Tendring is the best place to find prehistoric shark teeth

Tendring is a combination of aquatic fossil and beach park; where the tidal Stour and Colne merge into freshwater and woodland. An image of how wild Essex looked 10,000 years ago.

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Swim around Tendring’s wooded coast, look for a merlin over Hamford Water, or walk a shingle spit.

Copperas Bay

The only place in Essex where woodland and coast meet. An example of how the county looked for most of its history. Stour and Copperas woods are the largest woodland in north-east Essex.


Hamford Water

Possibly the wildest swim you’ll ever make, epitomised by the occasional merlin and hen harrier that hunt overhead at dusk. Tidal creeks, islands, beaches and marshy grass. Rare plants include hog’s fennel.


Colne Point

Best example in Essex of a spit transition from salt marsh, to sand-dune, to shingle. More than two miles of beach where predatory birds including barn owls, short-eared owls and hen harriers hunt.
Day permits to visit are available from the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Spike Island

Parkeston is known locally as “Spike Island” or “Cinder City”. Maybe because the cliffs and foreshore contain volcanic ash from 50 million years ago. You’ll find fossilised sharks’ teeth among the beach shingle.


Alresford Creek

A narrow creek that warms in the summer when the sun has baked the muddy clay all day. Swim from the footpath on the north shore across to the quiet south side, after 4pm on a late afternoon tide, in July or August.


Holland Brook

A non tidal waterway that has no public walking access, but can be explored by canoe or kayak from the River Colne to the north.

Kayak and canoe camps

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Kayak on Tendring’s creeks and search a unique fen habitat, that once stretched all the way to Rainham, in south west Essex.

Brightlingsea Creek

Launch a kayak two hours before high tide either from the public ramp at Copperas Road, Brightlingsea or the seawall at Seaview Terrace, St Osyth, next to the holiday park. Paddle into Brightlingsea Creek and navigate Cindery Island and St Osyth’s Creek. Camp on the foreshore around Eastmarsh Point.
51.815593, 1.0638285.


Freshwater Colne

Paddle east out of Colchester along the sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, fresh water Colne.
Park at the Castle Park lower car park and portage the 200 yards to the river.


Cattawade Marshes.

Kayak or canoe into Essex’s only remaining fen habitat.
Redshank, lapwing and oystercatcher nest on the cattle-grazed pasture, so avoid spring visits to this part of the Stour Estuary. Shelducks also nest on the seawalls.
Launch from…
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Prehistory tramping – Tendring

Prehistory in Tendring goes as far back as the earliest wooden artefact ever found – a yew spear.

Clacton Cliff

One of world’s most important prehistoric sites is also a good place to swim. A yew spear found here is one of the oldest wooden artefacts in the world.
51.776192, 1.1260343


Walton on Naze

Dry off from your swim looking for prehistoric teeth from monster sharks that once swum these waters. Volcanic ash that blew down from the Scottish Hylands more than 50 million years ago can sometimes be seen in the face of the cliffs.


Colne Point

Best example in Essex of a shingle spit transition from salt marsh, to sand-dune, to shingle over more than two miles of beach. Predatory birds including barn owls, short-eared Owls and hen harriers.
Day permits to visit are available from the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Hotels – Tendring

Good dining and rest in Tendring.

The Castle Inn

The Street, Harwich, Essex.


The beeches

Traditional B&B.
12-14 Ellis Rd, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1ER, 01255 421713.


The Sandrock

Dog friendly B&B.
1 Penfold Rd, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 1JN, 01255 428215.

Talks, workshops and Essex tours


Workshops for schools, scouts, guides, community groups or businesses. Learn how to wild camp and forage, or where to hike, canoe and cycle in Essex. Also, talks on the unique history of land ownership in Essex, and how to enjoy the outdoors by understanding all the laws of access.


Phone – 07947 160007

Email – news@wildessex.com