Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers walk

Grassy fields, quiet lanes, a smattering of woods, Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve and the tidal River Crouch.

Backview from Mark's Farm towards Rettendon SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [Battlesbridge Ending]

Backview from Mark's Farm towards Rettendon

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [Battlesbridge Ending]

27-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View down the Crouch, from point at Clementsgreen Creek confluence SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [South Woodham Ferrers Ending]

View down the Crouch, from point at Clementsgreen Creek confluence

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [South Woodham Ferrers Ending]

30-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Hanningfield Reservoir SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

Hanningfield Reservoir

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

27-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Alpacas and Buttercups, East Hanningfield SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

Alpacas and Buttercups, East Hanningfield

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

27-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Tree in Field, south of Rettendon SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

Tree in Field, south of Rettendon

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers

27-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The tidal River Crouch, near Battlesbridge SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [Battlesbridge Ending]

The tidal River Crouch, near Battlesbridge

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [Battlesbridge Ending]

27-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Egret in Fenn Creek, Woodham Fenn Nature Reserve SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [South Woodham Ferrers Ending]

Egret in Fenn Creek, Woodham Fenn Nature Reserve

SWC Walk 157 - Wickford to Battlesbridge or South Woodham Ferrers [South Woodham Ferrers Ending]

30-May-20 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Length

21.0 km (13.1 mi), with 205/209m ascent/descent. For a shorther walk or an Alternative Ending see below Walk Options.

Toughness 3 out of 10 , with 4 hours 40 minutes walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 7 hours.
Walk Notes

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.

Walk Options

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: This alternative ending is entirely flat, initially following a brook all the way to South Woodham Ferrers, with fields either side. It then skirts around the town, briefly passing through Woodham Fenn Nature Reserve and along Fenn Creek, to finally follow for an extended period along the tidal River Crouch and its mudflats and creeks, with Marsh Farm Country Park on the other side (a haven for birdwatchers). With five mutually exclusive shortcuts, this version of the walk can range from 20.0 km (12.4 mi) to 29.7 km (18.5 mi). The long ending is extremely tranquil and very coastal in character. It is especially attractive at low tide. For a timetable of the tide at the river’s mouth (not too dissimilar from the tide at South Woodham Ferrers/Hullbridge) look here, on the Crouch Harbour website.

Maps OS Landranger Map: 167 (Chelmsford), 168 (Colchester) and 178 (Thames Estuary).
OS Explorer Map: 175 (Southend-on-Sea & Basildon).
Travel

Wickford Station, map reference TQ 745936, is 14 km south east of Chelmsford and 13m above sea level. Battlesbridge Station, map reference TQ 776948, is 3 km north east of Wickford and 9m above sea level. Both are in Essex. 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).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take the train closest to 10.15 hours (9.45 if walking the full South Woodham Ferrers walk).

Lunch

Café on the Water The Fishing Lodge, Hanningfield Reservoir, Giffords Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8HX (01268 712 182). Open daily 09.00-17.00 in summer (to 16.00 in shoulder season and to 15.00 in winter). Located 8.3 km from the start of the walk.
The Old Windmill South Hanningfield Road, South Hanningfield, Essex, CM3 8HT (01268 712 280). Open Mon-Sat 11.30-23.00, food served 12.00-22.00, Sun 12.00-22.30, with food served 12.00-21.30. Located 8.8 km from the start of the walk.

Tea

Several good options at the end in both Battlesbridge and South Woodham Ferrers. For details see the pdf.

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Start SS11 7AT Map Directions Return to the start:

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Help

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jun-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

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