Arthur Ransome Wiki

Mike Field's drawing of the Secret Archipelago and its surrounding area

The Secret Archipelago is the setting for Arthur Ransome's book Secret Water.

Native prototype: Hamford Water[]

Hamford Water also known as the Walton Backwaters, is the next coastal inlet to the south of Harwich Harbour, and near Walton-on-the-Naze.

The first mention of the area in the Swallows and Amazons series is in the map "Chart of approaches to Harwich" in We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, ch3, where the network of islands is visible next to the named town of Walton and the headland Naze.

The network of islands and waterways is accurately depicted in Secret Water.

Native names[]

Many of the native names are quite as good as Arthur Ransome's fictional names:

  • Secret Water=Hamford Water
  • Goblin Creek=Kirby Creek
  • Swallow Island=Horsey Island
  • Mastodon Island=Skipper Island
  • Straits of Magellan=The Dardanelles
  • Amazon Creek=Walton Channel
  • Witch's Quay=Kirby Quay
  • Flint Island=Stone Marsh
  • Peewitland=New Island
  • Tern Island=Peewit Island
  • Tierra del Fuego=Hedge-end Island
  • Northwest Passage=(superbly rude) Cunnyfur Ooze
  • Bridget Island=Honey Island

Christina Hardyment, writing in Arthur Ransome and Capt. Flint's Trunk noted that Sinbad's Creek is a notable fully-fictional location within the Archipelago.

(Native names from Ordnance Survey Pathfinder map 'Walton-on-the-Naze)

Native links[]