The hidden Essex Island so remote you can only access it at certain times

Northey Island
-Credit: (Image: National Trust)

If you’re planning some time away from everything from the school run to the office, a trip down to Northey Island is the remedy to all of the chaos of everyday life. Just south of Chelmsford on the Blackwater Estuary the island, described as “the closest you’ll get to wilderness in Essex”, pulls away from the mainland, often separating itself from the town of Maldon in the high tide.

For the ultimate peace and quiet, the remote island is a haven for wildlife that you can discover on the trail which skirts around 2.8 miles of coastline. Northey is teeming with thousands of waders and wildfowl amongst the geese, redshank, curlew and plovers who call it home, and you can hear them call as you absorb the rich views of the Essex coast.

The wild views are not the only wild thing about the island. Northey was the base of a Viking tribe, who set up camp here before the Battle of Maldon in 991 AD. A Viking ruler was cut down, and England’s earliest known poem was written about it, after the leader had threatened the ‘heathens’ of Maldon.

Spot yourself in pictures as hundreds compete in Maldon Mud Race this year

READ MORE: The winding Essex walk along a riverbank that ends at a castle

Art continues to take its inspiration from the island to this day, as the National Trust runs a series of arts events, using Northey as its settlement. All of the events are free and family friendly, and include a red salt clay workshop with a ceramicist, using the local clay and an art walk with local artist, Sara Hayes. The artwork will eventually form the island’s very own installation of public art.

Northey Island is a remote and exposed coastal site accessed via a tidal causeway, so extra attention is needed when planning your visit. Please check local tide times for Maldon. Under no circumstances attempt to cross the causeway if it is covered and allow plenty of time to get across.

When you're finished making your very own art installation, you can cross back over to Maldon by foot and find a cosy pub or one of the many food outlets at Promenade Park.

For further information to help you plan a safe visit please email

Get more What's On news from EssexLive straight to your inbox for FREE