We’d made a couple of bookings to cover the half-term holidays. The 1st of these brought us to the village of Tolleshunt D’arcy, just to the east of Maldon, and the D’Arcy Equestrian Camping & Caravanning certificated site. (See my review here).
On Saturday afternoon (the day after we arrived) we headed back to Maldon just to have a little look around. We parked outside of town and walked in along the river. Once on the main street we found a little café down a side street – if we’d waited we would have found a far nicer (but busier) one a little further on down a quaint little lane. (Mrs ….. Famous Tea Rooms…. sorry, I should have taken more notice 😦 )
A little further along we came across ‘The Moot Hall’ a narrow building steeped in history, but originally built as a family home in the 15th century. We were a little too early for the tour, which started at 3.30pm, so we missed out on that one, but the leaflet we were given looked very interesting and the lady manning the hall gave us a fair bit of information.
We then passed the church and found ‘The Blue Boar’ , a 14th Century inn currently undergoing much refurbishment. We stopped for a quick drink in the public bar. I asked about ghosts, naturally, and although the barman was clearly a non-believer he told us that apparently there is meant to be a little girl in 1 of the rooms over the bar. He also told us that once while a local ghost tour guide was doing his spiel outside the pub, the owner’s daughter popped up at one of the windows completely by chance!
On the way home we headed down towards Tollesbury marina, signposted out of the village where we were staying. It was miles down the road and in the middle of nowhere! The village we drove through on our way to the marina was much bigger than I was expecting.
This is mudflat country! With the tide out there were boats standing in numerous channels in the mud; we found it difficult to imagine how they could ever get in or out (notwithstanding that many of the boats were clearly never going anywhere again!) We found an outdoor pool that was being very well used by the locals, and from here we saw lads racing across the road and through the mud (see the main picture!) This took Calv back through the years because as a youngster he regularly used to go ‘mud-larking’ in the mud of Portsmouth Harbour 🙂
From here we wandered back towards the old ‘saltings’ that we’d driven past on our way in. We bought an ice-cream and then found our way onto a path out to the old lightship. This was a pleasant afternoon out (and we did enjoy watching the lads trying to run across the mud – they were sinking up to their knees at times, but clearly knew what they were doing 🙂 )
On Sunday we headed towards Mersea Island, firstly to West Mersea and then to East Mersea. West Mersea was very, very busy and we struggled to park. We turned round when we came up to road signs telling us that both options were dead-ends and managed to park on the side of the road eventually (in a tiny little spot).
The tide was out when we arrived and we walked over a wooden causeway towards the beach, seeing people crabbing, sitting enjoying the sun and even in the water! We walked a fair way up the beach, eventually coming up a path into the village, where there were a number of tearooms open.
Making our way back towards the car we saw that the causeway we’d crossed to get to the bridge was now underwater. However people were still happily walking across it!
When we made it back to the car we found that the water was also lapping at our tyres – we got back just in time it would appear!
We thought that we’d head up towards ‘The Old City’ as we’d seen it on a map on an information board in the town. However, this too was cut off by the tide!
We then headed towards East Mersea where there is a lovely walk along the estuary. We’re pretty confident that you could walk, perhaps even cycle, from here back to West Mersea.
On our final day we headed towards Burnham on Crouch, as usual with no idea what to expect! As it happens this is a lovely waterside town with a good degree of history, and a lovely quayside hosting a good few sailing clubs. There are several, very well kept, houseboats moored and a lovely big old boat being restored. There is also, sadly, a rather nice old boat on it’s side. It looks as though it will probably never float again.
We wandered along the quayside, had some lunch at the Quayside Café/Restaurant, eating it whilst sat outside watching a couple of sailing races. Calv just had a crab salad and I had a prawn jacket – probably the best lunch we’ve had out since we’ve been away. The prawns were something special, and the chips were, quite possibly, the best I’ve ever had 🙂
On Bank Holiday Monday we headed the other way to Burnham on Crouch and Bradwell on Sea (to visit St Peters Chapel). Burnham on Crouch is a delightful waterside town with several sailing clubs and some lovely boats moored.
After a wander along the quay we had a lovely lunch at the Quayside Restaurant watching a couple of sailing races. This place has a really lovely feel to it as well as our favourite historic buildings!
Leaving Burnham we were headed towards Bradwell on Sea to find St Peters Chapel. On the way we stopped to have a quick look at the church in Southminster. Here we could see clearly the meld of ancient and modern, such as the ancient tower and gatehouse and the modern gates (keeping us out…)
Arriving in Bradwell we found out there was more to the little town than the chapel by the sea. There was a WWII airfield here, which is still evident, and a memorial to the airmen. Turning by the current church you eventually find parking for the old chapel (still used on occasion), although it is a bit of a walk to visit. It’s worth it though 🙂
We had had a lovely, and rather unexpected, day out. The next day we moved out of Essex and into Suffolk 🙂 (And I’m now only 3 days behind!)