Brightlingsea is a quick drive from Colchester and you get to see the sea, there are beach huts and a small beach, a paddling pool fed by the sea, a boating lake, skateboard park, and lots of parking. In 2018 we had a couple of trips to the newly refurbished and re-opened Lido which were lovely – we went slightly off-peak during the week : it gets very very busy on baking hot days in the summer! A few years prior to that we took our bikes onto the ferry from The Hythe and travelled up the Colne in style, before looking round the town and heading home on the bikes on the back roads.
On a bright but cool Sunday in October 2019 we decided some fresh air was in order, and decided to head out for a walk with the dog. We arrived at Brightlingsea and parked behind the beach huts, but instead of walking along the front of them towards the sailing club and the marina and the town, we headed in the other direction for a change.
The tide was high, and had swamped the paddling pool, and was lapping over the edge of the promontry that Bateman’s Tower sits on. There were a couple of fisherman braving the waves, and they were catching fish as we watched.
We walked past the few remaining beach huts (in a sort of NW direction) and marvelled at the ladies pulling on wet suits ready to brave the cold water and the waves! As you head out of town on the raised sea walls you can see the reclaimed marshes inland and there are helpful information boards along the route that help you make sense of the environment.
After just over a mile you get to a fence with a gate in it, with the option to return (there is a lower level path along the seawall by way of a change) or head on further. We pressed on. The estuary was a lovely sight in the sunshine and part of the fun is trying to work out exactly what is on the opposite site of the estuary – East Mersea, then land to the east of Abberton and Langenhoe, then Rat Island (a new one to us!).
After a further 1.5miles you reach Abberton Creek. As the creek narrows further up you can see some houses, perhaps on the outskirts of Wivenhoe? And heading inland is Abberton Creek, with one lovely house, some boats and some light industry! (There is a lot of gravel and sand extracted from hereabouts). We chatted to one couple who approached us from that direction, who were on the final couple of miles of an eight-mile circular walk which had started back in Brightlingsea.
We turned back, as the 2.5 miles so far was enough for us, and enjoyed the 2.5miles back into Brightlingsea, watching Batemans Tower grow as we approached.
One slight disappointment : the cafe near Bateman’s Tower was gone! There’s a swanky new building in it’s place – which looked rather too posh for a replacement cafe, but finger’s crossed…
For more Winter Walks in Essex click here.