Harbour strolls at St Osyth and Brightlingsea

I took this gallery of photos in mixed weather at the small Essex ports of St Osyth and Brightlingsea, where we have just enjoyed the English Country Music Weekend.

(I should explain that ‘country’ means ‘rural’ in this case, not Country and Western).

The port of St Osyth isn’t much more than a staithe and a boatyard at the end of an attractive creek, and looks like a great destination to me. If the photos have an atmospheric look, it’s because the first  few were taken just before a squall struck, and several were taken during the course of the downpour itself.

Piles of oak on the quayside must have been a very common sight in the heyday of the sailing barges.

Power dories are unusual in the UK, so I’m intrigued to know how this one came to be at St Osyth.

And I was struck by how strange to our eyes Dutch craft really are – it’s amazing really, given that our boating heritages have so much in common.

The fishing boats with the wonderful tall rigs are bawleys moored along Brightlingsea’s new  bawley pontoon. Bawleys are generally relatively shallow-draft prawners fitted with boilers to cook the prawns ahead of landing. For more posts mentioning these craft on this weblog, click here.

And what’s that photo of a developer’s concrete monstrosity doing in this collection? It’s an example of the way developers and planners are destroying the maritime landscape. I hope their dreams are haunted by the crimes they have committed in the name of making money.

This kind of thing will go on until we band together and stop them – or the waterfront runs out. Which will be first?

4 thoughts on “Harbour strolls at St Osyth and Brightlingsea”

  1. The big clinker, flat bottomed boat on the hard is very dory-like, isn’t it? Is that a Dutch design?

    The little dory with the motor well is straight from the east coast of the US and built for heavy use. Over here, that would probably be a lobster boat. Is there a trap setting for crustaceans at St Osyth?

    1. I’d say it was Dutch – yes.

      There will be people working post for crabs and oysters, and it is prime oyster country.

      I really have never seen a boat like that power dory on our coast that I can remember. It’s very striking, but I bet it works well.


  2. It is certainly a Dutch vessel which has been receiving some serious welding repairs. It is back in the water now and has been out for proving. It is a jolly heavy vessel that can take out ANYTHING that gets in its way!!!!! My boat is the Eventide 4th row down on the left. As you can see, the creek meanders all the way to Brightlingsea and so we have to rely on fairly high tides to get out and back on the same tide. Lovely photographs – your comment re: planners is a contentious matter here as a developer hopes to build hundreds of houses including some on the creek edge just a few metres from my mooring!!!!!! regards to all, Keith

    1. Keith – Thanks for this – it’s great to hear from you. If there’s anything I can do to help publicise a campaign or petition, please let me know.


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