The river Crouch, looking from Burnham Beach towards the Baltic Wharf, May 2018 © Nick Skeens

The River Crouch is, in effect, an estuary, and as such is mainly tidal seawater.

It is the river immediately north of the eastern Thames.

On clear days, as you look south, ie across the river from the quay, the upper works of ships moving on the Thames can be seen from Burnham, as can the Kent coast (a distant line of blue hills) and the Thames Estuary windfarm.

The square tower blocks in the distance and to your right mark central Southend. They are around 7.5 miles away.

The River Crouch flows low through flat landscape under vast skies. It is famous for its yachting and oysters.

Fish include mullet, sea bass, flounders, sole, skate and herring, depending on the season. Seals live in two colonies in the river, one in the river mouth and the other in the River Roach. Sometimes loan seals can be seen swimming through the moorings.

Further upriver (towards the source) the Crouch Valley heights rise gently from each bank, which is marked by saltings, marshland, mudflats, and, increasingly, vineyards.

There are even some sandy beaches where a quirk of the tide filters out the silt.

Reporting a problem or making a suggestion

If you have spotted a problem or want to make a suggestion about the River Crouch, you can send an email to this address,, using the subject title, COMPLAINT – RIVER, or SUGGESTION – RIVER.

You may also want to contact The Crouch Harbour Authority.

River mouth and river name

The mouth of the river  is marked on the north shore by Holliwell Point. This is some five miles to the east (your left as viewed from the quay)

At the western end,  towards its source, the Crouch ceases to be navigable at Battlesbridge, 17.5 miles to the west.

The river was once known as the Huolve or Wholve, this name taken from the original name for Hullbridge, which is about 10 miles to the west, opposite South Woodham Ferrers.

The deepwater channel

The channel, or fairway, is the deepest part of the river.

It is on the southern (far) side of the Crouch (some 30ft deep, depending on the state of the tide), and is regularly dredged to allow large ships to make their way to the Baltic Wharf opposite Creeksea. It is marked with lit navigation buoys.

The red buoys mark the port (left) margin of the fairway (as you approach from the sea which is to your left as viewed from the quay) and the green buoys mark the starboard (right) side.

If you are sailing, motoring or rowing on the river, you MUST keep clear of the large ships because they have no room to turn and take a long time to stop. And they are a lot bigger than you.

River video

You can experience an overview of the River Crouch by watching this short video, created by students from Ormiston Rivers Academy.

To learn more about their Coastal Project, just click here.


Swimmers beware – see Swimming in the Crouch

Tides, wind and floods

For more information, click here.