Walton on the Naze
Walton-on-the-Naze shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Frinton and Walton|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||WALTON ON THE NAZE|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Walton-on-the-Naze is a small town in Essex, England, on the North Sea coast in the Tendring district. It is north of Clacton and south of the port of Harwich. It abuts Frinton-on-Sea to the south, and is part of the parish of Frinton and Walton. It is a resort town, with a permanent population of about 6,000. It attracts many visitors, The Naze being the main attraction. There is also a pier.
The parish was earlier known as Walton-le-Soken. The name 'Walton' is a common one meaning a 'farmstead or village of the Britons', while 'Soken' denotes the soke (an area of special jurisdiction) that included Thorpe, Kirby and Walton.
The Naze is a peninsula north of the town. It is important for migrating birds and has a small nature reserve. The marshes of Hamford Water behind the town are also of ornithological interest, with wintering ducks and brent geese. Many Bird watchers visit at migration times.
The Hanoverian tower (more commonly known as the Naze Tower) at the start of the open area of the Naze was a sea mark to assist ships on this otherwise fairly featureless coast.
The Naze is eroding rapidly (at a rate of approximately 2 metres per year) and threatening the tower and the wildlife. The Naze Protection Society was formed to campaign for erosion controls. The Naze has become popular for school fieldwork into erosion and methods to protect the coast. Protection includes a sea wall, a riprap, groynes and a permeable groyne as well as drainage. Millions of tons of sand have been added to the beach to replenish it and stop the cliff eroding. However, the cliff near Naze Tower is greatly eroded. The cliff is receding fast and within 50 years Naze Tower may have tumbled into the sea like the pill boxes that can be seen on the beach.
The cliffs themselves are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the base of which is London Clay (54 million years old) which is overlaid with a 2 million year old sandy deposit of Red Crag. This sandy deposit contains a large number of fossils including bivalve and gastropod shells, sharks teeth and whale bones. The clay base is considered one of the best sites for pyritised fossils (mainly wood) and for bird bones (which are very rare.)
The original pier was built in 1830, one of the earliest in the country. It was built for landing goods and passengers from steamers and was originally 300 ft long (91 m), later extended to 800 feet (240 m). The pier was badly damaged in a storm in January 1871. A second pier opened in 1880, which also did not last.
In 1895, the Walton-on-the-Naze hotel and pier company (then owners of the pier) opened a replacement pier 500 ft longer (150 m) than the original. Several extensions have increased the pier's length to 2,600 ft (790 m), the third longest in the UK. When the new pier opened in 1895, an electric tramway was installed to take passengers from the steamers to the front of the pier. This was in use until 1935 when it was upgraded to a battery-powered carriage. In 1945 fire damaged the pier, and the carriage was replaced by a diesel locomotive train. This was removed during the 1970s.
Today, the pier remains a popular attraction, with amusements and funfair rides in a hangar-type building. Beyond this, the pier extends into a promenade popular with anglers.
The unusual war memorial commemorates a Halifax crew who all died when they crashed on the Naze. It also has a tribute to Herbert George Columbine, who won the VC and after whom the local leisure centre is named, and a tribute to those lost from HMS Conquest during World War I.
- Frank Paton, artist, moved to Walton-on-the-Naze shortly before his death in 1909
Walton was inspiration for the fictional Balford-le-Nez in Elizabeth George's "Deception on His Mind." Hamford Water and the town of Walton-on-the-Naze are the location of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series book, Secret Water.
Walton features as a turning point in the song "Tracy Jacks" from the album Parklife by Blur. The song's character, Tracy Jacks, takes "the first train to Walton" and stands "on the seafront". (Three of the band's members grew up in Colchester from where it is possible to take a train to Walton-on-the-Naze.)
The town is referred to in the episode 'General Hospital' of the 'Blackadder Goes Forth' series. When Lieutenant George is injured and sent to the military infirmary, Captain Blackadder visits him with the ulterior motive of getting his hands on the food sent to George by his family, whom Blackadder refers to as a "collection of inbred mutants". When George retorts that his family are not inbred, Blackadder replies, "Come on, somewhere outside Saffron Walden there's an uncle who's seven feet tall with no chin and an Adam's apple that makes him look as though he's constantly trying to swallow a ballcock!", to which George replies, "I have not got any uncles like that! Anyway, he lives in Walton-on-the-Naze".
- The post town name is unhyphenated by Royal Mail. Because only the first 10 characters are given in Mailsort post town lookup tables, the lack of hyphens has the accidental benefit of helping to distinguish unpostmarked mail for WALTON ON THE NAZE from mail addressed to WALTON-ON-THAMES (which is officially hyphenated and has a lookup entry at "WALTON-ON-", though there is no entry for either town at "WALTON ON "). Royal Mail Mailsort Technical website
- Mills 1998
- Defoe 1927
- Foote Wood, Chris (2008). Walking over the waves: quintessential British Seaside piers. Caithness: Whittles Publishing. ISBN 978-1904445-67-8.
- Mills, A. D. (1998). A Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280074-4.
- Defoe, Daniel (1927). "Letter 1, Part 2: Harwich and Suffolk". A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journies. London: JM Dent and Co. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
Media related to Walton-on-the-Naze at Wikimedia Commons