Like my old Class War chum Ian Bone, I have always had a fascination with England's piers and seaside towns.
Today I braved the cold weather and dragged the family to Walton-on-the-Naze, which boasts the second longest pier in England. Size of course is no guarantee of quality (compare Walton's whopper to Cromer's small but perfectly formed offering and you will see what I mean) but go for a stroll under Walton pier and things get a little more interesting, as these pictures hopefully attest.
Over the years the concerete pillars have become so weather beaten, in the distance they look like old timber supports jutting upwards out of the sand. Step under the pier, and it is easy to imagine you are in a tunnel, rather than on the Essex coast.
On one level, Walton has seen better days. Take a look behind the fading grandeur and dereliction though, and some real gems remain.