My Boots Are Made For Walkin’


Chris Ambrose

Introduces The Broomway

A Treacherous Pathway Some Can’t Resist


If you ran across this sign on your walk…would you ignore it for the sake of curiosity?

Danger of Death by drowning or exposure – do not do this walk without understanding the very real dangers!

There is no official ‘safe’ time of the tide when it is safe to walk The Broomway. The local Public Right of Way Officer’s (PROW) advice is that it should ONLY be walked with a local guide.

Have you ever heard of the Broomway? 

Foulness, is where you will find varying signs, warning you away from such possibilities such as an untimely death. Yet, over a span of many years, more than 100  people did not listen to warnings nor consider the signage, which then caused them to meet their maker, violently and much too early in life. 

© Copyright Julieanne Savage and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. The above photograph is provided for your ability to visualize how the Broomway abruptly ends into the North Sea.

Traveling back in time to the Roman era, the Broomway, was the only route for  centuries that pedestrians could use between the mainland Essex England  and the once-agrarian bounty of Foulness Island. An interesting fact I was able to learn about and chuckle at its simplicity was in how the Broomway acquired its name. The skinny twigs or whatever needed were gathered like broomsticks and used to mark the route over the tidal plain between them so no one would become confused by the thick mist and rushing waves. It was easy to become disoriented in certain conditions and the broomsticks helped keep so many from falling away from the route.

In this same vicinity, there are other serious issues that may cause critical harm or even cost you your life, however, most of those are located on the beach, though could also be in the water. One of these problems is the quicksand.

Another such warning sign is seen if traveling eastbound past Southend, and where that warning sign reads: Danger of Firing Range. This area is protected under the Official Secrets Act of 1911-1939, and that sign reads: Do not approach or touch any debris, as it may explode and kill you!

Mines, you say? Yes. The Thames Estuary, is an area smaller than 100 x 40 miles, is where more than 200 ships were sunken due to the war-time mines exchanged between seamen. But in the open seas around Britain and Ireland, as a whole, ship losses from mines totaled nearly 1,100…from more than 20 countries and a human loss of greater than 5K lives. Mines are still out there and considered dangerous, from even coming in contact with them…the slightest touch, may cause them to explode.

The Broomway is dubbed the most dangerous path, in all of Britain. It is also known at times as the Doomway. The stark signage with its warning, Danger by death, by Drowning, could sure dampen the spirit for a magical walk, while soaking up the history that surrounds you. Imagine a pathway that has survived for centuries. Who wouldn’t want to see it and experience the past? I suppose the death by drowning could be either being held in place by the quicksand until the waters rush back in or not being able to outrun the tide as it returns. 

Sixty six people are said to be buried in a quaint churchyard where the victims all share one thing in common. The Broomway. And these sixty six individuals, likely have  many times more family and or friends as victims, not yet discovered, but with their remains still hidden in the sea. The North Sea, we may find as peaceful at a glance, but one so violent they sacrificed their lives for the curiosity of a historical walk on this medieval walking path. A path always known for it’s ravaging dangers. The Broomway, where people once took their horse and buggy across to get to the other side…some of which knew of the dangers while still others,  innocent of any knowledge that they too may become victims, as they moved across this path to better lives.

Another deadly warning is issued, but not for war-time mines or even the rushing tidal waves, but for for the quicksand found in the Broomway path, but mostly found on beaches! In England, you could visit Southend-on-Sea or Morcambe Bay, where the sand is, like mud and you sink to your knees. But here is an an interesting fact about quicksand: it, in of itself is not the cause of death, but in how it traps you. 

The continued and panicked movement is what causes the body to sink. If you can keep your wits about you and your arms in the air so not to become trapped, you may stand a chance to get free providing someone happens along. It is the other factors which threaten your life, such as weather exposure, dehydration, hypothermia from the cold waters of the North Sea, tides rushing in but perhaps the worst of complications! The carnivores that happen by in search for a meal, may harm a trapped person.

The way to escape is by slow movements of the legs and rotation of your body so you can maneuver it to float on your back and face up. The odds are not great but better than no chance at all. So keep your cool if at all possible.

Please do not do this walk without being properly informed of the dangers and being prepared. After all, there is quicksand, mines, spent shells and tides that are rushing far faster than you can run. There is no safe tide time to walk on the Broomway, which is ten  miles long, connecting the mainland with the island of Foulness, on the edge of the Thames Estuary.

Did you know that a human or animal is likely not to sink entirely into quicksand or even drown? It is true but the explanation when I researched for the answer is enough to make you shiver. You will sink up to the chest but your body will not sink further unless you move about.

Researching the deaths toll over the last century it reports 100 people have died but that number is said to be inaccurate, because bodies are still being recovered and many who were known to have traveled across it, who were not found at all. Now, access is only allowed on Sundays, when the firing does not take place

The purpose of the blog today was not to discourage you from visiting Foulness and the Broomway because the history and other experiences is worth the journey but being informed is far better than going into a dangerous area unprepared.


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Until We Meet Again!,


Chris Ambrose, Author 

70 is the new 50`

This blog is provided by my new book

My Boots Are Made For Walkin’

coming out in time for Christmas!

No matter what Life throws at you, 

it’s where Giving Up, is Never an Option!



You are also welcome to write to me for a signed copy of my book

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