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Frontier Country

Essex is a county of contrasts and surprises, far removed from the jokes and clichés that surround it. A journalist and an artist set out on a walk around its borders, to celebrate in words and pictures its people, history, architecture and geography. This is the compilation of their findings.



A walk around the Essex borders

Essex is a county of contrasts and surprises, far removed from the jokes and clichés surrounding it.

Journalist Brian Mooney and artist Jon Harris set out to celebrate its people, history, architecture and geography by walking every inch of its boundaries. Whether tramping up the Maplin Sands, stumbling across an old soldier living wild in the woods, or visiting a chapel on a lonely seawall, their story is brimming with unexpected encounters and colourful surprises.

Starting in Waltham Abbey, their walk takes them down the old Essex border into London, along the Thames to the marshes, rivers and creeks of the eastern seaboard and then follows the Suffolk borders to the edges of Cambridge and Hertfordshire.


Essex must be the most unjustly abused county in England. Its reputation is pure snobbery … [Essex is] a land of rolling hills, wild marshes and delightful villages, churches and old houses … its borders embrace the most varied topography imaginable. This is the Essex that Frontier Country explores; the authors’ unusual journey reveals just how much there is to treasure in Essex.’

Simon Jenkins, Columnist and former Editor of The Times

The authors

Brian Mooney is an author and prize winning journalist, who travelled the world for 30 years reporting for Reuters from 50 different countries. After walking 1,500 miles to Santiago de Compostelo, he decided it was time to explore closer to his Essex home.

Jon Harris is a leading authority on landscape, townscape and conservation, and a well-known Cambridgeshire artist. The Fitzwilliam Museum held a retrospective exhibition of his work in 1997.

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