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FEATURE ❘ ESSEX


the area; they looked clean and well maintained but not very appealing on this slightly depressing damp morning. As I reached the entrance to the golf course, I noticed I was now pedalling on the NCN 51, the route would eventually take me to the outskirts of Frinton-on-Sea. I had encountered two further Martello towers, a colourful array of beach huts and surprisingly not a single human being by the time I reached Clacton, and it’s imposing but dated Pier. We had visited the Pier


the previous evening, it opened in 1877 and it offered good old British seaside entertainment, fish and chips, a small aquarium and a covered fairground with tacky rides. The kids loved it, the adults not so much. To be honest it sells itself as “360 metres of ‘all weather’ traditional seaside fun and a whole lot more....” and it delivers with its truly wholesome entertainment experience especially with the kids, trying to drag them away was a problem in itself. I find bribery always works, the cheaper the better. The kids love us really!!


The Pier this morning offered a completely different experience, the whole complex was deserted, litter strewn, drab and slightly tired looking. It was a million miles from the image it portrayed only hours


earlier. My first human contact of the day was with the Pier’s jovial security guard. We reciprocated “Good Mornings” before we headed off in different directions. He


appeared keen to be opening up for another chaotic fun filled day of money making and me, I turned my wheels north and continued on NCN 51 towards Frinton on Sea. I had unknowingly passed a section of the beach, affectionately called Monkey Beach. The image of a tribe of primates happily applying sunscreen and lounging on the beach did make me chuckle.


My pace was steady as I pedalled past the Holland Haven Country Park, which is an ideal bird watching spot and covers 100 acres of the coastline between Clacton and Frinton. At this point the National Cycle Network route ended, it is proposed that the route will eventually go through Frinton, into Walton-on-the-Naze before heading inland to join the existing route at the village of Stones Green and its ultimate destination, Felixstowe.


Frinton on Sea is famous for its large concentration of retired residents, it was at this point I had to head inland onto the B1336 to continue my cycle north. Cycling through Frinton was a delight. The broad avenues which lead to the sandy beach were empty; there was only one minor inconvenience, the level crossing which is the only means of accessing or exiting the resort. I followed the signs for Walton-on- the-Naze. As I entered the resort, it became apparent that the place was seriously in demise, I pedalled along the promenade, heading towards the Pier. The place was shabby, there was a definite greyness hanging in the area. The Pier and surrounding area were definitely in need of some serious investment, I am not sure if there are plans to regenerate the area but it is well overdue. I later read in the local newspaper, that proposals had been submitted to build a supermarket,


64 www.cyclingworldmag.com


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