Heybridge Basin is the start of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation to which it owes its existence. It was here that the Colliers' barges unloaded for the journey inland. Construction of the 13 mile canal to Chelmsford commenced in 1793 under the general direction of John Rennie.
The basin at Heybridge was dug out at the sea end of the navigation to allow lighters to enter the canal via the sea lock for the unloading of their cargos for transportation inland. The stretch of canal between the Basin and Beeleigh was cut out by hand to bypass Maldon because the town opposed the building of the canal fearing loss of trade in the port
In 1796 the first ship entered the basin with a cargo of coal for Chelmsford. Read the story of the navigation by John Marriage here
William Bentall moved his iron foundry from Goldhanger to a site next to the canal in the village of Heybridge because of the benefits of being able to take raw materials right up to the works.
The two pubs that once served to quench the thirst of the basin workers and visiting sailors now cater for the tourists visiting this picturesque area. There is also a tea room and art and craft gallery on the sea wall.
You can reach the Basin by car from the B1026 Goldhanger Road and parking is free in the Daisy Meadow car park which is next to the canal or alternatively, you can walk along the navigation towpath from the Wave Bridge or follow the sea wall from Hall Road Heybridge.
Sit by the sea wall and watch the craft going through the sea lock at high tide or maybe catch a glimpse of one of the old barges making their way along the Blackwater towards the sea.