Although we don’t visit here that often, St Peters Chapel area is one of our favourite walks at anytime of the year. We arrived early Sunday morning as it was forecast to chuck it down with rain at midday and although both Sharon and I are equipped to walk in the rain, its just not that enjoyable so we try and plan our excursions around the weather.
The chapel itself stands solitary at the end of a short track on a small mound of grass that overlooks the Blackwater Estuary. I would love to see how visible the chapel is from the water as after all it had to be seen by the passing passing mariners. It is believed to of been built around 654 by Bishop Cedd after he travelled down from Lindisfarne to spread Christianity. It fell into ruin after his death to the plague and records do not show of it being used again until 144. In 1920 it was restored and reconsecrated as a chapel and was classed as a Grade 1 listed building in 1959. It is still used as a place worship a couple of times a week.
As you pass the chapel the pathway runs to the left where, once you have climbed a few steps, you end up on top of the sea defence wall. From here you have an excellent view of the marshes directly behind the chapel and the long stretch of beach, only exposed whilst the tide is out as it was when we were there, which runs through to the power station then continues on to Bradwell Marina which I think is 3 miles, but don’t quote me on that. You also have a good view inland across the farmland. We only walked around three quarters of the way toward the power station as the clouds had started to gather and it was obvious the rain was going to arrive sooner than predicted.
You can walk along the top of the sea wall but we prefer to walk along the stoney beach as it allows the boys to run through the soft estuarine mud and splash around in any puddles that may of been left behind by the receding tide. We did walk out to the concrete barges to get a closer look but could not stay there too long as the tide was rapidly coming in. You have to keep an eye on the water around the Essex coast as most shorelines are quite shallow so that means that when the tide starts to run it quickly races across the shallows and can cut you off from the shoreline very quickly. It is quite surprising how big those concrete barges are really when you get up close to them. They are not particularly interesting but the way the silt has been deposited by the tide around them is good to see if you are interested in the sort of thing, which I am. Shortly after getting back onto the beach the clouds started to thicken and in the distance we could see that it had started to rain so we opted to head back to the van to save getting a soaking. It was the right decision to make as no sooner had we got the dogs settled in the back and then sat our asses down in the front than it started to rain.
I have recorded the route we took in my KOMOOT account so click this LINK if you would like to see the exact route.
All in all a lovely early mornings walk along the shores of the River Blackwater.