This walk starts in the lovely tidal-river side town of Wivenhoe, and follows the River Colne path towards the sea, with pretty views across the river to saltings, creeks, and mud-flats on the opposite bank throughout.
The ford at Alresford Creek is no longer useable as the river is no longer dredged (it has been done at low tide, but is very dangerous due to deep mud), so this means a detour inland.
At Brighlingsea, the Colne meets the sea, and after having a beer by the harbour, you have a choice:
- A) Finish the walk here, maybe after taking 1 of the ferry trips. Catch a bus back Alresford (1 stop after Wivenhoe)
- B) Walk back to Wivenhoe (also worth a beer by the river)
- C) Take a short ferry to Mersea Island, and walk along the coast, passing through Cudmore Grove County Park, to West Mersea town, for another picturesque harbourside drink, before catching a bus back to Colchester. Its a 30 min trip.
- D) Take a very short ferry ride to Point Clear (St Osyth Stone Point on OS maps), and follow the coast to Clacton-on-Sea. This is a long walk, but it is flat. There is a long detour inland past Point Clear (print out a map of this section). When the route rejoins the coast at Lee over Sands, there is an area used by naturists between there and St Osyth beach. Be aware that there have also been reports of people being inappropriataly friendly in public in this area. From here on its sea wall past St Osyth beach (caravan park, pub), then promenade past several Martello Towers, Jaywick (which features in 'Life on the Dole by the Sea reality TV programs), to Clacton's pier. The station is 1km inland.
Catch a train from Liverpool Street to Wivenhoe. By a return to Alresford (option A), Wivenhoe (B, C) or Clacton-on-Sea (D)
The ferry runs from April to November (Sat-Sun, Mon-Fri during summer school holidays: at xx:00 from 10:00 to 16:00. Other times 'dial a ferry' on Harbour Office: 01206 302200, Ferry mobile: 07981 450169). Cost is £1 to Point Clear, £3 to East Mersea. There are also tide-dependant ferries up-river back to Wivenhoe
Brightlingsea: Bus #87 takes you back to Alresford (or Wivenhoe or even Colchester)
West Mersea: Buses from the High Street #67 (about 15 mins walk back along the coast road from where the 2 pubs are) to Colchester Station (not Colchester Town station which you pass first - its on the Wivenhoe branch line with only 2 trains/hour)
Clacton-on-Sea has a similar service to Wivenhoe - 2 trains an hour
Brighlingsea (more pubs inland on the high street)
- Triscini's, harbour - coffee / wine bar
- Yachtsman's Arms, harbour, CO7 0AZ, 01206 302342 - pub
- Ferry Boat Inn CO16 8NG 01255 820366 - where the ferry drops you!
West Mersea (inland in East Mersea is the Dog and Pheasant)