Almost the entire perimeter of Essex can be travelled on foot, often on top of a sea wall. It is here that you can fully experience the never-ending cycle of sea and mud. Mud sounds so unappealing, yet when you look at it, it can be as reflective as water and just as changeable in colour. One advantage mud has over the sea, is its fascinating range of textures. Another is the satisfying explosion it makes when you throw a great big stone into it.
Stepping off the promenade at Maldon gave us our first close encounter with the Essex mud, as we followed the coast a short way to Northey Island. Hardly anyone ventured down this way, which seemed a shame. It provided such a nice contrast to Promenade Park.
Northey Island is owned by the National Trust. As well as being a nature reserve, it has a five bedroom house available for holiday lets. Like neighbouring Osea Island it is joined to the mainland by a causeway, and with the tide out we were sorely tempted to nip over. But being the law-abiding citizens that we are, we obeyed the PRIVATE sign and phoned the number on the NT poster for permission to cross. Immediate permission was not forthcoming. National Trust cards were mentioned instead, and that we should book an appointment to be shown around. We said we'd phone later in the week but the tides confounded us.
|Northey Island causeway|
We headed back as the sun set.