Looking to live on….Mersea Island
Sand, sailing, seafood and saltmarshes are all words that give Mersea Island appeal and contribute to the virtual doubling of its population during summertime.
With Winston Churchill, Sir Edward Heath and Griff Rhys Jones among those who have been regular visitors to Mersea Island, this tiny area of the East Coast of England has certainly made its mark over the years. Only seven square miles in total, Mersea is situated in the estuary area of the Blackwater and Colne rivers, about nine miles south of Colchester. Split into two distinct areas, East Mersea is predominantly farmland and the main inhabited area of West Mersea, with its jetty and swing moorings, is surrounded by saltmarshes and mudflats which act as an important sanctuary for wading and migratory birds. It is also the most easterly inhabited island of the United Kingdom and has a population of around 7,000.
Fenn Wright Partner, and long term resident on the island, Maria Montgomery shares her thoughts on why this unique place is perpetually popular: “While it may be better known as a holiday destination for those visiting from London and Essex, at the heart of Mersea Island’s identity are the fishing and yachting industries. In particular, sailing enthusiasts come from far and wide to enjoy Mersea Week, that takes place every August and which Fenn Wright are proud to sponsor, among a number of other local businesses. Those who live on the island have a choice of two sailing organisations they can join – West Mersea Yacht Club and Dabchicks Sailing Club.”
Maria continues: “Mersea has a small but loyal community that has seen generations live in the same area and go to the one primary school on the island. There is a comprehensive range of shops and amenities, including a gym, doctor and dentist, as well as the renowned seafood restaurant, The Company Shed, which attracts food-lovers from further afield.”
More famous in some circles for its oyster cultivation, a practice that has been established here since Roman times, Mersea celebrates its fishing heritage with the Mersea Island Food, Drink & Leisure Festival. The event takes place during May and features food stalls with local food and drink to sample and buy (particularly oysters), art exhibitions, live music by local artists and storytelling.
Maria adds: “For those who prefer green open spaces and walks by the sea, East Mersea’s Cudmore Grove Country Park is a real find and tends to be quieter than its beachy counterpart. In peak season, there is also a small foot ferry that can take you across to Brightlingsea and for trips around the bay on Lady Grace.”
Perhaps most unusual about Mersea is the fact that main access to the island is via a causeway, known as the Strood, that is covered on high spring tides. This fact is probably the reason behind Mersea’s name, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Meresai, and is derived from the old English word for ‘island of the pool’.
Maria concludes: “Mersea Island is a unique place that is perfect for sailing fans and lovers of life by the sea. For anyone looking to buy here, I’d recommend experiencing this special place in and out of season; with and without its tourist population present. There are a mixture of houses, flats and bungalows on the Island, but there are also plans to build another 200 or so dwellings to the east of the main village, so opportunities to buy here are set to increase.”
Here are some properties currently available close to Mersea Island:
This impressive four-bedroom home situated in the sought-after area of Abberton is an ideal home for those who want to strike the balance between a busy city life and village living. Colchester is only a four-mile drive away, making Abberton an attractive place to live for commuters. Request a viewing with our Colchester team on 01206 763388.
Thornwood Close in West Mersea would make an ideal family home. The detached, three-bedroom house has plenty of scope to be transformed into a modern property. With all the right planning permissions you could turn the conservatory into an open and airy play room and extend above the kitchen to accommodate another room. Call our Colchester branch on 01206 763388 to request a viewing and see the potential for yourself.
This landmark Grade II listed property in Peldon is a charming five-bedroom family home. It offers two bathrooms, is very spacious and has the additional benefit of a self-contained studio annexe within its 0.6-acre grounds. The property overlooks the picturesque Blackwater estuary and it is conveniently located with easy access to Colchester and Mersea Island.