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Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek

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Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 23 May 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide star0 Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide star0 Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide star0 Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide star0 Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide
Essex, Colchester
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Brightlingsea Church and Alresford Creek Walking Guide
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This five mile lollipop-shape walk offers varied and attractive country – estuary, a creek, pasture and arable farmland, woodland, a sand quarry (both working and abandoned) and extensive views, 6 miles south east of Colchester in Essex. Birdwatching opportunities vary from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. It shares some of the route of another iFootpath walk, ‘Brightlingsea: Coast, Creeks and Country’, but is shorter, and has some attractive parts that the longer walk does not.

The walking is easy throughout, with just one slight climb. No sections are noticeably wet, but doubtless some may become so after heavy rain. The 'stick' of the 'lollipop' is comprised of a distance of 0.7 miles along a quiet country tarmac lane (but which some lorries use). As you do this twice, there is a total of 1.4 miles on tarmac. Both cattle and sheep will be encountered and you will need to negotiate kissing gates, but the walk is stile free. Allow three hours, plus view gazing and birdwatching time. (Note: a shorter alternative would be to drive down the country lane to Waypoint 1, by the quarry entrance, and start walking from here. Cars park here, and one more should be OK. Park on the left side of the road, just past the quarry entrance).

The walk starts from Brightlingsea Church on the B1029, post code CO7 0RZ. There is a large pull in area in front of the church, which provides free parking for half a dozen cars. This point is passed by the First Essex bus 62 from Colchester to Brightlingsea 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 plus bus.

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Walk Sections

Start to Quarry Entrance
Start to Quarry Entrance

Start point: 51.8279 lat, 1.0131 long
End point: 51.8293 lat, 1.0036 long

Having admired the magnificent and isolated Brightlingsea church, take the dead end lane signposted to Moverons Farm. The good news is that not much traffic uses this lane; the less good news is that most of what does is comprised of lorries going to either the quarry at the end, or the landfill site part way down. I did not get passed by one – but you might be unlucky.

Follow this lane all the way to the entrance to the quarry, on the right side of the road, where the tarmac changes to a gravel top.

Quarry Entrance to Alresford Creek
Quarry Entrance to Alresford Creek

Start point: 51.8293 lat, 1.0036 long
End point: 51.8357 lat, 0.9934 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. After crossing over a sandy quarry track, our 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 for about half a mile 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
Alresford Creek to Metal Kissing Gate

Start point: 51.8357 lat, 0.9934 long
End point: 51.816 lat, 0.997 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. The estuary here always holds birds in good numbers, especially in winter.

You may note that the curvature of the path seems rather smoothly sweeping. This is because you are now walking along the trackbed of an abandoned railway that once ran from Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea. At the end of this section you pass through a metal kissing gate, where a bank comes in at 90 degrees to meet the one you are on.

Metal Kissing Gate to End
Metal Kissing Gate to End

Start point: 51.816 lat, 0.997 long
End point: 51.8282 lat, 1.0135 long

Turn left to follow this side bank. At its end, take the path which continues into a wooded area, past a (sometimes whiffy) water treatment works to ascend a gentle hill. The path continues, with no junctions, out of the wood and into a scrubby area. It becomes fenced in, and provides good views across the creek in the distance to your left.

The path ends at a sandy track, which is part of a working gravel quarry. Do NOT go straight on, but turn very sharply left, almost back on yourself, into a second narrow path. (Note: This path is easy to miss as it is partially hidden by scrub, you need to be almost facing back the way you came to see and join it). This path runs alongside a sandy lorry track on the right, but provides more lovely views on the left. During spring and summer the air here is full of Sand martins.

The path crosses another sandy truck track, protected by wooden barriers, and goes through a wooden gate to cross an arable field on a bearing of 2 o’clock. The path is normally visible. On the far side of the field, turn left to climb a short, gravelly slope up onto the road by the quarry buildings. Turn right onto the road, which is the one you used at the start of the walk. Follow this back to the church.

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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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