Strangely enough, and despite it holding some fascination, I have no recollection ever of visiting Foulness Island, even though it is close by (a 15 minute drive) from where I live – that is until today. The reason is simple – until recently the island was under MOD control, as was the sea facing land between Shoebury beach and the Island, and people were not permitted to visit without a permit. In recent years much of this land has been opened to the public.
In my eagerness to explore new areas, when my wife suggested we go for a drive and a little walk, after church this morning, the light bulb lit – this once closed to casual visitor’s area might well now be open. With reference to the above map, it meant that final piece in the seascape jigsaw between Shoebury and the River Crouch could now be walked alongside. So it turned out, while barriers to the island were evident, these were all open and we could drive along the marked routes. Getting there was no problem – just go along the road by Great Wakering Parish Church. While there is rugged natural landscape to be seen and wild life including birds, if I am honest it did not give me that beautiful, unblemished natural scenery feel. There was plenty of signs relating to recent MOD activity and that there might still be unexploded bombs around – so be warned. I wasn’t disappointed though – I got to the sea (see photo above) and loved being able to bridge that gap looking toward Southend Pier just round the corner to the right and the River Crouch just round the corner to the left (accessed via Wallasea Island – covered in an earlier blog). Also to the right and the left there were footpaths, waiting to be walked on by my entourage.
In all, I feel excited having made a new discovery and look forward to finding an excuse for a return visit in the not too distant future.
Update 01/05/17: I didn’t expect the not too distant future to be the next day! It happened we had 3 children (ages 6, 9, 12) of friends who we promised to take out today and, you guessed it, we decided to take them over to Foulness Island with the view to walking the footpath leading to the Crouch (which we did). And the feedback was it was a resounding success. Lots of derelict buildings and signage relating to a bygone age but to compensate: fascinating scenery, wild ducks, assorted sea shells and only a man and his dog in sight. Slight drizzle didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of my young charges. They are keen for a return visit and so are we.