The Naze Tower
The Naze has been dominated by the historic tower for over 250 years but until now it’s remained a mystery for many.
Once known as Eadolfenaesse and also Waltonia, the town of Walton now takes its name from the Naze, the area of headland known, the world over, for its ancient fossils, unique wildlife and its ongoing battle against the sea.
For the last 250 years the headland has been dominated by the Naze Tower, built in 1721 by Trinity House long before lighthouses became commonplace. Its original purpose was to act as a marker for ships approaching the Harwich harbour, a duty which it still performs today.
At the beginning of the 20th century radio masts were erected at the top of tower in an attempt at long range transmission, the tower has also played a part in the many wars since the 18th century.
In the last couple of years the Tower, believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, has been purchased by a local resident, refurbished and opened as a visitor attraction.
For hundreds of years the Tower, known locally as ‘The Landmark’, has been a symbol of Walton’s history, and as the Naze around it is gradually lost to sea it acts as a sign of what could be lost if the sea continues to eat away at the cliffs.
Residents and visitors to the Naze can’t miss the grand exterior of the Tower, but until now it’s interior has remained a mystery for most. Now open daily, during the summer, from 10am you can find out about its history as you climb the steps to the observation platform at the very top with breathtaking views for miles around. Admission is £2 per adult.
The Naze itself has also been the subject of much change, its constantly diminishing coastline is a constant cause of debate. Every year two metres fall into the sea, at the current rate the Tower would be lost to the waves within 20 years.
The Naze was originally farmland, then a privately owned golf course. During the Second World War the area was requisitioned as a watch-out location. In 1967 it was purchased by the local council and has been an area of public open space ever since, enjoyed by locals and thousands of visitors every year. The dense brambles and hawthorn provide a haven for hundreds of species of animals and insects and an important area for migrating birds.
last updated: 11/04/2008 at 14:08
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