TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Explore the historic maritime towns and villages of the Maldon District. Beyond Maldon and Burnham-on-Crouch, you can enjoy what our villages have to offer, which includes pictureque walks, independent cafés and tearooms, estuary views, historic pubs, family-run businesses, scenic trails and more. Discover the villages located in the Dengie Peninsula and along the River Crouch, and explore the villages north of the Blackwater Estuary.

NORTH BLACKWATER VILLAGES

Explore the villages located on the northern side of the Maldon District and the northen side of the Blackwater Estuary. Much of this area is made up of wooded areas and farmland, and is interspersed with villages that date from the Domesday book of 1086. Along the estuary itself, there are several villages which have rich maritime heritage and are popular for their views and pleasant walks.

VILLAGES OF THE DENGIE

Between the Blackwater and Crouch estuaries lies the Dengie Peninsula, which is mainly comprised of low-lying marshes. It is home to a number of small villages and also has a railway line which passes through North Fambridge, Althorne, Burnham-on-Crouch and Southminster. The peninsula offers visitors remote areas where you can walk and enjoy the solitude of the Dengie marshes.

EXPLORE OUR TOWNS

The historic maritime towns of the Maldon District are famous for the connections to the water and to the Saltmarsh Coast.

NORTH BLACKWATER VILLAGES

Heybridge Basin
The village of Heybridge Basin owes its existence to the construction of the Chelmer & Blackwater Nagivation canal which was completed in 1797. It was initially developed as a working village to house the canal's workers. Prior to the construction of the canal, there were no buildings and the area was common land and marshland known as Collier’s Reach and Borough Marsh. The village derived its name from the Canal Basin and also from nearby Heybridge, which was mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086. Today, Heybridge Basin is a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely day strolling along the sea wall and enjoying the views.
Goldhanger Saltmarsh
The village of Goldhanger was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Goldhangra', which means 'the slope where marigold grew.' This traditional village is home to the Church of St. Peter which dates back to the 11th century. Goldhanger also has an intriguing history of smuggling. Gin, brandy, tea, silks and other goods were transported along the River Blackwater by smugglers. These goods were often hidden in churches, and in Goldhanger, contraband was hidden in the outside cellar at the Chequers Inn. Brandy was also carried from the estuary up Fish Street, on horses whose hooves had been muffled with cloth.
Tollesbury
The historic maritime village of Tollesbury is known as the village of 'Plough and Sail.' It has coined this name from centuries of crowing crops and its extensive maritime history. Oyster fishing was a large industry in Tollesbury at the later part of the 19th century. During the early 20th century, many local jobs were involved in the construction of racing yachts and the iconic sail lofts were built during this time to house some of them. Tollesbury is also home to two nature reserves which are popular with visitors and residents, Tollesbury Wick which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, and Old Hall Marshes which is managed by the RSPB.
Tractor Ploughing in Bradwell-on-Sea

VILLAGES OF THE DENGIE

St. Peter's Chapel, Bradwell-on-Sea
The historic village of Bradwell-on-Sea has had several names in the past including Bradwell Juxta Mare and Bradwell near the Sea. The area has been inhabited since the third century, where the Romans built the fort of Othona, which was part of the Saxon Shore military command. Nearly four centuries later, the chapel of St. Peter's on the Wall was built using Othona's remains in 654 and is one of the oldest churches in the country. RAF Bradwell Bay was constructed during WWII as part of east coast defences and several years later the Bradwell Nuclear Power Station was completed before being decommissioned decades later in 2002.
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh
The village of Purleigh was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and its manor was held by the Count of Boulogne, Eustace II. Purleigh has a long history with vineyards and in the twelfth century, one of these vineyards became Crown property under Henry II. The village is now home to New Hall Vineyards which is one of the oldest and largest in the country. Purleigh is also known for its American connection, Lawrence Washington was the rector of Purleigh from 1632 to 1643 and was also the great-great grandfather of George Washington. He was ejected from his living for, ironically, being a ‘malignant minister’, or a Royalist.

NORTH FAMBRIDGE

North Fambridge Waterside
North Fambridge is served by a railway station on the Crouch Valley Line which is ideally located as it is within walking distance of the River Crouch and its beautiful landscapes. It is one of four train stations in the Maldon District. The village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Fanbruge' which means 'bridge by a fen or marsh' or 'causeway across a fen or marsh.' North Fambridge is also home to Blue House Farm which is a six hundred acre nature reserve owned by the Essex Wildlife Trust. This reserve is a working farm and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as part of the River Crouch Marshes.