Tuesday, 19 July 2011

ST OSYTH AND JAYWICK

Such is the labyrinth of waterways running through the coastal areas of Essex that there are creeks coming off the creeks. St Osyth Creek is an offshoot of Brightlingsea Creek, and on its northern shore is the village of St Osyth with a medieval abbey and a deer park. The village is named after the daughter of a 7th century East Anglian King who was beheaded by Danish invaders because she would not worship their idols. This part of Britain is characterised by the decorative signs at the entrances to villages and small towns, and the sign for St Osyth includes a grisly depiction of the headless princess. There are a number of myths and legends surrounding the unfortunate royal, including the suggestion that on one day each year her ghost can be seen walking along the priory walls carrying her decapitated head.

Back on the coast proper, the Point Clear Nature Reserve, consisting of salt marshes and mudflats, is located at the mouth of the Colne opposite the eastern end of Mersea Island. Moving towards Clacton-On-Sea we pass a succession of small coastal settlements – Point Clear, Lee-over-Sands and Seawick, before reaching Jaywick. Jaywick, originally intended as a holiday resort for Londoners, and therefore composed of poorly constructed housing, was earlier this year named as the most deprived place in England. It is an extreme example of a holiday resort in decline as a result of the growth of foreign package holidays, with a high level of unemployment and large numbers of pensioners. Soaring crime and anti-social behaviour add to an overall depressing picture. On a slightly brighter note, Jaywick Martello Tower has been turned into an art and heritage centre with regular art exhibitions.

Map of the area.

File:St Osyth Stone Point - geograph.org.uk - 534846.jpg
Stone Point, St Osyth. Photo by M J Richardson, via Wikimedia Commons


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