The Naze Education and Visitor Centre

The Naze Education and Visitor Centre, Walton-on-the-Naze: Hours, Address, The Naze Education and Visitor Centre Reviews: 4/5

The Naze Education and Visitor Centre

The Naze Education and Visitor Centre
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
09:00 - 17:00
The Naze is a unique coastal landscape of outstanding geological and biological importance. As the most easterly peninsula in Essex it is an important site for migrating birds and boasts a number of different habitats, both terrestrial and marine. The Naze also has immense historic and civic importance, the famous Naze Tower being just one example, and is a site where coastal change can be easily seen and understood. The Naze is a special and important place for many reasons and is a place where wildlife thrives, from insects living in the soft cliffs to the familiar barn owl hunting over the grasslands. The Naze is the gateway into Hamford Water National Nature Reserve, an area of international importance due to the number of wildfowl and waders that it supports and is itself a sanctuary for migrating and nesting birds, from Dark Bellied Brent Geese to Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat. To the east of the peninsula are the famous cliffs, fifty million years old and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The 70 foot high cliffs are made up of London clay, Red Crag and Thames sands and gravels and fossilised sharks teeth, shells and wood are found daily on the beach. The Naze is a site where coastal change can be seen and clearly understood. The cliffs are eroding at a rate of (on average) 1-2 metres per year. The section of cliff directly in front of the iconic Naze Tower was however protected in 2011 with the construction of the 'Crag Walk Platform', a 100 metre public access and viewing platform. Essex Wildlife Trust was a key partner in the project to protect this section of the cliff. The second stage of the 'Naze Heritage Project' is to improve the visitor facilities and interpretation of the site and work is currently progressing on the exciting Education and Visitor Centre, which will be open to the public in Spring 2016. The John Weston Nature Reserve is located in the northern part of the Naze. This 9 acre reserve is dedicated to the leading Essex naturalist John Weston, who was warden at the reserve until his death in 1984 and consists of Blackthorn and Bramble thickets, rough grasslands and four ponds or 'scrapes', three of them created since the reserve was established. Nesting birds include Common and Lesser Whitethroat, joined recently by Cetti's Warbler. Water Rail are seen and heard regularly. It is an important landfall for migrants, including many rarities, and also attracts a variety of winter visitors. The Naze is also a perfect place to get an introduction to marine wildlife, with harbour porpoise out to sea, common and grey seals in the backwaters and a whole host of species to find on the beach and in the mud pools including crabs, scallops and whelks. The Naze has a rich history and has been used as farmland, a golf course and a military camp in the past. The iconic Naze Tower, built in 1720 by Trinity House to mark the promontory for shipping approaching Harwich Harbour, has had multiple uses over its history including the home for a Chain Home Low Radar during the Second World War. There a number of military relics on the Naze, including the mountings for ack-ack guns on the beach, along with several pill boxes, both on the beach and on the open space above. The Naze is a very important place for the people of Walton and Tendring and one which engenders huge civic pride. There are a number of specifically designed walks around the site including the Walton Wildlife Trail, part of the Walton Community Forum funded 'Walton Trails project'. Be careful to check the tides before your visit if you want to explore the beach.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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73 reviews
Very good

London, UK1 contribution
Change is not always for the better….
Aug 2021
Came back today to the centre for the first time in 18 months - so disappointed with how it’s changed. The centre had been organised inside with the new layout looking disorganised and messy with boxes piled up by the entrance desk whilst the cafe no longer made food to order and had very little to offer. Instead of proper cups they now give out drinks in disposable cups with UHT milk sachets replacing fresh milk. Simple things like toast were no longer on offer being replaced with packaged sandwiches - won’t be going back to somewhere where we used to love to visit. Please bring back the old centre and cafe that everyone loved ☹️
Written 25 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

isaac w
4 contributions
Watch out there were sharks in the water...30000 years ago
Jun 2021 • Family
Excellent fossil finding activity for children and adults.

We had 3 splendid guide who assisted us in finding sharks teeth and fossilized wood
Written 4 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

4 contributions
Dog mess & youths everywhere
Mar 2021 • Family
Do dog walkers round here not know what a bin is? There is dog mess absolutely everywhere! What a sorry sight for eyes it made the place. Plus all the youths sitting around the war memorials smoking drugs in broad daylight! Shame use to love going here not again not anymore.
Written 31 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Liz A
Clacton-on-Sea, UK23 contributions
Great information
Aug 2020 • Family
Visited the naze educational centre lots of information and history. Lots of nice things to buy.The cafe adhere to cov19 with friendly helpful staff.The food has lots of choice and flavour.will definitely visit again
Written 8 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barbara R
Doncaster, England, United Kingdom130 contributions
Will Return
Mar 2020
This place was being built the last time we visited.
We decided to eat and am very pleased we did, the food was excellent and staff very friendly. The tea was lovely and made in a pot and not a cup like loads of other places.
The cafe area is clean and tidy and I loved that you were given a buzzer to let you know when your food was ready, I am sure they will bring it to your table if you cannot carry trays.
On our visit they were still sorting the visitor part out but the shop part was already open for business.
Only drawback is the price of parking !!
Written 18 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clacton-on-Sea, UK64 contributions
Very good
Feb 2020
Great visitor centre, lots of information and a cafe as well. Lots of gifts to buy too. Caters for everyone including children and babies, also older people.
Written 15 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Walton-on-the-Naze, UK53 contributions
Don’t leave walton on the naze without visiting this centre
Feb 2020 • Couples
As i live near by and the naze is one of my favourite walks i pop into this centre at least once a month. Sometimes with a friend and grab a bowl of soup or with my partner and call for tea and cake. when the grandchildren visit we always walk up to the naze and call into view the various areas of interest and of course buy a snack. There are some fascinating items and excellent activities for children especially during school holidays. Please visit.
Written 7 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pauline D
Brentwood, UK43 contributions
Geology of the Naze
Jan 2020 • Friends
Fabulous weather made this very interesting walk along the Naze even more pleasant. Gerald was both eloquent and informative - having lived in the area all his life he had lots of interesting anecdotes to relate as well as lots of facts about the make-up of the area. It was a wonderful way to spend a morning. The hot chocolate we warmed up with at the visitor centre afterwards was delicious too. Thank you Essex Wildlife and thank you Gerald - looking forward to joining more of your walks.
Written 4 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rosemary W
Chelmsford, UK439 contributions
Unfriendly staff
Sep 2019 • Couples
I was going to buy tea and cake for my husband and I. However I thought I would peruse the small shop first. It seemed to have a good selection of jams and pickles for sale. However before I could have a look I heard a loud commotion behind me. My dog had followed me in. The woman who was serving started shouting and screaming at my dog to get out. She was waving her arms about. She was followed shortly by a man who did the same. My dog is a rescue dog and has taken a long time to gain any confidence. This unprovoked action by the staff managed to traumaise my dog.
Written 20 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter S
Rome, Italy3,260 contributions
Mild day, blue skies, warm sunshine and superb views across Essex – sea, estuary and landscape - county at its best.
Sep 2019
The Naze – Naze Centre, Old Hall Lane, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

Review covers the Naze in all its diversity – trails in the wilderness areas to the north of the car park, Naze Centre and Naze Links Café. There’s also brief reference to the Naze Tower.

Visit the ‘Naze’ to the north of Walton-on-the-Naze and you’re on a ‘headland’ that’s a mix of town park, open country, farmland and beach to the east and marshlands, tidal estuary, islands and open water to the west - west is the SSSI Hamford Water National Nature Reserve covering >20 km2.
To the north there’s Harwich Port and, across the estuary of the Rivers Stour & Orwell, Felixstowe Port – the UK’s busiest container port. You can see the lines of container cranes marching across the horizon above the towns – dwarfing those historical lighthouses of yesteryear.
This is Coastal Essex in all its splendour and particularly on a fine warm sunny day mid-week in mid-September – after those family summer holidays when the children have returned to school. This is when you have the place largely to yourself. Well … you and the three million dogs that walk there every day (or so it seems). Not having a dog (or two or more) on the end of a lead sort of emphasizes your lower standing in local/tourist society.
Where to start – the Naze is a veritable treasure chest of delights – so much to see and do.
Getting there. Getting there is easy if you’re already in Walton Town – the Naze is 2 km from the centre – it’s a fine walk along the Promenade heading north or five minutes in the car. You’ll be directed into the large open car park with some simple instructions on the pay-as-you-park machine for the GB£4 required for four hours. Four hours is a reasonable period in which to take a coffee mid-morning, cover the main attractions – beach, historic trails, tower, military pill boxes – and then lunch around 14.30 in one of the three cafés available.
Snacks/Coffee/lunch. Three cafés – and they were all fairly busy … not bad. 1. We’d parked in front of the Naze Links Café – coffee beckoned. The sign outside said: ‘We don’t do fast food - but food that is delivered quickly’. Couple of regular-cup filter coffee cost us GB£3.80, seated out front with that seascape view to one side – wind generators by the hundreds and, 16 km out, the ‘Rough Sands’ Maunsell Fort which dates from WW2. It was in international waters nearby that the ‘pirate radio station’ Radio Caroline and others broadcast >50 years ago and changed UK radio broadcasting for ever. The coffee? It was … OK.
2. Naze Centre. Large open dining room inside (room for >50) with small counter to one side, and kitchen through into a second room; seating outside (>30) in the sun (on picnic tables/benches made from recycled plastic milk bottles – five units/ex-13,600 bottles – the notice said). Delicious, tasty and excellent value plates - salad/crisps/coleslaw plus, one each, ham toastie & baked potato/cheese and a shared Coke. We paid GB£10.60. Two of us.
3. Naze Tower. You can only eat/drink so much in four hours, and we passed on the Tower Café. Sitting areas first floor of the tower, and outside seating around the entrance. Services on the ground floor from the ticket lady. Many people seated/drinking/eating and enjoying the sun/seascape views (with dogs tied to their chairs).
Walking/historical/military/nature trails. Pickup the brochures to describe these walks. Additionally, there are half-dozen strategically-placed information boards – radar, missile testing, pill boxes, etc. (military/WW2 – 1.5 km) and sea walls, bird sites, cliff wildlife, etc. (nature/wildlife – 6 km). The reality, however, are those gorgeous views out-to-sea, wall-to-wall blackberry brambles, easy walking along open well-mown trails. Issues? The two pill boxes needed some TLC – cut back the blackberry and, crucially, clean out the trash inside (much of it really old – cans, paper, bottles, faeces, etc.). Additional, paint over the schoolboy graffiti on the inside. Time to mobilize some of those friendly volunteers then.
Naze Tower. Gorgeous ex-navigation tower dating from early 18th century; eight story/26 m; easy to manage 111 iron steps to the top – comfortable steep incline/handholds both sides/no feel for height inside. Open top/full 360 deg view across country/sea/estuary/Walton. This is your birds-eye view of Essex supreme – the best view in the county (on a warm, bright, sunny day – it was for us). The tower had a make-over three years back and, today, simply sparkled in appearance/care. Part tea rooms, art gallery, museum and viewing platform the tower provides that immediate link to an Essex of the distant past for most visitors - accessible and interesting for just GB£3/ticket (GB£2.50 students/oldies). Get there soon, coastal erosion at 2 m/year has placed the tower within 50 m of the sea cliffs. Here’s where the Crag Walk comes in.
Crag Walk. Granite rock wall has been constructed between the beach and the cliffs below the tower during the past eight years in an effort to slow the rate of coastal erosion - targeting 20 m during the next 70-100 years. Viewing platform, new stairway to the beach and pathway along the rock wall provides access to the pre-historical treasures/stories/fossils in the cliff face. The wall ends at the point opposite/below the tower. Presumably, it will need to be extended … how much further/at what cost?
Naze Centre. Modern white-painted block promoting the Naze and the conservation group Essex Wildlife Trust; the place had a ‘green’ roof of grasses/shrubs. Novel. Inside it’s mostly a café with seating for 100 shared equally inside and outside. There’s also small shop and classroom. Toilet inside and outside (for when the Centre is closed). Friendly/patient serving staff at the café.
Assisting wildlife. Lots going on in the Naze … for example, the Fisher’s Estuarine Moth needs coarse grass for eggs and hog’s fennel as food for caterpillars. Handful of institutions/donors involved.

Peter Steele
Written 19 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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