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Monday, 4 April 2011

Walk 27 Lee-over-Sands to Clacton-on-Sea

Walk 27    Lee-over-Sands to Clacton-on-Sea (Essex)

(First leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs in Kent to Berwick at the border with Scotland).

Map: L/R 168
Distance: about 7 miles
Difficulty: easy, flat
Terrain: roads and paths some of which can be muddy
Access: Parking near St Osyth Beach and in Clacton (you may be able to park in Lee over Sands, I did not try the narrow looking roads that go down there).
Public transport: Tricky. Trains and buses run from Clacton to Colchester and surrounding areas. Buses – the 17 and 18 go from Clacton through to St Osyth every hour Monday to Saturday. If you are going by bus you will need to navigate the paths across St. Osyth Marsh to Lee-over-Sands.

There is little or no access to the beach between Brightlingsea and Lee-over Sands.

If you have parked at St Osyth Beach walk westwards to Lee-over-Sands and back to St Osyth Beach. Apart from two old pill boxes it is mainly a flat, featureless landscape around the coast here and at nearby Colne Point. However, the walk has its own peaceful remoteness to enjoy.

At St Osyth Beach a caravan site and pub are both near to the sea wall. There is also a nearby naturist beach. Ositha (one of a few spellings) was a daughter of a King of the Angles who was beheaded by invading Danes in the seventh century. Legend suggests that she carried her head back to the church where she is buried in the main village of St Oysth. Talks of ghostly apparitions abound! The walk is paved from here and leads to Jaywick.

Jaywick was originally built as a cheap holiday village but became a residential town as people remained in the area. The west part has caravans and the first of a few Martello Towers built in the 19th century to defy Napoleons invasion threats. One of the towers further along has been renovated into a heritage and cultural centre. The area has some pleasant, sandy beaches. To the eastern side of Jaywick there is a variety of chalet style bungalows facing the beach; some of these were in good condition but others were burnt out or derelict. I have since heard, that in March this year, East Jaywick was named as the most deprived area in England (this is probably further inland rather than at the sea front). In 1953, 35 people were killed in the floods. The film of Starter for Ten, was partly based in Jaywick.

Continue the walk to Clacton-on-Sea and the pier. This still retains the trappings associated with the old style resort with the usual amusements etc. The golden flat sands are broken up by groynes.

Snaps show: Lee over Sands and Colne Point; Osyth Beach; Martello Tower; Jaywick; two of walk into Clacton with chalets and further Martello Tower. 

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