Grassy fields, quiet lanes, a smattering of woods, Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve and the tidal River Crouch.
21.4 km (13.3 mi), of which 4.2 km (2.6 mi) on tarmac or pavement.
|Toughness||4 out of 10 , with 4 hours 40 minutes walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 7 hours.|
|OS Maps||OS Landranger Map: 167 (Chelmsford), 168 (Colchester) and 178 (Thames Estuary).
OS Explorer Map: 175 (Southend-on-Sea & Basildon).
This surprisingly diverse and rural walk avoids industrial and suburban features often associated with walking in Essex, but instead leads through plenty of rolling grassy fields, along quiet lanes and through a smattering of woods, before heading through the enchanting – Essex Wildlife Trust run – Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve. After a short stretch along the reservoir itself it then heads for the lunch pub: The Old Windmill in South Hanningfield. The afternoon route leads through more pastures, valleys and wooded strips, before descending into the Crouch Valley and following the tidal River Crouch for a short stretch into Battlesbridge past its famous Antiques Centre.
An Alternative Finish in South Woodham Ferrers loops around the town through a fenland nature reserve, some saltmarshes and along the tidal River Crouch with its mudflats, sailing boats and plenty of birdlife. It is especially attractive at low tide.
Trains to Wickford leave from Liverpool Street station via Stratford every 20 minutes (journey time from 35 minutes), half-hourly on Sundays (journey time 38 minutes). Wickford is on the Shenfield to Southend Main Line, which diverges at Shenfield from the Great Eastern Main Line. South Woodham Ferrers and Battlesbridge are on the single-track Crouch Valley Branch Line from Wickford to Southminster, with one train every 40 minutes Mon-Sat, and hourly trains Sun (journey time from Battlesbridge between 48 and 60 minutes, 4 mins longer from South Woodham Ferrers).
Shortcut: You can return from the lunch pub to Wickford by bus (approx. every two hours, though not on Sundays).
Alternative ending in South Woodham Ferrers
|Lunch and Tea||
A good lunch pub and 2 cafes in the Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve for lunch and lots of options at the end in both Battlesbridge and SWF. For details see the pdf.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk