Lottery Success for Clacton VCH Group!

Clacton VCH Group wins Heritage Lottery Fund support to explore the lost medieval port and estuary at Holland Haven

The Clacton VCH Group has received a grant of £16,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for their exciting new project, Exploring a Lost Coastal Landscape in Essex: the Gunfleet estuary and Holland Haven. The project has also been supported by two local charities, the VCH Essex Trust (Reg. Char. 1038801) and the Hervey Benham Trust (Reg. Char. 277578). Led by volunteers from the local community, and working with the VCH Essex County Editor and an archaeologist from Essex County Council, the project focuses on uncovering the history of this lost medieval port and other quays and landing places in the Tendring district. Commenting on the award, Roger Kennell (Chairman, Clacton VCH Group) said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident that our new project will help local people understand an important aspect of the community’s coastal history”.

 

Winter flooding illustrating the former width of Holland brook that fed into Holland Haven

The two-year project aims to recruit and train volunteers to help research the extent and history of the former Gunfleet estuary (Holland Haven), located where Holland Brook now enters the sea between the modern towns of Frinton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea. The estuary, which served as a shipping haven, stretched back from the coastline into the parishes of Great Holland, Little Holland and Great Clacton. It apparently became silted up and abandoned around the 17th century, and its full extent and importance has never been reconstructed. By using historic documents and maps, and undertaking field surveys, the volunteers will also learn how to place the lost estuary in its wider context of landing places, seaborne trade and the impact of coastal change between the Middle Ages and the present day. The project's findings about the area's lost heritage will be recorded on the VCH’s ‘Explore’ website, a display board in Holland Haven Country Park, by a public event with talks, and by a travelling exhibition in the local area.

 

Committee members of the Cla