Description & Map
Title: Clacton to Walton
This is a very pleasant walk along the sea wall from Clacton to Walton on the Naze.
The sea wall is mostly below street level in the built up areas meaning there is little traffic noise.
However once past the residential area, the sea wall is actually higher than the neighbouring land,
so that there are lovely views across Holland Haven Country Park.
From the beach huts of Frinton you can, tides permitting, walk along the smooth firm sands all the way along the coast to Walton.
A. From Clacton-on-Sea rail station (1), walk through the small park in front of the station and head down Carnarvon Road to the left of the Library, until you come to the junction with Marine Parade. Cross over onto the coastal pavement and turn left.
B. As you walk along the pavement, look out for a path down to the sea wall you can see on your right. Once on the sea wall, turn left and head north east along the coast.
C. Keep walking. You will pass several rows of beach huts on your left, as well as some kiosks selling snacks, and will be able to see the Gunfleet Sands wind farm far out to sea, on your right.
D. Keep walking. The sea defences along this part of the Essex coast are varied, with the original wooden groynes still visible, as well as breakwaters, pre-cast concrete structures (2), and rock armour at various places along the route.
E. Keep walking. You will pass some more beach huts (3). After walking along the coast for about 2½ miles, you will pass a tall radio tower. Just after this point the lower sea wall path begins to look a little unpleasant, being covered with seaweed and shingle. Turn slightly to the left, up a concrete slope, to the higher sea wall path.
F. Keep walking. Holland Haven Country Park is inland as you approach Frinton-on-Sea (4).
G. Keep walking. As you pass Frinton golf course you can see some beach huts ahead of you, which are unusual, being built on stilts over the beach. Tides permitting, you can turn right down some steps immediately before the first of these huts to reach the beach, and you can walk the rest of the way along the sands (5). Otherwise, continue along the sea wall.
H. Keep walking. If you have chosen the beach route you will have to climb over very, very many wooden groynes.
I. Keep walking until you are almost at Walton pier, then turn left to go inland and walk up The Parade to Walton-on-the-Naze Station.
Gunfleet Sands is the name of a very treacherous sandbank just off the Clacton coast. According to one website, there were 211 shipwrecks off the Essex coast in the 17th and 18th century, of which 133 (63%) were on Gunfleet Sands. On one occasion in 1849, 6 boats were stranded there in a single night. Although one was subsequently re-floated, the others were not so fortunate. Luckily, the crews were all rescued but needed medical care. Local people generously gave money for their care and the sailors were transported to the London Docks for treatment. In 1850, the Gunfleet Sands lighthouse was constructed to warn shipping of the hazards. It had a 2-man crew and they maintained a revolving light visible for 10 miles, and a fog-warning bell. The lighthouse was decommissioned in the 1920's.
These days, the sandbank is better known for the large wind farm sited there.
The Essex Coast is prone to erosion in this area, and various forms of coastal defences can be seen all along the route - including of course the sea wall itself. Additionally, you will pass the original wooden groynes, as well as breakwaters, pre-cast concrete structures, and rock armour at various places along the route.
Coastal defences are an expensive civil engineering task, but the necessity for them can be see a little farther up the coast, on The Naze itself. The photograph on the right shows how even WWII defences are helpless when faced with a combination of tides and time.
Walton Pier was originally built as a berth for steamers on the route from London to Great Yarmouth. At first steamers could only berth at high tide but in 1898 its length was extended to over 2500 feet, making it the second longest pier in the country (after Southend) and meaning boats could berth there whatever the state of the tide. Currently, Walton Pier is the third longest in Great Britain. It is particularly popular amongst anglers as it extends far farther into open waters than any other British pier, and many species including Bass, Cod and Stingray can be caught from the pier.
The Walton and Frinton Lifeboats are moored at a purpose built berth alongside the pier, and this is sometimes open to the public for viewing. The lifeboats have been called into action around 25 - 30 times a year in recent years, providing vital aid to commercial and leisure boats, jet skiers and swimmers who have got into difficulty in local waters. Without doubt, the service has saved many lives since its inception in 1884.
The pier also offers ten pin bowling and traditional pier amusements, and has refreshments available.