Said to be the oldest church in England, the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall stands isolated on the flat Essex landscape against the glistening sea. Enjoy the quiet dignity and remote charm of this centuries old church, which is the focus of an annual pilgrimage on the first Saturday in July.
A. Bradwell-on-Sea Marina
In Bradwell-on-Sea, go to the left of Marina Tower on the metalled drive. At the end of the marina pass right of a brick building and climb onto the bank. Descend left to a field and bear right around the edge; right through a waymarked gap and along the right edge of another field. Continue across the next field to the road.
Cross to a bridge and continue to a street. Turn left then right alongside the fence. Continue across fields and woodland edges to join a lane past Packards Farm. Turn right to reach a road.
B. St Peter’s Way
Turn left and continue into the small village of Tillingham. Go left through the churchyard and bear left to a gate. Turn right onto a farm track to the right of a hedge to join a lane. Carry on between the barns at Dots & Melons. Where the track swings right, go straight on to cross a bridge.
Cross a ditch and go right on the track until you cross a wide bridge to the right. Go left following the ditch and head towards the sea wall. At the old sluice, follow the ditch to the right and at the corner head left to eventually reach Marsh House pumping station. This section incorporates parts of St Peter’s Way.
C. Coastal pilgrimage
Turn left along the sea wall, which you follow for over two miles. Before reaching a house and scrub go left down the bank to reach the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall.
The chapel was built by St Cedd, Bishop of Essex in 660AD from the ruins of a Roman fort. In the 18th century it was used to store grain and shelter cattle until it was restored in the 1920s and restarted life as a chapel.
After some quiet contemplation, walk away from the entrance along a track that joins the road into Bradwell-on-Sea, passing Dengie Flats – a Special Protection Area of mudflats and salt marshes. At the church go right and continue out of the village. Pass one junction, and at the next, take a wide track left across the fields to the road. Turn left at the fingerpost after the pub back to the marina.
How to Get There
Bradwell-on-Sea is located 25 miles east of Chelmsford. There is a rail service to Southminster and a bus service runs from there to Bradwell.
Find Out More
The Green Man
Bradwell on Sea