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On the north bank of the Thames, thirty miles east of London, in the borough of Southend-on-Sea, stands the old fishing village of Leigh-on-Sea.
Since the middle ages cockles and other seafood have been brought ashore at Leigh, these are still sold at the famous cockle sheds in Old-Leigh. The sheds sell feature a bewildering and mouth-watering array of fresh seafood, there are also great pubs, cafes and shops, together with a very small, sandy beach.
What to photograph
Boats, Boats and more Boats. Old Leigh has many cockle boats and their tenders moored along the shore. In addition there are many abstracts and close up images possible of the thousands of cockle shells that make up the beach plus all the paraphernalia of a small working port.
The road by the side of Leigh station takes you to Two-Tree Island. The Island was reclaimed from the sea in the 18th century when a sea-wall was built around saltmarsh, and then used for rough grazing until 1910 when a sewage farm was built on its eastern tip. In 1936 Southend Borough Council acquired the whole island and used it as a rubbish tip until the 1970s. Thankfully now it is an RSPB nature reserve.
Further on from the nature reserve is a large carpark and slipway which gives access to the stretch of water known as Hadleigh Ray and views down the Thames estuary and across to Canvey Island.
How to get there
If traveling by car Leigh is signposted from both the A12 and A13. The best parking for Old Leigh is just under the bridge (over the railway) to Old Leigh though it is a pay and display. The carparks on Two-tree Island are free.
Leigh station is ideally placed for access to both Old Leigh and Two Tree Island and is regularly served by commuter trains from London.
Images by Chris Shepherd