The stunning Essex hike where you end up at a 1000-year-old landmark

St-Peter-on-the-Wall chapel at Bradwell-on-Sea
-Credit: (Image: Essex Chronicle)

Essex walkers fancying a challenge this summer do not need to travel far - as there is a beautiful 45-mile-long walk through the countryside and coastline where you will encounter ancient landmarks, nature reserves and abandoned railways.

St Peter’s Way is a 45-mile-long walk through the countryside of Essex starting from the village of Chipping Ongar and going all the way to the ancient 7th century chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall on the remote Dengie Peninsula.

The route will take you through some of the most spectacular countryside in Essex following field boundaries, through ancient woodland, over commons and hills down to the marshes on Essex’s estuaries and coastline.

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Along the way you will encounter much of the diverse and stunning wildlife that Essex has to offer. Whilst most of the walk is fairly easygoing and reasonably flat it does include stiles and kissing gates.

The route, which starts in Chipping Ongar, goes through Blackmore, West Hanningfield, Rudley Green, Maylandsea all the way to Bradwell-On-Sea is full of historic artefacts, natural beauties and different places to stop off while you complete the long trek.

The highlights include the estuarine salt marshes, Old Maldon railway, The Bell pub at Purleigh and Thrift Wood nature reserve. But the highlight is the chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, which is a millennium-old chapel with some rich ancient history in Bradwell, as well as a sign that you have completed the St. Peters Way walk!

In Roman times, the area you finish this walk in was the defensive fort of Othona. After the fall of the Roman Empire the fort became a village that a missionary called Cedd came to in 653AD.

Cedd built the chapel dedicated to St Peter across the west wall of the old Roman fort using the stones and tiles from the fort remains. A lot of the building you see today is exactly the same as it was when it was built over a thousand years ago.

However, during Elizabethan times the Chapel fell into disuse and was used as a barn probably housing animals, grain and carts! If you look carefully at the walls, you can spot where the farmer removed some of the wall to get his carts in. Visitors are welcome to enter the chapel to find out more or just to sit for a while.

This walk is long and best spread over a few days, but if you have a love of adventure it is definitely worth a go this summer!