Top 5 things to see and do on Blackwater...
The Blackwater estuary stretches between the historic market town of Maldon and Mersea Island on the Essex coast. The estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to saltmarshes, mudflats and islands which provide a haven for wildlife. Thanks to the estuary, and its spectacular scenery, the area has become very popular with holiday makers and day trippers. Here’s our guide on what to see and do on the Blackwater…
By barge, boat, jet ski or paddle board!
The Blackwater estuary is best admired on the water. Here you can opt for a sail on a traditional Thames barge from Maldon’s Hythe Quay with Top Sail. There’s only a few Thames barges left, and it really is a chance in a lifetime to set sail on these magnificent red-ochre sailed ships. Many tours include brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or sunset cruises.
A leisurely sail by your own steam is very popular and there’s many areas along the estuary for visitors to launch their own craft. Visitors to Osea can use our own launching areas, which are also suitable for those opting for motor boats, jet skis or even paddle boards!
Enjoy an oyster! And visit an Island
Oysters have been harvested from the estuary for more than a thousand years. Today the most well-known place to enjoy an Oyster is on Mersea Island. Here you can cross the Strood, the old Roman causeway to the island, and visit The Company Shed. The shed will serve you up the freshest native oysters and you’ll also be able to bring your own wine to swish it all down!
Or, if you’re a nature lover Northey Island is a must. The island is owned by the National Trust and can only be accessed by appointment only. The island is just a short stroll across the causeway at low tide and is also home to the oldest battlefield in Britain.
The saltmarshes and mudflats are a haven for migrating birds along the Blackwater. Here avocets, Brent geese, godwits, terns, plovers, shelducks, dunlins, redshanks and hen harriers can be spotted.
The Essex Wildlife Trust has been running a ground-breaking scheme to support the natural saltmarsh landscape. Abbotts Farm is a 700-acre coastal farm situated on the Blackwater estuary. Visitors can enjoy a fantastic wildlife packed walk and find out more how to farm commercially and for wildlife.
Visit Tiptree Tea Room
No visit to Essex would be complete without a trip to a Tiptree Tea Room. Within the grounds of Osea Leisure Park is The View River Café, which is the 10th ‘Tiptree’ venue and enjoys amazing views over the Blackwater.
At the River Café you can treat yourself to special ‘Tiptree’ cream teas and a wide range of delicious patisserie cakes and snacks. The River Café is situated upon the seawall and offers the best views from any café in Essex.