Category Archives: Essex

Martello towers update

The East Coast Martello Towers post has now been updated with our latest research, which makes it the most complete and up to date general reference on the east coast towers that you will find on the internet! We also collaborated with professional photographer Ian Giles, and many thanks to him for negotiating the necessary permissions and travelling up to Essex and Suffolk to photograph all of the remaining towers.

We now have two Martello towers featured posts:

Both posts feature a google map showing the locations of the towers, and photography of all the towers (still have a few gaps on the South Coast article which will be filled soon…).

Martello Towers of the East Coast

The East Coast towers were built around the same time as the South Coast towers starting in 1809. The South Coast towers were built to prevent Napolean’s armies reaching London from the south, and similarly the East Coast towers were intended to prevent the French from reaching London from the East and North. The East Coast lacks the large chalk cliffs of the South Coast and so the flat lands would have made a good alternative landing place for Napolean’s planned invasion despite the longer sea journey, especially if the low countries could have been used for the launch of the invasion.

The East Coast towers were built larger and more heavily armed than the South Coast towers, as a defence against the larger ships that the French might have used if they had chosen the East Coast as the invasion point. In addition to the towers, there were the pre-existing gun batteries, and there were plans to block the entrances to the rivers Blackwater, Colne and Orwell with barges. Continue reading

Wallasea Island to be transformed with Crossrail waste material

The RSPB’s Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is likely to go ahead after an agreement has been reached between the RSPB and Crossrail to use material excavated while digging the cross-London rail link to create the huge wildlife reserve.

Subject to a planning application made by the RSPB to Essex County Council, the project will create 150 hectares of mudflats, 190 hectares of saltmarsh, 75 hectares of shallow saltwater lagoons, and an additional raised area of saltmarsh in anticipation of future sea level rises. About eight miles of coastal walks and cycle routes will also be created as part of the scheme.

The saltmarshes, and mudflats will attract rare coastal birds such as spoonbills and black winged stilts, and potentially even Kentish plovers not seen in the UK for over 50 years.

Graham Wynne, Chief Executive of the RSPB, is quoted by Wildlife Extra:
“This is a fantastic agreement that one year ago, we could never have imagined. Wallasea will be the RSPB’s most ambitious and innovative habitat recreation scheme. It will create a huge new area for birds and other wildlife whose existing habitats are being damaged and lost because of climate change. This is a ground-breaking deal between one of the UK’s leading enterprises and an environmental charity. It is absolutely wonderful news for wildlife.”

Crossrail main works should begin in 2010, with tunnel boring starting in 2011. The RSPB’s work on Wallasea is expected to take between five and ten years.

Source: Wildlife Extra