The only place is Essex

Essex, home of fake tan, crazy eyelashes and X Factor contestants. A coastline blighted by industry and pylons. England’s national joke. If you think you know what Essex is all about think again. Essex is also unspoilt beauty, lonely coastlines, secret islands and a place where time and again people have been drawn to step away from the ills of modern life and try to forge a better world.




St Peter’s on the Wall, Bradwell

I spent the weekend at Othona at Bradwell on Sea on the Dengie Peninsula, working, eating and laughing alongside a great bunch of people from all over the world who had chosen to step aside from the modern world and enjoy a simpler, kinder, communal way of life for a few days.



Othona’s original accommodation used in the 1950’s


Things have got a bit more comfortable nowadays




2 thoughts on “The only place is Essex

  1. Bradwell is my life-long second ‘local patch’ after Rainham Marshes. Yes despite Essex’s reputation it has a very fine wild coast, better than Kent or Norfolk in my opinion. If you follow the sea wall south of Bradwell, you can soon be into a big sky wilderness, despite the intensive farming, the saltmarshes extend for miles out onto wader-filled mudflats. Some of the hawthorns below the wall were planted by myself, 10-20 years ago and often hold corn buntings and and migrants. Marshouse outfall is one of my favourite places and I (with Clive) found an Isabeline shrike there having come from the steppes of Asia. the only one ever recorded in Essex! Wow, that was wild.
    Just south of Othona is the Bradwell Bird Observatory, drop in for tea if anyone is about, birders can be clicky but Bradwell is such a friendly place to be.
    Barry O’ Dowd

    • Thanks Barry, I was really knocked out by the coastline, just unexpectedly beautiful. I shamefully don’t know Essex very well at all. Happy to hear more tips on where to go

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