Your guide to Mersea Island

Ray Island & Mysterious Tales!

Ray Island & Mysterious Tales!

Ray Island lies to the right of the Strood as you come across onto the island.

The large sandy mound rising out of the surrounding saltings is owned by the National Trust who brought the land in 1970. According to volunteer warden David Nicholls, the National Trust brought it for three main reasons:

  • For its literary connection
  • For its use as a picnic area
  • For its wildlife

Ray Islands connection with literature comes through Sabine Baring-Gould, the Victorian Pastor of East Mersea who wrote the novel ‘Mehalah.’

The island is nearly ¾ mile long from the eastern tip to the western tip, but only about 100 meters wide. The trackway that leads across the salt marshes goes back to the time of the wool trade in the Middle Ages and was used until the 1950’s for driving cattle on and off the island.

During high tide the path is impassable as the water reaches waist height. It’s important to check the tides carefully if you walk across, although most people reach the island by boat.

Now for the mysterious goings on at Ray Island…..

There are many stories of apparitions in regards to Ray Island and its marshes. One is of a bear which escaped from a ship to roam the Ray. It was said to have killed a group of fisherman who landed there. Some have said they have seen it chasing them.

Another tale is of a drunkard who chased his wife and daughter into the marshes. The father drowned in the rising tide. Some locals claim to have heard the mother’s panting, the baby’s screams and the fathers shouts.

Information from Nature Features on BBC Essex & Doomsday Reloaded. 


This post has been categorised under: History.

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