My work on bioregional thinking for the Atlantic Archipelago began with Managed Retreat a magazine considering the English orient which includes work relating to the Dengie. You can read Issue 1 below:
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When it comes to catastrophic flooding in Essex 1953 tends to get all the coverage, but the inundation of 1897 was equally noteworthy – after breaches in the sea walls 30-35,000 acres of farmland were underwater. Eventually most of that land was re-claimed, but a stretch of the north bank of the Crouch, near North Fambridge, still reveals an area that was lost. Known locally as the horseshoes (not to be confused with the Three Horsehoes on Burnham Road) these artificial bays reflect the fall back defensive line that eventually became the de facto border between land and water when the original sea wall could not be rebuilt with the labour and resources available, The Google aerial view reveals something of the lost wall and lines of wooden stakes are visible at low tide marking where it would have been. Continue reading “Desk Research: Two Horseshoes”→
Mixed-bag of weather today that made walking far undesirable, especially after yesterday’s puddlicious Southend trip. Burnham’s little library has a small local history/topography collection with enough in it to hold one’s attention quite a while – including a copy of the book of the great Chapman/André 1777 map of Essex.
Another map has captured my imagination more recently however, the one above taken from A Popular History of the Dengie Hundred by M.J. Ayres, R.J. Blaney & T.J. Wood. This mapis a highly speculative rendering of how the Dengie might have looked in a period for which we have no good contemporary rendering. I’m attracted by the suggestion of woodland on the higher ground, as it gives some impression of what might have been lost locally (only 2% of Essex is covered by ancient, semi-natural woodland, Essex is the second least wooded county in England – and Maldon district has only 3% woodland cover of any kind), and because it visualizes a suggestion made by P.H. Reaney as to the etymology of the name Dengie itself: Continue reading “Desk Research: Dengie Woodland”→
A trip out to meet Graham Burnett at home in Westcliff-on-Sea. Travelled by train BoC to Wickford on the branch, then down the mainline to Southend Victoria. A little exploration around rainbound Southend before going on to Graham’s. I made the regular pilgrimage down the High Street to look out over the Thames Estuary from Pier Hill, then returned north via Southend library. Continue reading “Ultra Dengie: Southend-on-Sea”→
From the cafe on the upper storey of the Antiques Centre in the old mill at Battlesbridge a view of the River Crouch. Battlesbridge is the head of the River Crouch navigation, the upper reach of the tidal zone and site of the most easterly bridge over the river. Geographically Battlesbridge sits at the south west corner of the Dengie peninsula.
An afternoon bracer: off the train at North Fambridge at 15.10 then south down at Fambridge Road. At the turn to The Avenue I instead took the footpath (PROW 256_10) along Blue House Farm Chase towards Blue House Farm. Instead of proceeding directly to the sea wall by the continuing public footpath (PROW 256_13) I took the permissive path east across Blue House Farm land. This initially dragged me north easterly along a raised bund, higher than the wet fields and fleets.