Free as a bird

Went for a walk with the 70-300mm on. This was unusuyal to say the least as this lens rarely sees the light of day when there are no football matches to shoot.
Having acquired an upgrade to the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 (which hopefully arrives today) I thought it would be good to have an outing with a longer lens than usual. It wasn’t a photographic outing, more of a dog walk (with kids) along the bank of the River Blackwater from Waterside Holiday Park to the Stone Inn whereupon it seemed necessary to stop for a refreshing and very pleasant Shandy whilst taking in the view.http://www.davefrost.co.uk/wordpress/wp-admin/post-new.php

Free as a bird

The River Blackwater is a river in England. It rises in the northwest of Essex as the River Pant and flows to Bocking, near Braintree, from where its name changes to the Blackwater. Its course takes it near Stisted, and then via Bradwell Juxta Coggeshall and Coggeshall and near Witham where it is joined by the River Brain. Passing Maldon it reaches the North Sea at West Mersea. The River Chelmer (which is a canal at that point) meets the River Blackwater near Langford. Some of the water flows over Beeleigh weir and some flows down the canal. At Heybridge flood water from the canal flows over a weir at the site of the old Heybridge mill and down the original course of the Blackwater (now known as Heybridge Creek) before passing through a sluice gate into the tidal Blackwater Estuary at Maldon. One of the most famous Viking battles in Britain, the Battle of Maldon, took place directly beside the river in 991. The Vikings were successful in battle against the Anglo-Saxons, claiming victory in this Dark Age battle.

The Blackwater was a source of fish and oysters for the town of Maldon during the Roman occupation. The remains of Saxon fish traps were discovered in the river in the 1990s.
During the winter of 1776 the Blackwater froze from Maldon to Osea island, a distance of some four miles. The ice trapped fishing and cargo carrying vessels and blocked any imports of coal, oil, wool to Maldon.
In 1793 the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Company was formed by act of Parliament. Over the next four years, the company built a navigation from Chelmsford to meet the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater in Colliers Reach at the place that’s today called Heybridge Basin (after the canal basin there).
The burgers of the borough of Maldon refused to allow the canal to pass through their borough, so the company routed it just outside the borough boundary, which is why it ended up at Colliers Reach, rather than at Maldon. From Chelmsford, the navigation mainly followed the course of the River Chelmer until it reached Beeleigh, near Maldon. Then it followed the course of the River Blackwater to Heybridge, and from there via a canal to the sea lock at Colliers Reach.
A weir connected the navigation to the tidal river Blackwater at Heybridge, where it powered a water mill. Heybridge mill was demolished after severe flooding in this area in 1953, but the mill house still stands. The river itself (now known as Heybridge Creek here) was dammed between Heybridge Hall and Potman marsh in 1954 as part of a programme of flood defence improvements. Most of the water flowing down the River Blackwater nowadays flows over a weir at Beeleigh and along the tidal section of the Chelmer before rejoining the Blackwater just below the Hythe at Maldon.

Bradwell On Sea

Bradwell Sunrise

After being awake for a goodly portion of the night due to the mammoth thunderstorm and bucket sized raindrops hammering the roof of the caravan for a few hours, I went for a rather early morning stroll to see what was happening.
On reflection, I probably should have used the tripod that was in the boot of the car, althought the clouds weren’t quite as dramatic as I would have expected (or hoped). I also learned that the sun actually rises a lot earlier than 4 o’clock.

This shot, is taken looking across the River Blackwater from St Lawrence, towards the two towers of the de-commissioned Bradwell-on-sea nuclear power station.

Bradwell-on-Sea is a village in Essex, England. It is located about 9 km (5 miles) north-northeast of Southminster and is 30 km (19 miles) east from the county town of Chelmsford. The village is in the district of Maldon and will be in the new parliamentary constituency of Maldon. It has a population of 877.

It was a Saxon Shore fort in Roman times known as Othona. The Anglo-Saxons originally called it Ithancester. Saint Cedd founded a monastery within the old walls in 653, which survives as the restored chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall. From there, he evangelised Essex. In the 20th century, the village became more well known as the site for the Bradwell nuclear power station. It also has a very good sailing club and outdoor leisure facilities

The village has been called Bradwell juxta Mare, Bradwell-next-the-Sea and Bradwell near the Sea.

Celebrated Residents include Thomas Abel, Sir Henry Bate Dudley and Tom Driberg

During World War Two Bradwell Bay Airfield was a front line air base.

The village is on the Dengie peninsula.

Old Leigh Sunset – A Wintery Essex Afternoon

Old Leigh Sunset, Essex

Leigh-on-Sea was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Legra, where it is described as a "one horse town". Located next to the sea, Leigh has been primarily a fishing village for most of its history. However, its sheltered position at the mouth of the Thames gave it some success as a port, with international trade and a shipbuilding business.

Due to its good position on the shipping route to London, it began to grow and by the 16th century had become a fairly large and prosperous port. Ships of up to 340 tons are recorded as being built in Leigh including many that would have been built for the local fishing fleets. With its location at the mouth of the Thames, Leigh was often used by the navy against threats from pirates and the French, Spanish and Dutch Navies.

By the 18th century ships had become larger and trade changed. At this time Leigh’s deep water channel silted up and the importance of the town diminished. It then gradually reverted to a fishing village, supplying the London market by road and barge. When the London to Tilbury railway was extended to Southend in 1856, this split the village in two and many of its timber-framed buildings were demolished

The Mayflower is believed to have docked at Leigh-on-Sea to take on provisions and passengers before its epic voyage to the new world with the Pilgrim Fathers

The fishermen of Leigh are famous for their heroic attempts to rescue British soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. A memorial in St Clements churchyard stands as a reminder of their bravery and sacrifice.

The arrival of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway in 1854 spurred the town’s development, allowing greater trade with London and the rest of the world, and making it a commuter town for London workers. Leigh-on-Sea railway station is run and served solely by c2c.
In recent years, Leigh-on-Sea has become home to an increasing number of upmarket bars and restaurants such as The Estuary. Cafés such as laid back, hippie-esque The Squeeze who use only organic produce, art galleries and hairdressers also adorn the towns surroundings. Popular hairdressers include Staffords owned by Lee Stafford and Srangeways owned by Ade from the Channel 4 show The Salon. Leigh is also home to a wide range of shops, from clothes and shoe shops selling the latest fashions to more expensive additions such as Bang & Olufsen and Connections who provide the furniture for another channel 4 show, Big Brother. Leigh also has a strict no nightclub policy in an effort to preserve the towns heritage

Old Leigh

Leigh-on-Sea boasts London’s nearest beach, and many visitors travel down at the weekend to the conservation area of Old Leigh with its cobbled streets and clapboard cottages. The area is notable for its shellfish, and there is a small but active fleet of cockle boats, which keep alive the reputation of Leigh as the epicentre of the world cockling trade. The picturesque cockle sheds are home to many old Leigh families who have followed this trade for generations.

Osborne Bros specialises in producing and supplying quality shellfish and fish to individuals and trade customers around the world. Their café is housed in the heart of the Old Town in an 18th century stable mews which was used to house horses and carriages delivering ale to the local public house – The Crooked Billet. The cockle sheds and smoke house are located along Cockle Shed row, which remains largely unchanged since being built in the 19th century.

Image Copyright Dave Frost – www.davefrost.co.uk

Hadleigh Castle, Essex

The construction of Hadleigh castle began during the reign of King Henry III in 1230 for Hubert de Burgh – 1st Earl of Kent and Chief Justiciar of England, but the castle was requisitioned in 1232 by Henry after Hubert was imprisoned.

The castle was built of Kentish ragstone and cemented by a mortar containing a large proportion of seashells; particularly cockleshells from the cockle beds of neighbouring Canvey Island. As a royal property it was heavily extended in the 1360s by Edward III and it is mainly these extensions that remain. The castle and its adjoining 500-acre (2.0 km2) park formed part of the dower of several English queens in the 15th and 16th centuries, including Elizabeth Woodville (wife of Edward IV) and three of the wives of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Parr. Edward VI sold it in 1551 for £700 to Lord Rich of Leez Priory in Chelmsford who used the castle as a source of stone for other buildings such as churches. The castle later passed from the possession of Lord Rich to the Barnard family.

Years of neglect and the effects of land subsidence had left the castle in ruins by the 17th century, but two towers constructed in the era of Edward III still remain. One of the three-storey towers at the eastern side built from rubble with ashlar dressings stands to nearly full height and has narrow rectangular windows in the upper levels. The second tower has not fared as well, appearing to have partially disintegrated in a landslip and consequently has lost approximately two-thirds of its form. Some sections of the curtain exist, the foundations of the great hall, two solars, and the kitchen remain. There is also a barbican which once stood adjacent to a swing-bridge.

Hadleigh Castle

Image Copyright Dave Frost – www.davefrost.co.uk