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Abberton Reservoir Circuit is a 12.1 mile loop trail located near Colchester, Essex, England that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and bird watching.

Length 12.1 mi Elevation gain 1,059 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Lake

Partially paved

River

Description
Waypoints (8)
Getting There

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.

Start the walk at the free public car park at the north end of the Layer-de-la-Haye causeway, on the road from Layer-de-la-Haye to Tollesbury, CO2 0EU. Many people may choose to use the car park for the nearby Essex Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre (also free), but as this is only open from 9am to 5pm, I chose the adjacent public one. This location is served by Hedingham Bus route 92, between Colchester and Tollesbury. In addition, Malting Green (which is near to the section of the walk after Waypoint 6) is served by First bus route 50.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (11)
Photos (10)
Recordings (7)
Completed (16)
Craig Gill
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6 hour treck over a variety of different terrains . Saw a few owls, deer, foxes, among the bat's and birds. A few nice viewpoints to break and relax! Beautiful views of Abberton

Ian Cardy
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HikingMuddy
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Lee Day
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HikingMuddy

Unfortunately due to recent rainy weather conditions, pretty much the whole route was excessively muddy and any grass was rain soaked. The part of the route across farmers fields was really unclear at one point as it indicates you should walk across the middle of a field which a) I wasn’t actually sure if you were allowed to do, b) the mud would have just built up on my boots to a ridiculous degree resulting in unstable traction with excess weight. I can imagine it’s a lovely walk in good weather. There are benches along the route to rest and take in the views. There are plenty of sheep along the way, there is also a myriad of different mushrooms. I wish I knew the names as the variety was immense with different sizes, shapes and colours! In summary, it is a substantial walk made all the harder because of the rain soaked terrain. You do also see some lovely houses

Hope Alexander
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 12, 2019
HikingBugs
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edward edward
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 29, 2018
First to Review

There are some ploughed fields to avoid but alternately bridleways have been developed which improve the route

Lewis Barker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 11, 2020
Hiking
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Ashleigh Boreham
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Hiking
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Jason Nash
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 25, 2020
Hiking
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Steven Moss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 5, 2020
Hiking
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Clive Wood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 23, 2019
Hiking
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Karen Burge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 14, 2019
Hiking