More about Mersea

Mersea Island is England's most easterly inhabited island. It sits on the Essex Coast where the River Colne meets the River Blackwater, facing out to the North Sea but well sheltered by offshore sandbanks.

West Mersea has been a yachting centre for many years, its sheltered creeks providing quiet comfortable moorings. For more years the island has also been involved in oystering and fishing - trades which still thrive. It is an area of saltings and mudflats that attract large bird populations. Over the years it has attracted more than its share of artists.

The main boating centre is based on West Mersea Hard at the western end of the island. There is no marina - moorings are in the surrounding creeks. There is a public causeway, accessible to small boats at all states of the tide, and all services are nearby.

West Mersea is the main centre of population - the village centre is about 10 minutes walk from the Hard. It has a population of about 7,000 rising a great deal in the summer months. The village has churches, pubs, restaurants, shops, chemist, doctors, dentists, hair dressers, a museum, Post Office, petrol station, garages and a regular bus service to Colchester.

East Mersea, at the eastern end of the island, has a population of 250, one pub, a church, a shop, a vineyard and a restaurant. There is a ferry in the summer months from East Mersea Stone to Brightlingsea.

Mersea Island is connected to the mainland by the Strood - the B1025 road. Spring tides cover the road and it can be closed for two hours on a good tide. Consult the tide table if travelling around midday or in the afternoon. Colchester is about 9 miles, north on the B1025. London is a little over 50 miles away - regular trains from Colchester.

Local events are many. The August boating programme includes Cadet Week, Mersea Week, the rowing race round Cobmarsh Island, the Round the Island race for small boats round Mersea Island (which has to cross the road) and the programme culminates in West Mersea Town Regatta. Traditional sail is strong on the Blackwater and Colne. An Oyster Dredging Match is held in September with about 20 smacks, bawleys and bumkins dredging under sail for Native Oysters.

View from the Causeway, West Mersea

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