Technically the primary body of water to adjoin the town of Maldon, the Blackwater Estuary is, as the name would very strongly imply, the estuary of the River Blackwater, the part in which the river (amongst others) feeds into a semi-enclosed body of water that has direct connection to the open sea.

blackwater_estuary_towards_maldonWhile it is probably difficult for even experts in the field to be able to pinpoint exactly where one part of the water ends and another begins, the Blackwater Estuary is nonetheless considered to be the waters that you are in should you get your feet wet from the coast of the town.

Beyond the Dengie Peninsula is the better-known North Sea, with the Blackwater Estuary featuring a number of towns and villages on its coast, including Bradwell Waterside, St Lawrence Bay, Mayland, Heybridge Basin, and West Mersea, whilst also incorporating 3 major islands, in the form of Northey Island, Osea Island, Mersea Island, and Pewet Island. Northey in particular is relevant to the Blackwater Estuary for being the site of the UK’s first-ever experiments into ‘managed retreat’, creating salt marshes by moving seawalls back from previous ‘unsustainable’ positions.

But as the biggest centre of population on that overall area of coast and being furthest from the open sea, it is Maldon that naturally has most association to the Estuary, with long-running historical ties to oyster fishing in the area and the visual remains of Anglo-Saxon fishtraps, but in modern times famed for being the sea from which the Maldon Sea Salt company traditionally excavates their product. In the fields of nature, the Estuary is a specially-protected area that is home to bird breeds such as the ringed plover and the little tern.

Whilst not exactly an area on most tourist’s specific itineraries, the Blackwater Estuary is certainly a key part of Maldon’s history and overall appearance…