Best partially paved trails in Colchester, Essex

127 Reviews
Explore the most popular partially paved trails near Colchester with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of partially paved trails in Colchester, Essex
Top trails (9)
#1 - Wivenhoe and the Colne Estuary
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 6.3 mi • Est. 2 h 45 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
#2 - West Mersea Circular Walk
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 5.4 mi • Est. 2 h 22 m
#3 - Marks Hall and Bunsgate Woods Walk
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 7.2 mi • Est. 3 h 19 m
This circular walk explores a part of Essex that is unusually densely wooded. It uses quiet country roads, tracks and footpaths to go though a mixture of farmland, mature oak and beech woods, coppice and parkland. There is one stretch around the perimeter of an airfield that is decidedly non-rural. The walk starts near Coggeshall, 9 miles west of Colchester and 5.5 miles east of Braintree. This is a pleasant walk if you are already in the area, perhaps visiting a local attraction. The walking is easy-going and on the flat. There is just one short section where tractors have badly rutted a track that clearly can get very wet, but there is an avoiding path through the adjacent coppice. There are no stiles or livestock on the route, so it is a good route for dogs, even for ones who love to crash excitedly about (go, springer spaniels!). 1.8 miles of the route is on quiet public lanes, while 500 metres is along an access road to an industrial estate (but it has wide verges). It should take about 3.5 hours.Show more
#4 - Brightlingsea: Coast, Creeks and Country
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 9.3 mi • Est. 4 h 2 m
This circular Essex walk offers varied and attractive country- estuary, creeks, pasture and arable farmland, woodland, sand quarries (both working and abandoned), extensive views, and the historic Cinque port of Brightlingsea, 8 miles south east of Colchester. Birdwatching opportunities vary from 'good' to 'excellent'. This walk provides a lot of interest. The walking is flat and easy-going throughout. No sections were wet, but doubtless some may become so after heavy rain. There are several kissing gates and just one stile, which will not provide a daunting barrier for either humans or dogs. About two miles of the route is on tarmac, most of which is quiet country lanes, but including about 0.3 of a mile through Brightlingsea, taking in its historic 'Hard'. Both cattle and sheep will be encountered. Allow five hours, plus view-gazing, birdwatching and exploration time.Show more
#5 - Abberton Reservoir Circuit
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 12.1 mi • Est. 5 h 35 m
This walk is a special one for birdwatchers, going all the way around Abberton Reservoir. Abberton has long been considered to be the single best reservoir for birdwatching in the country, due to its location near the East coast fly-way. Over 280 species have been seen here. Recent work has resulted in significant potential improvements for wildlife, which will strengthen over time. The walk starts 5.5 miles southwest of Colchester. It traverses typically pleasant, but unspectacular, Essex rural scenery. Not all of the route is in view of the water, but the habitats seen include open water, reedbed, scrapes and lagoons, rough grassland, wood, scrub, pasture and arable farmland. Most of the walk is good for dogs, with the only livestock being near Layer Church and (possibly) Wigborough Church. However, dogs that are excitedly charging through grassland and scrub will disturb birds and do not really fit with the ethos of a nature reserve. There is one notable downside to the route. The route makes use of paths, tracks and roads. There is one stile along the route. Some of it is on bare earth, the condition of which will vary according to the amount of recent rainfall. A total of 2.2 miles is on public roads, including the Layer Breton causeway, which is one of the prime birdwatching locations. However 0.7 mile is along a busy B-road, where the verges are narrow. There is no getting away from the fact that this stretch is not a pleasant experience. However, at the moment there is no alternative to tackling it, if you want to go right round the reservoir. If you want a shorter route that avoids this stretch there are some options. Sections 1 and 2 could be used to create a shorter, circular walk, returning via the Layer-de-la-Haye causeway. The sections from Peldon onwards could be used as 'out and back' walks - the reservoir can also be accessed at Peldon (Waypoint 4), Abberton Church (Waypoint 5) and Layer Church (Waypoint 7). This route does not make use of the Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve, which is located next to the start car park (because it is only open 9-5, and non-members are expected to make a donation). But it is well worth visiting, with three hides, a good woodland walk, and a well equipped visitor centre.Show more
#6 - East Mersea Circular Walk
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 5.2 mi • Est. 2 h 5 m
#7 - Along the Colne Valley from Chappel to Colchester
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 7.9 mi • Est. 3 h 31 m
This linear walk runs from the tiny rural railway station at Chappel to the main line one at Colchester in Essex, following the River Colne nearly all the way. (The return leg can be completed by train, a journey that takes 15-30 minutes with one change at Marks Tey). Most of the walk passes through unspoilt, quiet and attractive scenery, including the 500 acre Woodland Trust nature reserve of Fordham Hall. Five pubs are on, or near, the route, providing ample scope for diversions. The Colchester end of the walk, while avoiding road walking, does offer some 'different' experiences - not one, but two, pedestrian tunnels amongst them. Two sections of the walk get wet and boggy after rain - this is a walk for boots. There are two gentle climbs on the walk. Sheep will be encountered in the early part of the walk, and cattle may be in the central part. There are no stiles on the walk, only gates. The walk involves walking along very quiet tarmac lanes for a total of 1.3 miles, but these are very pleasant. There are three places where rural roads need to be crossed (where care needs to be taken), and one place where unfenced proximity to the A12 dual carriageway means that dogs must be temporarily leashed - the commentary provides plenty of explanation. You will need to cross a couple of golf course fairways so follow the safety notices here. Allow 4 hours.Show more
#8 - Abbey Field and Colchester Garrison Circular
Abbey Field
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Length: 3.6 mi • Est. 1 h 38 m
#9 - University Park
Colchester, Essex, England
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Length: 2.1 mi • Est. 50 m