The Heybridge Basin, locatedĀ at enough of a distance from Heybridge itself to be considered its own village at times, is a riverside area most notable for the beginning (or end) of the Chelmer-Blackwater canal. There is a sea lock at the basin where the river most associated with the Essex capital of Chelmsford (Chelmer) is taken over downstream by the Blackwater Estuary, which is associated with Maldon and the north of the Dengie Peninsula.

heybridge_basin_chelmer-blackwaterConstructed in 1796 by digging out of the marsh areas of the riverside, the main purpose of the basin was to serve as a place for cargo ships to dock and load their stock onto smaller barges bound for Chelmsford through a tighter river upstream, a practice which eventually died out in 1972.

Now, the basin is used primarily for recreational purposes, with tourists able to navigate the waters themselves with a boat hire or a leisure cruise.

For visitors not having the time, money, or sea legs to ride a boat or simply walk up the canal, though, there is the option of relaxing and watching the basin from some of the nearby pubs and restaurants (The Old Ship Inn and The Jolly Sailor), and a tea room called The Lock which is run by another local institution, the Tiptree Preserve.

Though they probably have to market themselves on being the thing that visitors stay for, as the scenery is what will bring most to the area in the first place…