May is Walking Month, so here is an article about walking in Essex, to help you plan your walks for the month. Essex is one of the largest counties in England, with beautiful countryside, a long and mysterious coastline, and little villages with ancient churches to discover.
One of the best ways to discover the county is by walking. The walks can be short or long, fast paced or just a stroll. .
A good place to look for rural walks in Essex is EssexWalks. The walks featured on the website are in all parts of Essex, and vary in difficulty, and there should be something for everyone whether walking alone or in a group.
The site has information on the four long distance walks in Essex :
- The Saffron Way which follows a route from Southend to Saffron Walden.
- The Centenary Circle which is a circular walk around Chelmsford.
- St. Peter’s Way which is 41 miles long and runs from Ongar to the Dengie Hundred taking in the amazing St. Peters Chapel.
- The Essex Way is 81 miles long from Epping to Harwich. There is no longer a pamphlet available to buy for the walk, but you can download a copy of it here.
One of the most popular areas to walk in Essex is in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area centres around the River Stour, Dedham and the villages on the Essex/Suffolk border. it is famous as the area where John Constable painted some of his most famous paintings – most notably The Haywain at Flatford Mill. There are numerous footpaths to walk in the area, but the National Trust have also highlighted a walk that they call the Flatford and Constable Country Walk
The Tourist Information Centres in our towns are good places to pick up leaflets about walks. The Maldon Tourist Information Centre has a good collection of leaflets on walks in the Maldon area, and also has copies of the St. Peter’s Way walk for sale.
Over the years we have written about some of the walks that we have been on in Essex – if we weren’t keen cyclists there would be more (check out our cycling in Essex page). The walks we’ve reported on include :
If you’re looking for a country park in Essex to visit, have a look at our Essex Country Parks page for some ideas. You may also want to check out the Essex Wildlife Trust and the RSPB for their reserves.