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|Brightlingsea: Coast, Creeks and Country|
|Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 12 May 2017||Walk Rating:|
|This nine and a half mile circular Essex walk offers varied and attractive country – estuary, creeks, pasture and arable farmland, woodland, sand quarries (both working and abandoned), extensive views, and the historic Cinque port of Brightlingsea, 8 miles south east of Colchester. Birdwatching opportunities vary from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. This walk provides a lot of interest and surpassed my expectations! |
The walking is flat and easy-going throughout. No sections were wet, but doubtless some may become so after heavy rain. There are several kissing gates and just one stile, which will not provide a daunting barrier for either humans or dogs. About two miles of the route is on tarmac, most of which is quiet country lanes, but including about 0.3 of a mile through Brightlingsea, taking in its historic ‘Hard’. Both cattle and sheep will be encountered. Allow five hours, plus view-gazing, birdwatching and exploration time.
The walk starts from Brightlingsea Promenade Way, CO7 0HH. Along this road there are three car parks, plus on road parking. The on road parking is free, but between May – September the car parks cost 80p - £1 per hour, depending on the length of stay. The tracked route starts in the middle of the three car parks, but as long as you head for the walkway in front of the beach huts, you will pick the tracked route up. Brightlingsea is served by the First Essex bus 62 from Colchester and the Hedingham bus 87, also from Colchester. Both of these buses also serve the next village of Alresford, where there is a station on the railway line from Colchester to Clacton. So this walk can be reached by train.
|Start to Lane by Pond|
Start point: 51.8058 lat, 1.0148 long
Walk to the front, beach side of the beach huts and turn left. Walk to the end of the promenade and, where it ends, walk down the left side of the sailing club. Continue straight ahead, along Oyster Tank Road, until you reach a T-junction with Colne Road, where you turn right. Follow the road, as it jinks right, becomes New Street, and then back left to become Waterside. Where the road forks, go right, to visit the ‘Hard’, which was the original port and is now where a foot ferry runs from in the summer.
|Lane by Pond to Creek|
Start point: 51.81 lat, 1.0408 long
Turn right to walk down the lane. At a triangular junction with a ‘Dead end’ road sign, turn left. Follow this lane back towards Brightlingsea, passing a new housing development on the left. Opposite Granville Way, a footpath goes off right (there is a fingerpost, but it has been rather enveloped by the hedge). Take and follow this fenced path past flooded old gravel workings to a track, where you turn right. Follow this track to a fork, where you bear left, as indicated by a yellow arrow on a fence post.
|Creek to B1029|
Start point: 51.8207 lat, 1.0457 long
Follow the flood bank to the second of two right-hand bends. Here an arrowed narrow footpath goes off left, to run between scrubby bushes (good for Whitethroats). Follow it as it enters a grass field, through a metal kissing gate, and then runs alongside the hedge. (There may be cattle in this field, and also in several more along this next stretch). When you reach the far side of the field, at a T-junction with another footpath, turn left. Walk across the field to exit it through a second metal kissing gate, onto a track.
|B1029 to Quarry Entrance|
Start point: 51.8318 lat, 1.0186 long
Part way between where the track comes out on to the road, and where the path does, the pavement veers slightly away from the carriageway to become a bridleway. Turn left onto this, to go up the slight hill. It parallels the road, but is separated from it by a strip of vegetation. It is quite arboreal and rather pleasant – especially when there is a break in the traffic.
|Quarry Entrance to Alresford Creek|
Start point: 51.8293 lat, 1.0036 long
Carry on along the lane, which becomes loose topped at this point, passing the quarry buildings on your right. Keep on along this track, ignoring a footpath that goes off on the left. The track splits – ignore the left turn and take the track that bears slightly right, before straightening and passing in front of an isolated house. Follow this track as it gently descends to the flood bank in front of Alresford Creek. You may wish to keep an eye open for Marsh Harriers floating by.
|Alresford Creek to Metal Kissing Gate|
Start point: 51.8357 lat, 0.9934 long
On the flood bank, turn left to pass through the wooden kissing gate. Follow the top of the bank. This section is used by both cattle and sheep. The land to your left is of good conservation value, so birds and butterflies will, in season, be numerous. Shortly the bank swings to the left to run down the side of the Colne Estuary.
|Metal Kissing Gate to End|
Start point: 51.8159 lat, 0.997 long
From here you follow the popular flood bank path all the way back to the start of Brightlingsea promenade. The birdwatching opportunities and views are as good as they are along the rest of the Colne Estuary – which is pretty good.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author SteveHallam and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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iOS Appstore November 2017
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Email November 2017
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