The UK’s road network, despite being littered with potholes, is an engineering masterpiece. We have motorways to get us from one side of the country to the other as fast as possible, tunnels to save us from having to go the long way around mountains and hills and, of course, some of the most striking bridges in the world. But, venture out to some of the more rural areas and you’ll find something that has barely evolved since Roman times – river fords.
A rather simplistic way of crossing a small river or stream, fords were initially designed to be traversed on horseback. After all, a horse doesn’t have to worry about taking gallons of water into its engine. Nowadays, they’re safe to cross with caution. Poor decision making about when to cross a ford could cost you your car, as many people have found out at viral sensation Rufford Ford.
While Rufford Ford was making headlines, there was another crossing that is far more breathtaking than a little old river ford. The Strood, near Colchester, is a long stretch of Roman origin and one of the world’s only periodically flooded roads. And we’re not talking about a paltry stream here – The Strood gets covered by the sea! In fact, it’s the one and only route onto and off of Mersea Island! This fascinating road should be researched before you attempt to drive on it, so read on for more information about Essex’s Strood…
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The Strood In Action
With The Strood quite literally being a road through the sea, it makes for some spectacular imagery, as showcased by YouTube user Just Harry Johnson and his drone! The uniqueness of this particular road is captured at the 20 second mark, when a pair of kayakers paddle across it!
Where Is The Strood?
The Strood might sound like a bit of a silly name, but it’s actually part of the B102 named Mersea Road. It’s also known as the Strood Causeway. The road spans the gap between Mersea Island and mainland England, just south of Colchester, Essex. The island itself juts out into the sea between the River Blackwater and Brightlingsea.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a road to nowhere, though – around 7,000 people live on Mersea Island and it also attracts plenty of tourists, with several holiday parks in operation!
When To Visit The Strood
First things first, The Strood is an active road that hundreds of people will use each day to get to and from the mainland. Rufford Ford was closed after ‘tourists’ flocked to the area and made it hazardous to drive through. If you’d like to visit The Strood, please do so sensibly and in a manner that not only abides by road laws, but also doesn’t interfere with those going about their day.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about when it’s safe to traverse The Strood. The best thing to do is to check the tide times for the area. These are displayed on the ‘Stroodcam’ website, which also shows a 24 hour live feed of the road! If it’s high tide (around 5 metres) don’t try to cross. Join the queue of sensible drivers waiting for the sea levels to drop and take in the scenery in the meantime.
We get that the whole purpose of visiting The Strood would be to try your luck at beating the tide across, but please pay attention to these times and don’t chance it. As you can see, the results can be both terrifying and financially costly!
Credit: More with Mat (YouTube)
What Happens To Cars That Cross During High Tide?
Any vehicles that try to cross at high tide will almost certainly become stuck in the water. It’s unlikely that they’ll be swept away thanks to the fencing along each side of the road, but the vehicle could certainly begin to float about with its wheels losing contact with the road. In the worst cases, rescue boats can and will be sent out to help ensure the safety of the vehicle’s occupants and, if possible, to push the car back to dry land.
Any car that becomes stuck in the middle of The Strood, unless kitted out for deep water traversal (like some 4x4s can be) will have a very, very strong chance of being written off by the insurance company that’s covering it. Getting water of any kind through the air intake can be a death sentence, which is why Rufford Ford has proved so deadly, but here we’re dealing with sea water.
In fact, even if it doesn’t get sucked through the air intake, the salty water will wreak havoc on your car, causing all sorts of rusting and corrosion. If you do find yourself passing over The Strood and getting sea water in and around your chassis, give the car a thorough rinsing with clean, salt-free water as soon as possible.
Or, if your car has bitten the dust after a trip to Mersea Island, sell it with Scrap Car Comparison. We’ll compare the best prices for your vehicle, offered by scrap and salvage buyers in your local area, and we’ll even arrange for it to be collected at no extra cost. With a network covering 99% of the UK, we’re sure to have an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) on our network that’s ready and willing to purchase your car or van. Get a price for your vehicle now by calling our sales team on 03333 44 99 50 or by using our scrap value calculator.