- Start: Jubilee Field car park, St Lawrence Bay (GR 955 055)
- End: Jubilee Field car park, St Lawrence Bay (GR 955 055)
- Country: England
- County: Essex
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: Two pubs in St Lawrence Bay
- Ordnance Survey: Explorer 176 Blackwater Estuary
- Difficulty: Medium
A walk around St Lawrence, known as Stone by locals, provides a fabulous opportunity to enjoy some stunning views across the River Blackwater Words and images by Charlotte Fellingham
FROM the Jubilee Field car park in St Lawrence (also known as Stone by locals), turn left and walk into the village. As the road ends at the river, turn left following a path along the sea wall. This passes boatyards with stunning views across the River Blackwater. The River Blackwater is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the amount of wildfowl it supports in the winter and is the largest estuary in Essex north of the River Thames. The path leads away from the village and out into the countryside, with marvellous views of Ramsey Marsh to the left. Ramsey Marsh is a very important site for wildlife, especially the Bembridge Beetle, a type of water beetle that was recently discovered after an absence of 50 years. There have also been sitings of black kite.
Just after the marsh, a path and gate are signed with yellow arrows off the sea wall. Make your way down the slope and through the gate. The path follows the hedge along the edge of the field. Go through the next gate, a bit stiff, and follow the fenced-off path all the way to a large field in front of Steeplewick Farm. Turn left before entering the field proper and up onto an old sea wall, between the hedges and the field. Stay on the path on top of the bunds, all the way round Steeplewick Farm. Eventually cross a bridge and go through another gate. Once through turn right, walking alongside the fence and on top of the bund. As the bund peters out, follow the yellow arrow across the field and turn right along the fenceline. At the second large tree, a yellow arrow directs diagonally right across the field towards a gate, with a reflective yellow badge on it. Go through the gate, across the bridge, through the second gate and turn right along the fenceline, making sure the stiff gates are shut correctly. At the corner of the field, turn left and follow the fenceline to the road.
At the road, turn left. As the road bends to the left, keep ahead into a lay-by and then onto the footpath into a field, labelled St Peters Way. St Peters Way is a 45-mile route from Chipping Ongar to St Peters on the Wall church at Bradwell. Keep following the field edge and St Peters Way signs. After a while, the path continues straight ahead into a new woodland. Go over a bridge, across a track and follow the yellow arrows ahead. The path leaves the wide grassy track into a field, keep ahead through the crop walking towards a bench and waymark post, just slightly to the right. At the bench, the path swaps to the right-hand side of the hedge. At the road, go straight over and take the footpath that goes diagonally to the right toward the water tower.
At the other side of the field, go across the bridge and follow the path beside the water tower into the farmyard of St Lawrence Hall. The path turns into concrete and goes to the right-hand side of the green barn, following the yellow arrow stuck to the side. The track then goes down to the road, past the church. At the road, turn left, then right onto the next footpath by the beacon. The path goes straight down the hill, through the crop, to the road. At the road,
turn left, then right up the road signposted St Lawrence Bay. On the way back into the village
you pass Motts Farm on the left, the only place in St Lawrence to suffer at the hands of
an earthquake that shook Essex on April 22, 1884. The Reverend Mills took notes stating
that it had damaged many buildings in Wivenhoe, Colchester, Bradwell and Tillingham,
but the parish of St Lawrence went virtually unscathed, except that a few tiles were shaken from Motts Farm. Follow the road past Motts Farm and the caravan park on your way back
to the car park.
Distance: 7 miles / 11.4 km / 3 hours
Terrain: No stiles, some road walking, steep banks off the sea wall
Start: Jubilee Field car park,
St Lawrence Bay (GR 955 055)
Map: Explorer 176 Blackwater Estuary
Parking: Jubilee Field, free parking
Refreshments: Two pubs in St Lawrence Bay
Tourist Information Centre: Maldon District Tourist Info Centre, Wenlock Way, High Street, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5AD. Tel: 01621 856503
Places to visit: St Peter on the Wall Chapel, Bradwell on Sea, for more information visit www.bradwellchapel.org
Mangapps Railway Museum, Burnham on Crouch, for more information visit www.mangapps.co.uk or
call 01621 784898