Wednesday, 13 July 2011

BURNHAM-ON-CROUCH

Viewed on a map, the chunk of land between Southend and Maldon bears a slight resemblance to the head of a large animal, with the ‘mouth’ being formed by the River Crouch. Burnham-on-Crouch sits on the north bank of the river. Just as Southend is Essex’s answer to Brighton, so Burnham-on-Crouch is the county’s answer to Cowes, being a major yachting centre. The town has several yacht clubs, chief among them the Royal Burnham Yacht Club and the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. Burnham’s big yachting event of the year, Burnham Week, occurs in late August. In August 1971, the then Prime Minister Ted Heath, who was an avid sailor, was pottering in his yacht near Burnham when he encountered two teenagers who had got into trouble in their sailing dinghy, which capsized. The PM came to the rescue, picking up the capsized boat and its occupants.

The town centre is a classic Georgian mix of red brick and whitewash, with a liberal sprinkling of old inns. The surrounding area offers estuary walks and a country park including a small wetland area and rough grassland where skylarks, linnets and goldfinches can be seen. The area around Burnham was used by H. G. Wells as the setting for the Martian invasion in his literary classic War Of The Worlds, describing how the invaders came “striding over some stunted trees” beyond the River Crouch. In the last couple of years, several real-life UFO sightings have been reported in the area, including a “cigar-shaped object” and “4 lights”...”orange and disc-shaped” – of course, the latter could well have been Chinese lanterns, which are increasingly found to be the source of “UFO” sightings.

Map of the area.

Essexphoto © 2009 Gerry Labrijn | more info (via: Wylio)

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