Winter Walks in Essex – Tollesbury

Tollesbury (38)

We recently launched our Essex Coast listing, which lists 32 coastal towns and villages in Essex. We took a broad definition of ‘coast’ and included lots of places on the inlets, coastal rivers, and estuaries that make the Essex coast so unique.

Tollesbury was one of the few places on the list which he hadn’t been to for a long, long time, and today, after several days of very wet and windy weather, with blue skies, but correspondingly cold weather (after one of the first overnight frosts of the year), we set out for a walk around Tollesbury.

Just a mile or two east of Tolleshunt D’Arcy, situated at the mouth of the River Blackwater, the river continues to bring wealth to the village – through its Marina, sailing club, and, like several places on the Essex coast, its oysters. And the nearby farm land also brings wealth to the village, hence it being known as ‘the village of sail and plough’, which is the reason behind one side of the village sign having a ploughman and horses on one side, and a fishing smack on the other side.

Entering the village, you will see the village square (also known and the green), with The King’s Head pub on the corner. The king in question is Henry VIII, and the pub signs feature a couple of the more striking portraits of the monarch. The parish church of St. Mary is on The Green.

For this walk we went past The Green and took the turning left marked for the marina and the nature reserve.

There’s a small car park on the left before you arrive at the Marina, with some public toilets. Having parked there we walked down to the Marina. There’s a cafe on the left as you get there, in case you need refreshments, and you pass the Tollesbury Sailing Club to your left, which has some public footpaths to explore.

There’s a short walk in front of the four striking ‘sail lofts’ and some other characterful buildings.

Then you’re on the river front. We went there at low tide on a cold November Sunday afternoon, with not many people there, making it quite atmospheric.

In the high season and at high tide in the summer it will be an altogether different experience! Especially for the cutest little beach you will ever see – on the Woodup Pool salt water lido.

We turned right into the marina and walked through with the marina to the left, and kept to the left of the restaurant, to get to the entrance to Essex Wildlife Trust’s Tollesbury Wick Nature Reserve. There’s a long circular walk around the low sea wall, which contains the freshwater grazing marshes and reed beds. These beds were used way back in the Iron Age and Roman periods for salt production, but now they’re an SSI and great for the bird-watchers amongst you. As you head out towards the Blackwater you have the picturesque views looking over the boats tide up in the salt marshes to your left, and the vast expanse of the nature reserve, with the Bradwell nuclear power station on the horizon!

Being a bit chilly by now, we didn’t do the full circular walk, but headed back, this time keeping the lido to our right, to avoid going through the Marina.