Between the River Crouch and the River Thames in Essex a footpath leaves the land at a place called Wakering Stairs and heads due east, straight out to sea.
Several hundred metres offshore it curls northeast and runs in this direction for around 5kms, still offshore, before cutting back to make landfall at Fisherman’s Head, the uppermost tip of a large, low-lying and little-known marshy island called Foulness.
This is the Broomway, allegedly “the deadliest” path in Britain,
and certainly the unearthliest path. It gets covered by the tide twice a day and usually these rise and fall more quickly than most human explorers. The Broomway is thought to have killed more than 100 people over the centuries; it seems likely that there were other victims whose fates went unrecorded. Sixty-six of its dead are buried in the little Foulness churchyard; the other bodies were not recovered.
Edwardian newspapers, alert to the path’s reputation, rechristened it “The Doomway”.
The Broomway is known as the most perilous path in Britain – and is a favourite walk of writer Robert Macfarlane, who describes it in his book The Old Ways.
The path leads towards a white light.