Nicholas Crane opens The Naze Centre

Friday 16th September 2016

Nicholas Crane officially opened our new visitor centre at Walton-on-the-Naze, The Naze Centre, on Saturday 10th September.

Nicholas – a broadcaster, author, explorer and geographer, especially known as a presenter on BBC’s Coast – was accompanied by his trademark umbrella (not that the forecast rain ever materialised on the day).

After words from Chris Baines, President of Essex Wildlife Trust, and Ian Davidson, CEO of Tendring District Council, who work in partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust at the Naze, Nicholas paid tribute to the wonderful diversity of the Naze and its importance to wildlife, people, geography, geology, history and more.

Then he and Mr Davidson officially declared the centre open, before visitors – in the region of 800 attended the event – enjoyed guided walks around the Naze and onto the beach below. Others headed into the new centre to learn more about the Naze and enjoy cake and tea, or visited existing facilities at the Naze, including the iconic Naze Tower. 

Earlier, Nicholas, who is President of the Royal Geographical Society, had addressed Essex Wildlife Trust’s members at their annual general meeting – including fondly reminiscing about living near Chelmsford as a child and enjoying trips to Frinton beach, just a few miles from the Naze.

The Naze Centre is a major £1.2million project, with £1.15million of funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, providing information and facilities for visitors to the Naze, and a hub from where Essex Wildlife Trust is running events and educational facilities for school and college groups. The Naze is included in the curriculum for GCSEs and A-Levels, as a case study for wildlife, fossils, geology, coastal processes, coastal communities and more.

Essex Wildlife Trust and partners Tendring District Council and the Naze Management Board are working at the Naze to make visits to the iconic site even more informative and rewarding. The Naze Centre follows Crag Walk, a coastal defence and educational and access platform at the base of the Naze Cliffs, also opened by Nicholas Crane, in 2011.

“Saturday was a fantastic day at a wonderful location,” Andrew Impey, CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust, said. “We are thrilled to have opened a visitor centre at the Naze, where there is so much for visitors to enjoy and learn about. Nicholas was an excellent and engaging guest speaker, whose knowledge and passion is an inspiration to us all. Thank you to him, all who visited on the day and also our funders and partners, especially Coastal Communities Fund and Tendring District Council, for helping to create such a memorable day.”

The Naze Centre is at The Naze, Old Hall Lane, CO14 8LE; phone number 01255 679379. It is open daily, 9am-5pm (9am-4pm November, December, January), except on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Essex Wildlife Trust has four staff based at The Naze Centre: a Team Leader/Centre Manager, an Assistant Centre Manager and two Education Rangers. Volunteers will also play an integral role. Full details of upcoming events at the centre can be found via our Whats On Guide