • Budget Travel

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    The Naze Tower...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 26, 2014

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    The Tower atop the cliffs at the headland that represents The Naze, is the iconic structure of Walton, clearly visible as faraway as Harwich & Felixstowe...
    0n exceptionally clear days, from the top of the tower, it's possible to see as far north as 0rford Ness, & as far south as the coast of Kent...
    Built in 1720 by Trinity House, to replace an earlier wooden beacon, the octagonal redbrick tower was an early lighthouse, but with a fire beacon on the crenellated roof, instead of a reflective lamp...
    It's design is the only surviving lighthouse of its type, although unfortunately, the old beacon is long gone, because the tower has served different observational & navigational purposes over the centuries...
    As well as being an obvious navigational mark in itself, the 86' tower saw service as an observation platform during Napoleonic times of conflict, had a huge radar dish attached to the top during WWII, & even during the Cold War, was used in conjunction with experiments at 0rford Ness, into early warning radar...
    0riginally built a quarter mile inland, the tower's current precarious closeness to the ever collapsing red crag cliffs, is testament to what is often said about the British authorities attitude to coastal erosion;
    I.e; If the Netherlands had the same policy as does Britain, their country would no longer exist...
    After a period of dereliction & threatened with structural subsidence, not only of the building, but the cliff edge on which it stands, the Tower is now open to the public, its 8 rooms housing a local history museum, art galleries, & a tearoom...
    The tearoom has an intriguing history, originally having been opened by Richard Rigby - more typically associated with nearby, River Stour quay-town, Mistley, which he planned to makeover into a fashionable spa resort...
    His proud plans went flat with the bursting of the South Sea Bubble investment scam, which, when exposed as such, cost him his fortune, & the funds to redevelop Mistley...
    It transpired, that not only was Rigby a social-climbing scammer, with friends in high places (English parliament)
    he was also a casual pimp, because the actual reason for opening the tearoom, was as a meeting place for his friends in The City, where they were free from their wives, so able to entertain women of ill repute...
    However, corruption of politicians & their supporters, is not the real reason to visit the Naze tower!Weather conditions permitting, the main incentive to climb the spiral staircase inside the tower, to the top viewing platform, will be for the seagull's eye, panoramic view of Walton backwaters & Hamford Water, while out to sea can be seen the arrays of wind turbines, serving both Clacton & Felixstowe...

    0pening times; 10:00 - 17:00 daily, during March until end of 0ctober
    Admission - £2.50

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Classic Car Show...

    by arturowan Updated Jan 2, 2014

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    A regular event that happens every year in Walton, is the Classic Car Show, held in the first week of July on the Bath House Meadow...
    The range of vehicles on display ranges from vintage to classic, as well as some militaria, & unique custom jobs, such as hot rod Ford Pops...
    The lovingly looked after cars of the pre-war era are my favourite, but you never know what might turn up, & last year there was an immaculately restored, London Fire Brigade engine...
    As well as the cars & a few bikes on show, there are amusements on site & a car boot sale...
    The show culminates in a parade of the cars on site, along the sea front - well worth the spectator value, if you happen to be in town at the time...

    Related to:
    • Motorcycle
    • Road Trip
    • Beaches

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    Walton Maritime Museum...

    by arturowan Updated Dec 18, 2013

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    Walton Maritime Museum is housed in the town's original lifeboat house, built in 1884
    The original redbrick structure with barn doors facing the seafront, had to be extended at the rear in 1899 so as to accommodate a longer lifeboat, necessitating a new building be constructed at the end of Walton Pier, where the lifeboat has been launched from since 1900
    The James Stevens #14, which was the vessel longer than the old lifeboat shed, now stands outside the museum, while The City 0f Leicester is an exhibit inside...
    To see these lifeboats today, which are actually no more than oversized rowboats, with drains in the hull to allow floodwater to escape, you have to wonder at the courage of the men who went out to sea in them, often in galeforce conditions, with no protection against the elements but for oilskins & sowesters...
    Bravery above any call of duty; as lifeboat crews are volunteers...
    The museum displays lifeboat history pertinent to Walton, as well as other local curiosities, including a shell & fossil collection from the Naze cliffs...
    The extension behind the building, which was once converted into a public convenience, is now a humidity & temperature controlled repository, for museum artefacts...
    0pening times - daily, 14:00-16:00 1st July - 30th September, & Easter & Spring Bank Holidays
    Admission = £1

    Coasguard HQ & Maritime Museum... 0ld Lifeboat house & lifeboat... 0riginal crew...
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Crag Walk...

    by arturowan Updated Oct 18, 2013

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    The 100m long, Crag Walk was officially opened in 2011
    It's purpose was to prevent the loss of the iconic Naze Tower into the sea, as might have already happened by now, owing to the extent of coastal erosion in the area...
    Indeed, the original settlement of Walton, was actually atop the cliffs, but all is now underwater - the original church not having been seen since a freak low tide in the 1930's...
    As can be seen from the Crag Walk, both pillboxes that were built atop the cliffs in WWII have already fallen onto the beach, & are submerged at each high tide, yet their original concrete defences, stubbornly stand up to the sea...
    Information about the history of the area during wartime, as well as that going back to prehistoric times, &issues of coastal erosion, is presented along the walkway upon public presentation panels...
    The actual walk is based upon 4ton rocks, layered at the base of the cliff, in order to absorb wave energy, while allowing some percolation of tidal water through the barrier...
    Although the structure should prevent the loss of the clifftop which forms the foundation for the Naze Tower, it's a case of 'too little too late', in order to save the rest of the Naze, simply because it's too short...
    The Crag Walk, in many ways, only serves to demonstrate the observation that; 'if the Dutch government had the same attitude to sea defences as does the British, their country would no longer exist'...
    What the future will be for the Naze since the construction of the Crag Walk, will be, remains to be seen, but the structure will cause uneven erosion at the cliff base, to the extent, that The Tower will eventually be threatened from the sea, from a direction 90degrees around to the east, from where it was being eroded...

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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    Walking the cliffs at Walton on the Naze

    by PeterVancouver Updated May 2, 2012

    Walking the cliffs from the Naze Tower, either at the top or at the bottom, along the beach is a great walk

    The top is an ideal place for flying kites whereas the beach has much more historic interest in that it is clear that there are at least two levels of material that make up the sandy cliff which makes them very prone to errosion. In fact the cliff is dissapearing into the sea at a massive two meter per year and there is talk of how the Naze tower can be protected before it too falls into the sea.

    Although possibly not legal and certainly is unwise, the soft material in the face of the cliffs hold an enourmous amout of fosils in them both of sea, plant and animals from up to 50 million years ago including sharks teeth which are fairly often found in the cliffs. With this errosian some fosils can be found after a cliff fall of new material but even then you have to be aware that this is a perilous area.

    Many people have viewed the tower from outside but recently it has been opened for the general public to enter and climb the stairs to the top for an excellent view of the surrounding countryside including the backwaters of walton. The fee in 2012 is two Pounds

    Naze Tower
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    • Family Travel

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    The Pier.

    by planxty Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Like any self-respecting English seaside town, Walton has a pier, but not just any old pier. There's a lot of history surrounding this one. One of the earliest in the country, dating from 1830 when it was used for the passage of goods and passengers, it was nearly wrecked in the 1890's by severe weather. A replacement was called for and duly built and stands now (due to changing shorelines) a monumental 2600 feet, making it the third longest in the country. As at Clacton (see separate tips), the pier was ravaged again by the weather in the late 1970's but is now, again, restored.

    What it is restored to is an amusement arcade, with all the normal attractions including a tenpin bowling alley and, surprisingly, a half-decent bar.

    There isn't too much to do in Walton, so you might as well visit this rather pleasant old place.

    Pier, Walton on the Naze, Essex, England. Pier, Walton on the Naze, Essex, England.
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    • Family Travel
    • Theme Park Trips

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    This is where it happened.

    by planxty Written Jul 16, 2007

    As I mentioned in my intro page to Walton, I had only ever been here once before, to paly at the Walton Folk Festival (and a great gig it was!) so it was with more than a touch of nostalgia that I returned to the"scene of the crime", namely the Marine Bar.

    I must admit, I don't remember a whole lot about the first visit, but what I found on my recent return was a very pleasant pub with friendly staff. Nothing flash, but a nice place for a pint.

    Marine pub, Walton on the Naze, Essex, England.
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