In my last post I described the piece of land between Southend and Maldon as having the appearance of an animal’s head with the River Crouch as the mouth. The upper part of the ‘head’, with the northern part resembling a blunt rhinoceros horn, is the Dengie Peninsula, a bleak, end-of-world environment consisting of a vast expanse of marshland extending between the River Crouch to the south, the North Sea to the east, and the River Blackwater to the north. Standing proud among this eerie landscape is the ancient chapel of St Peter-On-The-Wall, one of Britain’s oldest churches, located on the site of the Roman fortress of Othona. It was a Northumbrian missionary called St Cedd, who arrived in AD653, who built the chapel out of stones from the fortress. The church can be accessed from Bradwell-on-Sea, but only on foot for the last half mile. Each year on the first weekend in July hundreds of people take part in a pilgrimage which involves walking the two miles from St Thomas’ Church in Bradwell-On-Sea to St Peters.
Bradwell-on-Sea is a small village surrounded by marshes and reclaimed farmland, and nearby Bradwell Waterside lies on a narrow creek separating the mainland from Pewet Island, which disappears at high tide. This whole area is dominated by the decommissioned Bradwell Power Station. Within the last few weeks it has been announced that Bradwell is one of eight locations earmarked as new sites for nuclear power stations, where the next generation of reactors will be built. The plan has, predictably, split the populace down the middle, with some lamenting the reliance on nuclear power for the country’s energy needs, while others are cheered by the prospect of the new jobs that such a development will bring.
Map of the area.
photo © 2008 Nick | more info (via: Wylio)