The basin was dug out of the marsh to enable sea going vessels to enter the canal and unload their cargoes onto the barges for transportation inland to Chelmsford. The navigation was completed in 1796 and commericial traffic traffic to Chelmsford by canal ceased in 1972.
The canal has found a new use by leisure craft and the Basin is a favourite location for visitors and walkers, as well as being a safe haven for dozens of craft of all types and sizes.
From the sea walls at Heybridge Basin you can take in the splendid views of the Blackwater estuary and Osea Island, and you may even see an historic Thames Barge on a cruise out from Maldon.
From here you can walk the sea wall path to Maldon, or in the opposite direction, to Goldhanger and beyond. You can also walk the canal towpath to Heybridge or Beeleigh Falls and the acient hamlet of Beeleigh.
There are two pubs at Heybridge Basin, so if you prefer the less active option, you can sit and relax with a drink and a meal and watch the activity of this popular marine centre. At high tide, boats leave the safety of the Basin through the huge lock gates and enter the estuary.
There is also a tea room run by the famous Tiptree Preserve company where you can get a cup of tea or coffee and a cake, sandwich or meal. Ice cream is also available from the kiosk.
Also available is rowing boat hire so that you can explore the canal at your own pace. The sturdy rowing boats are designed for a maximum of 4 adults and are available for hire on an hourly basis.
Find them on the canal by the steps from the Daisy Meadow car park during the season.
You can reach the Basin by car from the B1026 Goldhanger Road and parking is free in the Daisy Meadow car park which is next to the canal.
Alternatively, you can walk along the navigation towpath from the Wave Bridge or follow the sea wall from Hall Road Heybridge.