WRABNESS/Bradfield - Essex

Panoramic View of Wrabness
180º panoramic shot of Holbrook Bay from Wrabness/Bradfield.

Holbrook Bay on the River Stour is a useful location in Northerly winds when other locations are unsailable. Wrabness isn't the only spot obviously, but it seems to be a commonly used one. Wrabness is, however, a good choice of launch spot as it sticks out slightly from the West-East lie of the river, giving more options in different wind directions. The river Stour is about a mile wide, so there is plenty of wind-fetch and plenty of space for long reaches whatever the wind direction.

Map overlooking the sailing area, and local information

OS Map with Aerial Photo

Flat Water: YES
Wind Chop: Some
Waves: NO
Beach: Hard Sand/Shingle
Wind Direction : W-E S

Car parking : On the beach!
Toilets : No
Café : No

Nearest Windsurf Shop : SkiSurf, Colchester
or a little further away : Wet'n'Dry nr Basildon.

Wind information : None nearby.
Tide information can be found here.

There are several launch spots from Wrabness itself (small arrows), but they mostly require carrying kit over banks etc. The access roads seen on an OS map are mostly privately owned by the caravan site, so access is not as good as it might appear. The spot detailed here (large arrow) is technically in Bradfield, 2 miles West of Wrabness, but it allows unrestricted** access to the shore.

Finding this spot is, however, a bit tricky, and definitely requires close inspection of the map! Approach on the B1352. In the centre of Bradfield, the access track (Shore Lane) is squeezed between two houses, next to a large brick wall. You can't really see it until you are right next to it, so you're very likely to miss it at first. It's the only track heading towards the river in the village though, so you'll find it eventually. (Don't mistake the tracks to Nether Hall / Jaques Hall, or Ragmarsh Farm). Drive down under the railway and park on the shore itself**. NOTE: The tide can come up and covers the whole shore, so don't leave your car here and sail through high-tide!

The sailing is normally best a few hours before high-tide, with current against wind, but the currents are not really too strong here.

**PLEASE NOTE: If you park on parts of the beach you may be parking on farmers land (Mr Mitchell of Ragmarsh farm). If you look on the beach there is a line of chestnut stumps in the ground that were put there years ago by the previous farmer to preserve the bank. So technically the land south of the stumps is the landowners. Several times in the past the current farmer has ploughed up the beach to stop local people sitting there... SO, at the very least be courtious and make sure you don't block any access to fields etc. Even if the beach below high-water is technically okay, the access rights aren't.

Launching area is shown by the red arrow. Aerial Photos & Maps from Multimap and GetMapping

The photos below should give an idea of the range of conditions found at this location. The larger images have a description of the conditions at the time the shot was taken. If you've got any good photos that you'd like to see here then email the site and I'll add them on if possible.

Typical Sailing Conditions

Photo no.1 Photo no.2 Photo no.3 Photo no.4
Click thumbnails to open larger images. Thanks to ImageShack for free hosting of these images.

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