One thing Essex is not short of is places with chuckle-inducing names. We have Ugley, Messing and Mucking for starters. But it’s Fingringhoe, and especially the shortened F’hoe that we see on signs around here, that has me sniggering.
In fact, the name of the village is firmly rooted in its geography. The original site nestles in a bend of the Roman River, a tributary of the Colne, and was once a thriving port. The suffix “hoe” means a protruding piece of land like a heel which is likely to be that part of the village enclosed by the meander. The “ing” comes from the ancient “ingas” or people and the “Fingr” is probably, like “hoe”, referencing the land’s shape.
These days, most visitors are drawn to Fingringhoe for the Essex Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve. Opened in 1961, it was the EWT’s first site. Overlooking the Colne Estuary, up to two hundred species of birds have been sighted here including the two dozen male nightingales that produce a rousing chorus each spring. In addition there are plenty of avocets and other waders and wildfowl to be spotted. Add to this the 350 or so species of flowering plants and you can see the attraction.