Best trails in Essex, England

2,330 Reviews
Trying to find the best Essex trails? AllTrails has 133 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails around Colchester, Chelmsford or Halstead, we've got you covered. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 76 easy trails in Essex ranging from 0.9 to 20.3 miles and from 9 to 436 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Essex, England
Top trails (133)
#1 - Epping Forest Main Path and Green Ride Circular
Epping Forest
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Length: 13.1 mi • Est. 6 h 8 m
This is a 21.1km circular trail starting from the car park near Chingford Golf Club and taking you around Epping Forest. This trail is suitable for walking, cycling, walking your dog and perfect for a day out in nature. Just keep in mind that it can get a bit wet, muddy and boggy along the way. It's a perfect spot during summer, ideal for birdwatching with plenty of facilities around you and stunning wildlife.Show more
#2 - Epping Forest Circular
Epping Forest
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Length: 5.5 mi • Est. 2 h 13 m
Enjoy Epping Forest on this 8.9km trail with some slight inclination on the way but definitely worth the adventure. This is without a doubt one of the best spots near London if you want to escape the urban jungle life and enjoy a calm nature trip. Epping Forest has beautiful scenic attractions, diverse wildlife, lakes, many outdoors activities. It's accessible for walkers of all abilities, families with children or seniors, and anyone else looking to explore this magical ancient royal hunting woodland forest. This is also a great spot to take your dog for an adventure and have a great day out relaxing and making the most of what this magical place has to offer. Show more
#3 - Forest Way and Green Ride Circular Route
Epping Forest
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Length: 15.8 mi • Est. 7 h 15 m
Epping Forest is a maze of singletracks and very difficult to navigate accurately. Off-line map recommended. You will undoubtedly get lost, but with a good map you’ll quickly find a road or landmark to tell you where you are. The other option are to join one of the shop or club rides that take place every weekend through the forest. They are run by Heales Cycles ( 020 8527 1592) and Epping Forest Mountain Bike Club (www.epping-forest-mbc.co.uk).Show more
#4 - The Anchor and Danbury Commons Circular
Danbury Country Park
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Length: 4.9 mi • Est. 2 h 20 m
A circular pub walk from The Anchor in the village of Danbury, Essex. The Anchor is the epitome of an English Country Inn, boasting beautiful traditional beams and a warm welcoming atmosphere, the perfect setting for post-walk refreshments. The walking route explores the network of beautiful commons, woodlands and heaths that surround the village. Along the way there are captivating views and plenty of wildlife to discover. You will enjoy bluebells in the spring, birdsong in the summer, rich woodland colors in the autumn and frost-covered heather in the winter months. The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout. The woodland stretches can be very muddy after rain and in the wetter months, so good boots are a must (and wellies with grips are recommended in winter). There are a few stretches along village lanes, so take care of traffic at these points. You will need to negotiate some kissing gates, but there are no stiles and no livestock on route. The commons have a complex network of multiple paths so follow the app for navigation. Allow 2.5 hours. Show more
#5 - Old Hall Marshes Circular Walk from Salcott-cum-Virley
Maldon, Essex, England
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Length: 5.0 mi • Est. 2 h 9 m
A beautiful walk from Salcott-cum-Virley around Old Hall Marshes, part of the Blackwater Estuary RSPB reserve. The reserve comprises extensive grazing marshes with brackish water fleets, reedbeds, saltmarsh and two off-shore islands, covering 1500 acres. This walk could be extended to 8 miles if you go around the sea defences.Show more
#6 - South Woodham Ferrers - Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome
South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, England
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Length: 8.3 mi • Est. 3 h 19 m
Not a well signed path but quite well-worn, making it fairly easy to follow. Quite a bit of open land but there is some nice shady woodland stretches too, primarily on the higher ground.Show more
#7 - Dedham, Gun Hill and the Stour Valley
Dedham, Essex, England
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Length: 5.8 mi • Est. 2 h 38 m
This circular walk is situated just north west of Colchester in Essex. It combines lovely old villages, beautiful individual buildings, woods, river and stream-side walking, and views across the broad Stour Valley. Come and see what inspired Constable! This is an area with affluent residents, so throughout the walk there are some impressive spreads to admire. None of the walk is particularly muddy, although the low lying sections get wet after heavy rain. There are only two stiles on the walk, one of which also has wire netting underneath- so dogs will need to jump over this or have a lift. You will also need to negotiate several kissing gates and footbridges. Some sections of the walk are close to the A12 dual carriageway, where the traffic noise is constant. However the attractions of the rest of the walk more than compensate for this, in my view. There are two climbs on the walk- one gentle and one quite steep. Livestock may be encountered alongside the Stour river, and in two fields elsewhere. One mile of the walk is along public roads, although most of these are usually quiet. You will need to cross one sandy gallops track where horses are exercised, so make sure you check this track is clear before you cross. You should allow around 3 hours for the walk.Show more
#8 - Wormingford Hills
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 3.3 mi • Est. 1 h 34 m
A circular walk, close to Colchester in Essex. The route allows you to discover a most unusual corner of Essex - hills, grassland, and grazing livestock. You might think you were in Devon! This circular walk, which is three miles to the north of Colchester, includes magnificent views, a delightful old church and hamlet, a lovely riverside mill house and weir, woodland, rolling grassland and the site of a Tudor hunting lodge. The walk involves some steep, but short, climbs and should take about 1.5 to 2 hours. One short section is almost always wet and muddy. There are three remaining stiles, but most have been replaced by gates. There are a few hundred yards of walking on tarmac lanes, but these are all usually quiet. Both sheep and cattle are likely to be encountered. One short section of the route follows a public right of way across a private garden and you may encounter dogs here.Show more
#9 - Papermill Lock and Little Baddow
Chelmsford, Essex, England
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Length: 7.6 mi • Est. 3 h 2 m
#10 - Wivenhoe and the Colne Estuary
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 6.4 mi • Est. 2 h 34 m
This circular walk in Essex is for lovers of estuary scenery and for birdwatchers. It starts at Wivenhoe, four miles to the south east of Colchester. The outbound leg runs through varied countryside, some attractive, some OK, and just one or two short stretches that are a bit 'industrial'. However, the return leg runs along the water's edge of Alresford Creek and the Colne estuary, providing lovely scenery and excellent birdwatching opportunities. The river frontage of Wivenhoe is well worth a visit, with its superb collection of old cottages and houseboats, sympathetically extended by imaginative and attractive new housing. All of the walk is along well defined tracks and paths and is easy going. There are three stiles, and one foot crossing of an operational railway line. Grazing livestock are unlikely to be encountered. Some sections will get wet and muddy after heavy rain. The walk should take about three hours, plus birdwatching, boat-spotting and view-gazing time.Show more
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