Exploring the Walton Backwaters

Exploring the Walton Backwaters an RYA guide to the Walton Backwaters and cruising in the Walton Backwaters

RYA guide to the Walton Backwaters

The Walton Backwaters were one of Arthur Ransome�s favourite placesto visit on his yacht, �Nancy Blackett� and are famously depicted in his1930�s book �Secret Water�, the sequel to �We didn�t mean to go tosea�. Unlike Ransome�s earlier Swallows and Amazons adventure stories;these two books are based on actual places. The map inside �SecretWaters� is very similar to the 1930�s chart of the Walton Backwaters andis still fairly recognisable today.

According to the ArthurRansome Society; on one visit to the Walton Backwaters, Ransome met theBusk family who were camping on Horsey Island. They were engaged inmap-making and it would seem they gave him the inspiration behind thestory line for �Secret Water� which sees the Walker children aka �theSwallows� deposited on the Island with instructions from their father tochart the area before he returns from his duties with the Admiralty.

SecretWater is dedicated to the Busk family and referenced their yacht, Lapwing, within the story.

Today Walton Backwaters is a wildlife havenand a great place to explore and unwind. Drop the hook, pick up amooring or visit the marina then young or old, you too can be a Swallowor Amazon and go exploring in the dinghy around the many islands andchart your own adventure.

Walton Channel

As you venture into the Walton Backwaters,Island Point North Cardinal marks a split in the channel; heading SouthWest is Hamford Water and off to the South is the Walton Channel. Thecluster of red cans, nos 10, 12 & 14 and green no 9 buoy keep youoff the shallows as you start you passage along the Walton Channel.

Passing the channel markers at the start of the Walton Channel (chart point 1)

To the East of the channel lies Stone Creek and Stone Point, apopular anchorage. Stone Point is managed by the Walton and FrintonYacht Club, visitors are reminded that the area is an S.S.S.I. andshould take care not to do anything that either disturbs the wildlife ordestroys plants and vegetation.

Stone Point anchorage and drying area... (chart point 2)

Continuing South, the channel is best marked by the plethora ofmoorings, stick to the middle with moorings keeps you in the deepestwater. Low speed and minimal wash is essential to maintain the peace andharmony amongst the gentle bustle of the channel.

Moorings in the Walton Channel running into Twizzle creek (chart point 3)

The Walton Channel splits at the Spit North Cardinal, forming FoundryReach or Twizzle Creek. Foundry Reach runs South and leads to theWalton Yacht Basin and the Walton & Frinton. The Yacht Club andbasin have now laid buoys marking the channel to make it easier tonavigate the creek up to the yacht basin.

From the Spit N Cardinal, Twizzle Creek heads West then North West towards Titchmarsh Marina.

Spit North Cardinal at the entrance to Foundry Reach (chart point 4)

Entrance Titchmarsh Marina (chart point 5)

The majority of boats rarely venture beyond the Walton Channel andTitchamarsh Marina, however at high water the Walton Backwaters become avast playing field, one which is a delight to explore but with acareful eye on the time and depth. The flat landscape, seascape andmudflats seemingly merge with the sky.

Hamford Water

Hamford water opens up before you with a rising tide. (chart point 6)

Back at Island Point North Cardinal, Hamford Water stretches out tothe South West and the deep water channel is marked with a green buoy tothe North and Horsey Island to the South. Exchem East Cardinal marksthe entrance to Oakley Creek heading towards Bramble Island and is thenext clue to the whereabouts of the starboard side of the channel.Horsey Island is better known as Swallow Island to Arthur Ransome fans.

The Exchem East Cardinal (chart point 7)

Kirby Creek

The Hamford water spilts just past the yellow buoy, continuing WSW into the unsurveyed Landermere Creek or South in to Kirby Creek.

Approching Kirby Creek (chart point 8)

Anchoring in Kirby Creek itself is prohibited due to the oyster beds,the narrow channel is marked with withies as you pass between SkipperIsland to the West and Horsey Island to the East. Honey Island is at theSouthern end of the Creek.

Kirby Creek channel marked with withies (chart point 9)

Towards the end of Kirby Creek on the Western edge of Horsey Islandis a landing platform, just across from here to the South West is HoneyIsland.

Landing platform on Horsey Island (chart point 10)

Deep water continues as you pass Honey Island to the East, a handfulof boats make use of the deeper water for mooring.Honey Island was knownas Bridget Island in Secret Waters.

Passing Honey Island to the East (chart point 11)

It is possible to circumnavigate Honey Island and with sufficientwater continue to the South of Horsey Island, over the causeway linkingHorsey Island to the mainland; until you reach the deeper water to theNorth of Tichmarsh Marina.

Channel between Honey Island and the mainland (chart point 11)

The Walton Backwaters are perfect for exploring creeks and Islandhopping with a bit of caution, a sense of adventure, in a dinghy orshallow draft boat and without doubt a copy of Secret Water to reallyget in to the spirit and mystique of this special place.

Fact file

Titchmarsh Marina
Harbour Lights Carvery� www.harbourlightscarvery.co.uk
Harwich Haven Authority
Walton & Frinton Yacht Club
Secret Water map

Titchmarsh Marina Ch 80 or phone 01255 672185
Walton Yacht Basin (Bedwells)

01255 675873


Walton on the Naze Range Heights
3.8m MHWS 4.2 MLWS 0.4
Neap 2.3m MHWN 3.4
MLWN 1.1


Stone Point
Hamford Water
Anchoring on the oyster beds is prohibited.


Imray Y16�

Chart Y16 is reproduced with the kind permission of Imray.www.imray.com

Chart copyright UKHO. www.ukho.gov.uk

By Simon &Vicky Jinks, Instructors at SeaRegs Training www.searegs.co.uk

�Crown Copyright and/or database rights. Reproduced by permission of theController of Her Majesty�s Stationery Office and the UK HydrographicOffice (www.ukho.gov.uk).

This material is not for resale, redistribution or copying.
Not to be used for navigation.