With such a lot of coastline to choose from, finding a great beach isn’t that hard in Essex. In the face of much competition, the Naze at Walton stands out, a place where its natural beauty is given formal recognition with its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. If you look closely along the beach or on the Red Crag cliffs that top the grey London clay, you might find a fossilised shark’s tooth or the remains of ancient trees that once grew in the mud and silt brought down to the sea in long lost rivers.
Standing sentinel on the cliff top is the 18th century Naze Tower, built in 1720 as a navigational aid for ships making for harbour at nearby Harwich. Used during World War Two by the RAF as a radar scanner tower, it’s now a popular tea room and art gallery, and the views from the top are well worth the climb. Down on the beach, you’ll see the remains of a Martello tower at the shoreline, one of two that originally stood here in Napoleonic times. The other was dismantled to construct cottages in the town.
The site of serious coastal erosion, Walton-on-the-Naze beach is now heavily defended against attack by the sea in measures designed to protect the Naze and its landmark tower for many years to come.