Essex is a maritime county in southeast England, bounded on the north by the Stour River, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, on the east by the North Sea, on the south by the Thames and Kent, and on the west by London, Middlesex, and Hertfordshire. The area is 1529 square miles.
Along the coastline, Essex is indented by many river estuaries. Islands include Mersea, Osea, Foulness, and Canvey. The central and northern sections are high and richly wooded, with fertile dales and grasslands. To the southwest are Epping and Hainault districts, all the remains of the ancient Waltham Forest that once stretched from London to Colchester. The largest rivers of the county are the Thames, Stour, Crouch, Roach, Lea, Colne, and Blackwater.
At Colchester, there is a Norman castle surrounded by Roman and Saxon remains. At Hedingham is the Norman castle of the De Veres. At Hadleigh is a Norman fortress. Ashingdon has a church whose tower was erected by King Canute.