20 of the best countryside walks in Essex

PUBLISHED: 10:35 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:18 06 August 2020

Wendens Ambo (c) John Clift, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Wendens Ambo (c) John Clift, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Visit untouched villages, wide open farmland, peaceful woodland and follow Essex’s rivers with our pick of brilliant countryside walks

1) From Ramsey to Copperas Bay on the Essex Way

This perfect walk for a summer’s day takes you from Ramsey village to the River Stour at Copperas Bay via the Essex Way, providing you with fantastic views all the way over to Suffolk.

Click here to see the full five-mile route.

Copperas Bay, Stour Estuary

2) A circular coastal ramble around Bradwell-on-Sea

This beautiful six-mile walk takes you around Bradwell’s stunning coastal delights including its ancient chapel and where the River Blackwater meets open water.

View the full route through this link.

Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall  It dates from between 660–662.(2)

3) Along the River Colne near Fordham Heath

This pretty walk from Fordham Heath to Cooks Mill near West Bergholt takes you along the River Colne for some idyllic views of the water’s edge.

Here’s the three-mile route in full.

Dee - Fordham Heath (5)

4) Four-mile circular at Hatfield Heath

Discover the delightful countryside to the west of the county with this enjoyable walk around the village of Hatfield Heath where the Three Forests Way meets the Harcamlow Way.

Click here for more on this four-mile walk.

Hatfield Heath Pond

5) Circular at Little Bromley

This walk from Little Bromley uses footpaths and quiet country lanes which carry little traffic and are easy to walk while there are also a number of historic properties to spot along the way.

Find out more about the 5.5-mile trail through this link.

Little Bromley Church

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Some more walks to try:

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6) Sheering via Hatfield Heath and Matching

Starting at Sheering you’ll head out across brooks, open countryside and woodland near Down Hall, a historic hotel and spa. After crossing Sheering Bridge you’ll come back to your starting point at the village church.

Click here for the entire 3.5-mile trail.

Sheering

7) Circular at Little Braxted

This route around Little and Great Braxted makes the most of lanes and country roads and so is ideal if you’re making the walk during winter months or when there has been an extended period of wet weather.

Explore the full 4.5-mile route.

Little Braxted Hall

8) A circular route through Bures, Alphamstone and Lamarsh

This walk from the town of Bures on the Essex and Suffolk border leads you through the Essex countryside to the little villages of Alphamstone and Lamarsh. If you have time, head across the border to Long Melford where you’ll find a couple of grand stately homes.

The five-mile walk can be found here.

Essex, Alphamstone

9) Village views from Great Easton

This delightful walk features distant views from the village of Great Easton over towards Duton Hill and Tilty, with its ruined abbey and church. The abbey has a long, fascinating history including when King John’s soldiers attacked while Christmas Day mass was being held in 1215.

Here’s more about the four-mile walk.

Remaining walls of Tilty Abbey looking toward gatehouse chapel

10) Colne Engaine and the River Colne

Take a stroll around the attractive village of Colne Engaine following part of the River Colne from where the village gets its name.

Read more about the 3.5-mile walk.

St Andrews Church, Colne Engaine.

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More places to visit in Essex:

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11) An historic circular at Castle Hedingham

This delightful walk around the historic village of Castle Hedingham is a real step back in time as you enjoy one of the county’s most beautiful villages. Hedingham Castle’s keep - built in 1140 - is remarkably well preserved and now plays host to weddings.

Find the full four-mile route here.

Hedingham-04

12) A hike though High Ongar

Take the chance to enjoy this walk, discovering exquisite countryside and historic churches in the south of the county. In the same parish in the nearby hamlet of Greensted is the oldest wooden church in England with timbers dating from about 1060. The oldest grave, lying adjacent to the entrance to the church, is that of a 12th century Crusader, thought to be a bowman.

Click here for the 3.5-mile route.

High Ongar, Essex

13) Circular from Harlow Town station

This walk is one of two suggested by Ken McDonald of the Hundred Parishes Society that covers some of the county’s prettiest spots. This one takes you around Harlow and the surrounding countryside.

Find more about the six-mile walk here.

Parndon Mill

14) Audley End to Great Chesterford

This is the other of the walks put together by the Hundred Parishes Society and this trail takes you from Audley End Station through the countryside and down to Great Chesterford. Although named after the nearby stately home, the station is actually in Wendens Ambo, one of the county’s most attractive villages.

Read more about the eight-mile trail here.

Wendens Ambo, Essex, England

15) A stroll from Little Totham to Tolleshunt Major

Take a stroll from the village of Little Totham to the nearby village of Tolleshunt Major, starting and finishing with the chance for a welcome, warming drink in a countryside pub. If the pub isn’t open - perhaps because of lockdown - you could head to nearby Maldon to explore its numerous riverside beauty spots.

Click here for the full three-mile route.

Little Totham

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A few more walks:

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16) Circular stroll from Wicken Bonhunt

This simple stroll from the little village of Wickhen Bonhunt to the hamlet of Rickling and back again, is a simple yet scenic walk ideal for any time of the year. Keep an eye out for a building of flint and pebble, which is the ancient Chapel of St Helen’s. First built in the 11th century, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the East of England.

See the full 3.5-mile route here.

Wicken Bonhunt, Essex

17) A short stroll exploring Black Notley

Enjoy this short walk around the village of Black Notley, featuring some good paths and hard surfaces that hopefully won’t be affected by the weather too much. A mile to the north east of Black Notley are the Cressing Temple Barns. Owned by Essex County Council, these are medieval barns including the striking huge wheat barn, little changed since it was built in the 13th century.

Click here for more about the 2.5-mile trail.

Black Notley

18) Between Ridgewell and Tilbury Juxta Clare

This delightful walk from the village of Ridgwell to the neighbouring hamlet of Tilbury Juxta Clare and back follows quiet country lanes and footpaths. For your castle fix head north over the border to Clare or go a few miles south to the previously mentioned Hedingham - for those of you who live in the area you’ll know one castle is rather more intact than the other.

Here’s the full four-mile route.

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19) From Little Tey to Broad Green

A stroll from the village of Little Tey to Broad Green allows walkers to explore some of the county’s stunning countryside using mostly public rights of way.

Find out more about the four-mile walk here.

Little Tey, Essex

20) Around Margaretting and to St Peters Way

This rural walk in and around the village of Margaretting follows footpaths and bridleways across a railway line and joins the Essex Trail of St Peters Way. A few miles south is the Tudor home of Ingatestone Hall, a Grade I listed 16th century manor house. The house was built by Sir William Petre and his descendants still live in the house to this day.

Click here for more on the 3.5-mile route.

Margaretting

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