There are records of dozens of people having sadly lost their lives on this path. And it is very likely that dozens more have died here without their deaths ever being recorded.
So where is it? The Broomway is to be found on the Essex coast between Wakering Stairs (not far from Southend) and Foulness Island. Before a road bridge was constructed in the twentieth century, this was the main route, across the mud and sand, from the mainland to the island. The name, 'The Broomway' comes from the posts that once lined the route to help people find their way across and I've heard two versions of the story, either that they resembled brooms, or that they had a sprig of broom on them.
The danger comes from the quicksands and the incoming tides. Setting off from Wakering Sands is setting off into a vast expanse of sand. Foulness is not visible at this point; the only land visible is the coast behind and at times, the distant Kent coast across the Thames Estuary. Get lost, or be too slow, and the tide will rush in from unknown directions and cut you off.
I suppose the obvious question today is why would anyone still walk The Broomway at all. Well, a reason has to be that is surely one of the most beautiful paths in Britain.
The beauty lies in the quality of the light in this place. Under a huge sky, the sunlight on the sand is dazzling. It's like walking under an arc of light, perhaps a little like being in a Turner painting, although of course the light isn't static. There are also the sounds and smells of the sea and air to remind you that this is real. But this dazzling light is also disorientating. It was clear to me that if I didn't follow the right route, then I could easily wander off in the wrong direction, and become lost.
We arrived for the walk early one morning to meet our guides. I suppose we could have found a way across on our own with a compass and tide book, but, for the first time, I wouldn't want to attempt it like that. David and I didn't have wellies a) David doesn't own a pair and b) I don't like walking any distance in mine (The Broomway is about six miles and we were walking there and back). Fortunately, our walking boots were up to the task. It would have been truly miserable with wet feet!
Our guides were very friendly and told us all sorts of information about the area. Eventually we reached Foulness 'by the back door', so to speak. Foulness is owned by the MOD and although there are two small villages on it, it's a very secretive place. The island is used for firing/testing weapons, and the main entrance on to the island - on the other side to where we were - is through a check point. We just about stepped foot on the island and didn't venture further in. Instead, we ate our packed lunches surrounded by samphire - and under the eye of the security cameras. But I've made a note to return here. Foulness has its own history and wildlife to discover.