July 8, 2015
Shifting sands uncover historic sea flushing ponds on Burnham beach

Shifting sands on Burnham-On-Sea beach have uncovered this wooden structure, which local historians believe is an important part of the town's shipping history.

They say the object in the sands just off the South Esplanade near the jetty is likely to be part of Burnham's sea water flushing ponds, which were used more than 50 years ago.

John Strickland, chair of Burnham Historical Society, told "The wooden framework is close to The Esplanade and could be from a time when steamers docked alongside the jetty."

"In order for steamers with their day-trippers to come alongside the jetty, the sand on the south side had to be removed daily, and this was achieved in part by the use of sea water flushing ponds."

"The incoming tide would fill the wooden framed ponds and at low water the sluice was opened, flushing the sand away and ensuring there was sufficient draft for the next steamer to dock."

The paddle steamer The Waverley, pictured here, was one of the steamers that frequently used to dock alongside Burnham-On-Sea's jetty to take visitors on trips around the Bristol Channel many decades ago.

It would have relied on the sea water flushing ponds to clear the area next to the jetty, say historians. More local history is available at


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