trainspots logo

Written by Richard Tearle - 23 Sep 2004
last update by Brian Carter - 26 Sep 2004
New Mobile Site
We have just launched a new mobile version of this site - m.trainspots. This page will use your smart device's GPS to loctate you and guide you to locations that are close to your present location.
Location notes
A river crossing on the estuary to the north of Manningtree station, on the Great Eastern Line. This location is also called Cattawade by some, although the village of that name is several miles away.
Railway type and traffic
All passenger trains go to London (to the South) and to Norwich, Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Peterborough and Cambridge (to the North). Due to the layout of the junction just to the south this location, services to Harwich from London are not viewable, but northbound freights from Harwich are.
All trains are operated by Greater Anglia. On passenger duties: Class 90 with DBSO/DVT combinations, Class 150, Class 153, Class 170, for Greater Anglia. Class 321, 360 for Greater Great Eastern. Unlike the WCML, the DBSO/DVTís are, usually, at the north end of the train, with the locomotive towards the south.
Also expect to see lots of freight running. The locomotives you can expect to see are: Freightliner Class 66, 70, 86, 90; DB Schenker 66; D.R.S Class 20's.
A rural location next to the estuary.
Some of the photographic spots around this area are only accessible at low tide, and some are at their best during high tide. Tidal information can be found by selecting Mistley port which is the closest.
The area doesnít get many people walking about, just the odd dog walker, and a few children on their way to and from school.
Road directions
This location is just off the A137, which you can access from Colchester if youíre coming from the south, or off the A14 is coming from the north.
From the south follow the road past the railway station, and you should come to a level crossing, with a single track road under the railway line. Pass this, and continue north for a little way and you will see a small car park on the right hand side of the road. Again from the north, look out for this car park, it is just after the sluice gates.

Click here to set up your location for directions to this location

Manningtree, Cattawade map co-ordinates
Park in the free nature reserve car park; when you are to the west of the line, your car will be visible, but passing to the east side of the line it will be obscured by the railway line, If this car park is full, it is possible to park in the trading estate just to the south of the line, and following the footpath through the estate onto the estuary.
Public transport
Manningtree has a fast and frequent train service from the north (Ipswich and Norwich), and from London. It is a short walk from the station to this location.

Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
There are no amenities at the location, but Manningtree stationís buffet is famed for its real ale.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Manningtree, Cattawade

Googly map
Streetmap links
Manningtree, Cattawade general view map
Manningtree, Cattawade close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Manningtree, Cattawade

Who likes this location on facebook

Railway Gen Group
Anglia Gen
Photographic notes
There are a number of viewpoints where photographs can be taken at this location, but all of them are with the camera pointing north [*1]. Some are better at different points of the day, and whether the tide is up or not. To the east of the line, accessible via a little tunnel under the line, there are a number of different view points, which are accessible throughout most of the day, with only late afternoon/early evening being problematic due to the light. Iíve seen other photographers use small steps to get higher, but Iíve not found this to be useful. When the tide is fully out, it is possible to walk onto the mud flats and take a full side view of the line but be careful, and donít wear your best shoes.
After midday you are also able to use the west side of the line. It is also possible to take full side on photographs from this side by standing just off the car park.
Normal lenses are better suited in this location, but good use of the 24-70, and 70-200 produces a good range of photographs.
Unfortunately was the water is tidal in nature, itís never still enough to get good reflection photographs.
Finally, some road noise (from the A137) can be heard from this location, but on the east of the line you will be shielded from it by the railway line. Oh, and if there are breaks in the railway action, there is plenty of wildlife around to keep you entertained.

[*1] It might be possible to get another viewpoint, but Iíve not tried it. On the other side of estuary is a bird spotters hut, which I have seen used in the past. This is accessed from further up the road, and is not a public footpath. On sunny days you will be pointing your camera into the sun, and the hut is cut off from the main land during high tides.


The line here runs north east to south west, so the sun is only on the nose for southbound trains from mid morning. The sun moves to the other side during the afternoon; shots from the east side are possible until around 14.00 or so. Note that it is eventually planned that one Anglia trains will have the loco on the north end of the train - this will happen when all of the mark 2s have been replaced by mark 3s.
Links to photographs at this location

Richard Tearle's Photographs - Manningtree

General views - All photographs © Richard Tearle unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west

Fig 1 - Looking west

Across the mud flats, tide out

Fig 2 - Looking east

Fig 2 - Looking east

In the evening

Fig 3 - Looking west

Fig 3 - Looking west

Fig 4 - Looking west

Fig 4 - Looking west

A tightter angle to fig 3

Fig 5 -Looking east

Fig 5 -Looking east

Flat, side on, angle.

Fig 6 - Looking west - Photo by Brian Carter

Fig 6 - Looking west - <i>Photo by Brian Carter</i>

Fig 7 - Looking west - Photo by Brian Carter

Fig 7 - Looking west - <i>Photo by Brian Carter</i>

Fig 8 - Looking west - Photo by Brian Carter

Fig 8 - Looking west - <i>Photo by Brian Carter</i>

Location Video

Back to the top

All information contained within this is site is © Trainspots. The images used on this site remain the property of the original photographer, as credited at the top of the page, and are used with their kind permission.

The information on these pages is supplied for the benefit of railway enthusiasts who carry out a harmless hobby, and through the medium of photography and video, actually promote the railway industry. Railway enthusiasts can also act as eyes and ears against railway vandalism, and as such should surely be encouraged to do so by the supply of adequate information such as is found on this website.

This site has been created to assist railway photographers in their travels around the country. It is based on the personal knowledge and experience. No liability can be held against the web site or its contributions for incorrect information. Trainspots will endeavour to check all information and corrections will be accepted and posted accordingly.

Advice as to the locations general environment is given as a guide on each page. This information is a GUIDE only. ALWAYS be careful with your equipment, Trainspots can not be held responsible for your personal security. Avoid leaving your property on display for all to see, be aware of your surroundings at all times. There are, sadly, people who will not think twice about trying to steal your equipment.

Trainspots DOES NOT condone trespass and none of the information on this site should be taken as a right to trespass on either railway or private land. To the best of our knowledge all locations are publicly accessible areas, where they are not contact information will be given to the appropriate authority for permission to be obtained.

The content of this site is created and intended for all age ranges but the content of sites linked from this site are not subject to the same intentions. Trainspots will attempt to check links for validity but as time passes and the site grows this will not always be possible. Broken, or indeed updates to, links should be submitted to the editor for inclusion in the updates. All links external to the Trainspots site are opened in a new browser window. Trainspots has been running now for over 10 years and there are imitation sites and guides to railfotspots. But we are a free site and we continue on the path we started out on over a decade ago to provide a useful guide to UK Railway Photographic Locations.