Foulness Site of Special Scientific Interest (GB)
FOULNESS, United Kingdom
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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Foulness is an island on the east coast of Essex in England, which is separated from the mainland by narrow creeks. The large island had a usually resident population of 212 people in the 2001 census, who live in the settlements of Churchend and Courtsend, at the north end of Foulness. The island has a general store and post office. The George and Dragon pub in Churchend closed in 2007, while the church closed in May 2010.
Foulness Island is predominantly farm land and is protected from the sea by a sea wall. On the sea side of the wall there is extensive marsh land which supports a diverse population of waders, including avocets. The island's name is derived from the words Fowl & Ness, Fowl meaning wild birds and Ness being the Germanic word for Promontory.
Although public rights of way exist, the island is run by QinetiQ on behalf of the Ministry of Defence which means that access to the island is only permitted with a pass, obtainable from Shoeburyness. The island's visitor centre is opened to the public on the first Sunday in summer months, but permission must be sought to visit. Until 2007, it was possible for the public to visit the pub on the island by telephoning ahead; if they had not done so, access would be denied.
Since 1926, the island has been connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, via Havengore Island and New England Island. Prior to that, access was only available across the Maplin Sands via the Broomway, a fabled tidal path said to pre-date the Romans and once the only route between the two places.
During the North Sea flood of 1953, almost the entire island was flooded, and two people died.
In the early 1970s, up until the oil crisis, the area was set to be transformed by a new international airport at Maplin Sands. In the event, this was never built.
The island featured in Bernard Cornwell's novel Sharpe's Regiment as the camp ground for the second battalion of the South Essex Regiment.
Coordinates: 51°35′48″N 0°53′49″E / 51.59667°N 0.89694°E / 51.59667; 0.89694
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