Or try one of Paul Brown's
WIVENHOE WALKS (click on hotlinks in the box below for details)
do all on yer!. Thass right,
settle yersels down. Now then, appen some on yer would loike a waak around
Wivna, wooncha? Six walks
around Wivenhoe and they havenít changed much from the
days when they spoke like that Ė until recently.
Standing on the quay and facing the river the old port on the right
is now houses and the shipyard on the left shortly will be.
Donít worry, I will up-date the site from time to time so as not
to lose you.
was hoping they would put a footbridge across the Colne Barrier when they
built it like they would have done in Holland.
To get to the other side means a walk to Colchester.
are welcome to send me any comments
first three walks take in the area from Wivenhoe to Alresford Creek.
I call them the SHORT MEDIUM and LONG walks as they all lead on to
Paul is author of a book about the old railway line which used to run
between Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea. It is still available from The
Wivenhoe Bookshop. Paul has very generously said he will donate £1
towards the Engine Shed Project for each copy sold from now on.
start, stand on The Quay at Wivenhoe, outside the Rose & Crown and
face the river.
THE SHORT WALK
left and walk along the gravel path of The Quay. Keep going and no
matter what happens with recent developments, keep the river on to your
right and you are heading for the Colne Barrier buildings Ėyou canít
miss them. Continue in front of the Sailing Club, through the noisy
gate and on to the sea wall. You will see a sand and gravel works on
the opposite bank. When you get level with this and see a large wooden
raft on your side. Leave the sea wall and head off on the diagonal
track across the marshes.
will cross the old railway track to Brightlingsea, climbing over difficult
stiles and eventually climb a slope. At the top is the main
Alresford road. Turn left, cross the railway bridge and be sure to
stay on the right side of the road as it is a bit busy. Be
especially careful when you come to the right hand bend, round this bend
is a track across the fields to the left and the farm track on your right.
Now itís easy! Take the left hand track across the fields which
leads to a gravel road, past the farm and you will eventually cross the
railway line then go past a business centre. Any of the left hand
paths will bring you back to The Quay.
Time 1hour 30mins
as for the Short Walk, but donít take the diagonal path across the
marshes, keep on going.
Eventually you will leave the seawall, and walk along the old
Brightlingsea railway line.
The cinders from the firebox make a beautiful firm path. I have
written a book about the line, you can get it from the local bookshop.
Itís not boring I promise! It is worth popping up the bank on the
right to look at the view or Ďvoosí as we say locally.
After a while take the path on the left.
It looks like it is going into a wood and has a steep slope on it
Ė thatís the one. Watch the bottom bit- in wet weather it can be one
of the worst in the area for mud. IĎve put some concrete blocks down for
you I hope they stay there.
Climb the slope and just keep on going,.
The landowner has kindly made a path inside part of the wood if you
want to take it, it follows close to the one alongside the field and is
You will go through a smart new gate and onto a made up road.
Turn left and follow it, there is usually not much traffic, until
it curves right and joins the Alresford road.
Left again, over the railway and you have joined the short walk.
This will take you back again.
time 2hours 30mins
the middle walk but donít turn right up the slope.
This is a beautiful area and you are walking along the old
Brightlingsea railway once again.
You can explore off to the right when you come to the grassy area
known as White House Beach.
The white house went years ago in Victorian times, probably when
they suddenly found themselves with a railway running past their front
to difficult to find where it once was, look for the two large concrete
posts on the left. In the Edwardian days, a wave from the carriage window
would stop the train so you could have a picnic on the beach.
on after your explore and the path will go off to the left Ė you wonít
You can, if you want, continue straight on for 200m to see where
the train used to cross Alresford Creek. The tin shed on the left is where
the pilotman, the man who opened the swinging centre span of the bridge,
kept his boat.
His cottage was on the left just before you turn off from the track
Ė look for the remains of the house and garden but donít go in there
you might just find the open well and I canít remember where it is Ė
now, just you listen when Iím a talkiní to ya. I donít want you a
falliní down some owd hol do I?
on alongside Alresford Creek and see where the Alresford Sand & Gravel
Co. used to have a pier with overhead buckets to fill the barges.
When joining the made up road by the boating area, turn left and
climb the hill.
This is rather narrow so watch out for cars. Continue past the
gravel works until you come to a cottage on the left hand side at the top
of the hill.
Turn left in front of the cottage and take the marked footpath
track along the ridge between the old gravel workings.
You will come to a part of the road where two roads run side by side. Take the left hand road,
the grey one, by going
through the white gate and you can pat yourself on the back as you
look to the left and see how far you have come. The road will lead to the
Middle Walk for your journey home.
and distance vary
from the Quay again. Turn right and keep as close to the river as
possible. This will take you all the way along the waterfront. When you
get to some big fishing boats on your left, turn right into Bath Street
which is not sign-posted at the moment.
The street got its name from Thomas Tumner who had his therapeutic
salt water baths here in the eighteenth century and you were supposed to
drink some as well!
the end of Bath Street go left into West Street and continue until you
come to a large area in front of the station, go straight
through it and you will see the signpost for the start of the
This is a lovely walk to Essex University and eventually to
Colchester Hythe where you can catch a bus back to Wivenhoe.
The Wivenhoe Trail is also a cycle path, so
watch out behind you if the wind is blowing in your face.
best idea, if you only want
a short walk,
is to continue past the tunnel under the railway- I shall talk
about that later and on the left as you come to the river there is a footpath indicated by a yellow sign.
will bring you round in a curve back to the station again. This is a bit of a problem at the
is muddy in wet weather and is being built on. The builders have marked
the footpath through their area and to save you worrying you can usually see the station buildings.
While walking on this curve round the river you will see quite
clearly by the concrete ramp and the track across the marsh, where the
ferry went across the river to Rowhedge.
The ferry was quite a small rowing boat often very overcrowded in the days before laws
came out about such things.
you want to try something different Ė and I think you will enjoy this
Ė go through the dark, low gloomy brick tunnel under the railway line.
You are now entering Wivenhoe Wood.
You can wander about happily in here and the woodís quite big.
There is an upper dry path and a lower wiggly wet one.
If you think you are lost donít panic, take any down slope which
will bring you back to the railway line.
You can always work out where you are from here.
If, and this doesnít usually happen, you come out of the wood in
the wrong place, go back in and down.
If really stuck, walk along to the right and keep going. Leave the wood and before long you will reach a big road ( the High
Street!). WARNING - Wivenhoe wood and the sea wall path, not the cycle track,
can be very muddy especially in wet weather.
Get out your walking boots!
5.5miles (or 7 miles)
Time 3 hours
long one this!
can be started from various points around Wivenhoe but for simplicity's
sake I will start from The Quay.
From The Quay start to walk up a short way up the High Street into
the square and then turn right into East Street, between two shops.
Continue in this direction and you will know allís well
if there is a large white house on your right.
It is called
Garrison House and the raised plaster work, pargetting.
Continue past the fish and chip shop into Brook Street, the
business centre will be on your left.
Now you enter an unmade road, Anglesea Road.
Walk for some distance following the track and after passing a farm
on your right, donít follow the road to your left but take the track in
front of you across the fields.
you reach the Wivenhoe to Alresford Road, go straight across and down
another track, past farm buildings on the left (Sunnymead Farm) and
continue in a straight line though a small wood with a stream and across a
field with a narrow footpath.
Now you enter a large wood Ė Cockaynes Wood.
Sadly this wood, mentioned in the Domesday Book, is being excavated
for sand and gravel and is only a third of the size it was twenty years
all a great pity.
for the first time since leaving the Alresford Road, you will change
direction after coming though the wood when the path turns left for a
When it ends turn right into the road and right again at the end of
the level crossing at Alresford Station and cross the main road at the end
Ė careful Ė and into Church Road.
If it is mid-day or evening, a short walk to the right at the main
road will take you to the Pointer Pub where my mate Tom will be always
glad to see you.
down Church Road past the school on the left until you eventually come to
a war memorial in the form of a cross.
Go down the sign-posted track to the right of this and stop to look
at the ruins of Alresford Church, burnt down, it was said at
the time, after being used for witchcraft ceremonies one Saturday
night in 1971. Carry on down this track, across a stream and up a steep
slope to a sand ridge.
When you reach this ridge, if you have done the walks in order you
will know where you are.
If not, turn right and walk on quite a long way. Be sure to take
the smaller road on the left as I would hate you to be squashed by a sand
You will pass Alresford Grange entrance on your left
and eventually come to the main Alresford Road.
Turn left, cross the railway bridge and you will know where you are
now, if not, look at the Short Walk for your journey back.
you are feeling really fit or having a lot of problems to solve, donít
take the track down by the ruined Church but carry on down the road to
Alresford Creek Ė wonít that cottage in the dip look nice once itís
When you get to Alresford Creek, right along the footpath, right at
the end of there and thereís a nice long walk back to Wivenhoe.
Yes, itís part of the Long Walk isnít it?
THORRINGTON TIDE MILL
Time 1 Hour
can be a round walk of thirty minutes.
Note Ė These walks can be rather muddy after rain.
could be just a straight walk to Thorrington Tide Mill but I have included
a short round walk as an alternative.
They are both very beautiful.
There used to be much better walks in this area but they are now
start with the round walk first.
Leave your car at Alresford Creek but make sure it is above the
Go back up the hill until you come to the second cottage on your
worry about the hill, itís not far!
Take the footpath on your right and relax, you canít go wrong and
there are some lovely views Ė thatís Brightlingsea All Saints church
over there, I shall write about it later.
Them 'owd hosses' use the track so it might be a little churned up.
Go below the wood until you reach the sandy lane.
Turn right and go down it but watch out for lorries on weekdays.
At the bottom, the lane turns left towards a farm, you want the
small diagonal path
off to the right which comes just after an arch of red and white
along the footpath behind the hedge
which will take you back to Alresford Creek and your car.
Havenít they done that house up well?
you turn left at the end of the diagonal path Ė donít take the sandy
lane but the footpath beside the creek which is quite easy to find Ė you
will eventually get to Thorrington Tide Mill.
Can you see the old dock by the farm?
I wonder what that was used for all those years ago.
As you walk towards the Mill, you will have the choice of either
taking the straight line easier path or the one alongside the creek.
The creek one is more attractive but a bit rough so you will spend
a lot of time looking at your feet.
As you will probably be returning the same way, leave the one you
donít do until the way back.
you reach the gravel road which runs past the Tide Mill, turn right for a
look at the Mill before returning.
The Tide Mill is interesting as there are few left in this country.
The area to the left is filled each high tide and then, as the tide
receded, it was allowed to flow out under the mill wheel, turning the
wheel as it did so.
A cheap source of power refilled twice a day.
From here you may climb the steep gravel track in front of you.
Please keep to the path as the buildings are privately owned.
From the top of the hill a bus may be caught back to Alresford or
The alternative is to turn back to Alresford Creek and to choose
the creek path or the hedgerow line again.
rather a shame but you canít get easily to the Church you can see all
the time unless you go by car.
Brightlingsea Old Church the locals call it, there is a new one in
The inhabitants left this one after the Black Death.
It is very beautiful and the good news is at the time of writing
they are making a cycle and foot path so you can get to it if you go down
the hill on your right.
have often asked me if it is possible to cross the Roman ford at Alresford
simple answer is ďyesĒ BUT it can only be done at low tide, wear
wellies and above all KEEP WALKING.
If you donít you will end up doing an interesting version of the
Highland Fling on one leg until you fall over.
We used to visit my old mother in Brightlingsea, with our wellies
in a bag, during the winter this way.
Once across, there are some very pleasant walks to Brightlingsea.
Either to the right and along the sea wall which once was a railway
line, or straight ahead, eventually arriving at the Old Church, or
Brightlingsea All Saints to give its proper name.
You will be able to see the Church most of the time on your walk.
From here a regular bus service will take you back to Alresford or
Brown, December, 2002