One of the compounds
Non-standard Leisure 17
Weather-stained junk-rigged yacht
When it comes to the General Election, there’s a frenzied interest in how ‘Basildon Man’ will vote, because he is thought to represent the middle ground where a swing in any direction to the right or to the left can predict how the Country at large will vote. I’m not sure this will be the case in the forthcoming election, as UKIP would appear to be making big inroads at Basildon by having ten councillors; thereby reducing the Conservatives to seventeen and Labour to nine.
What is not so well known is that a short distance from Basildon there’s a Country Park that has been established on what was waste land beside the River Thames. A good many websites tell of the Park, but none mention the Marina! Unless you specifically inter the word ‘marina’ and the associated words, ‘Wat Tyler’ into a search engine, you will not discover what the so-called marina has to offer. In fact, it would appear to have very little on offer. Describing it as a marina would be a gross exaggeration. My dictionary defines a marina as, ‘a specially designed harbour with moorings for pleasure yachts and small boats’. No way does it meet this description.
Vange Creek marks the southern boundary of the Country Park, and there on the north bank you can find fenced compounds for securing boats. Basildon District Council has drawn up numerous rules* for governing the activities of users, all of whom have to be licensed key holders. Apart from tenders, vessels may only be launched and retrieved from the slipway with permission of the Council, and assisted launching and retrieval can only be done under the direction of the Council’s authorized tractor operator.
Moorings are strictly controlled by the Council. Rule 2.7.9 states that boats must be moored fore and aft, in line with the direction of the tidal stream. I’ve seen boats at some of these moorings at low water, and a few are positioned on steep muddy banks, which is far from ideal, almost precarious. I wouldn’t want to moor a boat of mine in those places.
While I was there today, I noticed a non-standard Leisure 17 that happens to be for auction on Ebay and I saw a junk-rigged yacht that looked distinctly unloved. She was badly-weather stained. No doubt she could be bought at a bargain price; assuming you could track down the owner.
There doesn’t seem to be any provision for visiting yachtsmen, though I suspect few would want to stay for a night. It would look very uninviting. Even if you managed to land your tender on the slipway, there would be no way of getting beyond the locked gate, unless there happened to be a licensed boat owner to let you through. Once through, you may not get back, without a key, and there is no VHF communication with Council staff.
I was not impressed, but no doubt regular users find it offers what they need at a price they can afford.
Apart from the Marina, if you can call it that, Wat Tyler Country Park has a lot going for it, particularly for families and youngsters. (See links below) Perhaps tomorrow I’ll jot down a few words about the Park’s delights.
Marina and Boat Storage – Wat Tyler County Park
*Wat Tyler Country Park Marina Rules and Regulations (A PDF download)
Wat Tyler Country Park
Wat Tyler Country Park
Wat Tyler Country Park Video
Wat Tyler Revolt 1381
Pitsea Explosives and Alfred Nobel
Wat Tyler Country Park Reviews
Basildon Man (See the Politics section)
Basildon Man 2010