15 Best Walks in Colchester (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks in Colchester (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Are you looking for an adventure?

Want to explore the beauty of Colchester?

Then look no further than this list of the 15 best walks in Colchester.

From stunning hikes to tranquil strolls, this guide will have something for everyone.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, these walks will take you on an unforgettable journey through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the area.

1. Highwoods Country Park

Lake in Highwoods Country Park Colchester

Highwoods Country Park is a stunning nature reserve located just outside of Colchester.

Here, you’ll find miles of lush woodland and rolling meadows to explore.

The park is home to a huge variety of wildlife, so it’s perfect for nature lovers.

You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the winding trails or take it up a notch with a vigorous hike.

Either way, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views and fresh air.

On sunny days, the park is full of families picnicking in the shade and dog walkers enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

Or if you’re looking for something more adventurous, there are plenty of opportunities to explore further; from boating on the lake to cycling through the trails – Highwoods Country Park has something for everyone!

2. Dedham

B1029, Colchester Road, Dedham
Photo by MJ Reilly

Next on the list of best walks in Colchester in Dedham.

Located just five miles from Colchester, this picturesque village is the ideal destination for a relaxing stroll.

From its quaint houses to its ancient church and magnificent river walk, it’s easy to while away an afternoon here meandering through the rustic lanes and admiring the stunning scenery.

The River Stour, with its sweeping bends and lazy meanders, provides the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll along its banks.

It’s a great place to spot wildlife such as herons, swans, kingfishers, and even otters!

As you go further downstream, you will come across Flatford Mill – made famous by John Constable’s painting “The Hay Wain” – and a host of other attractions including The National Trust’s Bridge Cottage Visitor Centre which offers guided tours of the area.

Dedham also boasts some wonderful pubs and tea rooms where you can grab refreshments before heading back home.

For those wanting to explore more of Essex, Dedham is well connected by public transport so you can easily reach nearby towns like Brightlingsea or Mersea Island.

With plenty of things to see and do, Dedham is definitely worth a visit when exploring this part of England.

3. Fordham

Fordham Bridge on Mill Road
Photo by Geographer

Fordham offers a plethora of stunning walks and hikes to explore.

From the peaceful riverbanks of the Colne and Stour to the rolling hills of Dedham Vale, there’s something for everyone here.

The best way to experience Fordham is by taking one of its many walking trails, which will lead you deep into this tranquil corner of Essex.

You’ll find plenty of wildlife along the way, such as badgers and deer, as well as breathtaking views across the countryside.

For those looking for a more challenging adventure, there are plenty of long-distance hiking routes in Fordham.

The Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path both pass through this area and offer a great day out in some truly stunning scenery.

With both routes featuring ancient monuments and fascinating history along the way, they’re well worth adding to your outdoor itinerary.

4. Chapel And Chalkney Wood

Continuing our exploration of the best walks in Colchester, we now take a journey to Chapel and Chalkney Wood.

This area is full of natural beauty, with winding paths and stunning views that will take your breath away.

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The woods offer a peaceful walk, where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The area has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its diverse habitats and rare species of wildlife.

As you explore the woodlands, you’ll find ancient trees, wildflowers, and songbirds that bring the forest to life.

Furthermore, the wooded areas are surrounded by meadows and farmland, giving you the chance to observe some of Britain’s most beloved animals in their natural habitat.

Chapel and Chalkney Wood provide an opportunity to connect with nature while enjoying some fresh air – an ideal escape from city life!

5. Wivenhoe And The Colne Estuary

Begin your exploration of the Colchester area with a visit to Wivenhoe and the Colne Estuary.

Here you will discover one of the most scenic hikes in the area, taking in views across wide wetlands and riverbanks.

The estuary is a haven for wildlife and birds, making it an ideal spot for bird watchers looking to catch a glimpse of something special.

Along the walk, there are plenty of spots to stop and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature – be sure to keep an eye out for kingfishers darting along the shoreline!

Walking through this tranquil landscape will transport you away from everyday life – giving you a chance to reconnect with nature and recharge your batteries.

After exploring these peaceful surroundings, head into Wivenhoe town itself where you can find plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shops to explore.

As well as providing a great way to relax after a day’s walking, these establishments also offer some great local produce that’s perfect for treating yourself or stocking up on supplies before heading off again.

With its stunning scenery and welcoming atmosphere, Wivenhoe is sure to provide unforgettable memories during your time in Colchester!

6. Wormingford Hills

Wormingford Hills offers a picturesque escape from city life and a chance to take in the beautiful Essex countryside.

Located just outside of Colchester, this area is perfect for hikers, nature lovers, and anyone who wants to appreciate the beauty of England’s rolling hills.

The terrain changes as you ascend Wormingford Hill, providing spectacular views of the surrounding area.

There are plenty of paths to explore and plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.

The top of the hill provides an incredible viewpoint with panoramic views reaching far across Essex into Suffolk and beyond.

On a clear day, you can see for miles in all directions – it truly is one of the most breathtaking sights in England!

Hiking on Wormingford Hill is an incredibly rewarding experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated by nature’s beauty.

Accompanied by birdsong, fresh country air, and stunning scenery – this is an ideal place for those seeking a peaceful escape from city life.

Whether you are looking to take a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike – Wormingford Hills has something for everyone.

7. Town To Sea Trail

For those looking for a pleasant and satisfying walk in the Colchester area, the Town to Sea Trail is an excellent choice.

This 8-mile route offers stunning views of the Essex countryside and coastline, connecting the town of Colchester with its neighboring seaside towns.

The trail follows a relatively flat path, making it suitable for all kinds of walkers or hikers.

Starting in Colchester’s historic center, you can enjoy ancient architecture such as St Botolph’s Priory and Mersea Island Museum as you stroll along.

As you leave town, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling hills and farmland filled with sheep and cattle.

After a few miles, you’ll reach beautiful Mersea Island where you can take in vast salt marshes and a variety of birdlife before finishing your journey back in Colchester.

This route is perfect for anyone seeking an enjoyable day out in nature – whether that be walking or simply taking time to appreciate the natural beauty around them.

With its combination of history, culture, and wildlife, this trail truly encapsulates all that Colchester has to offer.

8. Colchester Orbital

The Town to Sea Trail is a great way to get out and explore the stunning beauty of Colchester.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, check out the Colchester Orbital.

This circular walking route takes you around the whole town and its surrounding countryside, giving you an excellent view of what makes Colchester so special.

It’s a moderate walk with some steep sections, but it’s well worth the effort for the spectacular views it provides.

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You’ll pass through historic sites such as Lexden Wood and Roman Circus, giving you an insight into Colchester’s past.

And when you reach Colchester Castle, don’t forget to stop and take in the incredible panoramas from its walls!

There are plenty of opportunities along this route to admire wildlife, including deer and birds of prey, so keep your eyes peeled!

This captivating trail is sure to be an unforgettable experience, offering up breathtaking vistas that will stay with you long after your walk ends.

9. Colchester Castle Park

Colchester Castle Park is the perfect destination for a leisurely walk.

It’s an oasis of beauty, with well-maintained gardens and plenty of trees offering shade from the summer sun.

The park also offers walks that take you around the castle itself, giving you stunning views of the town and its surrounding countryside.

You can even see the ancient Roman walls that are still standing in this area.

The park has been designed to be enjoyed by all, regardless of age or mobility.

There are plenty of benches and picnic spots where you can relax and take in the breathtaking views.

You can also explore some of the historical sites within the grounds, such as St Mary’s Church and Colchester Castle Museum.

The latter is especially interesting, as it contains artifacts from over 2000 years ago!

Whatever your interests, there’s sure to be something to capture your imagination here.

If you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, then look no further than Colchester Castle Park – it will leave you feeling renewed and energized after a day spent exploring this beautiful corner of England.

10. Markshall Estate

If you’re looking for a great walk in Colchester, look no further than Markshall Estate.

Located just outside the town, this beautiful spot is ideal for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The estate boasts a variety of stunning natural features, including lush meadows, ancient woodlands, and tranquil ponds.

This tranquil landscape is perfect for exploring on foot; whether you’re walking with friends or family, there’s something here to suit everyone.

The estate also has plenty of wildlife; keep an eye out for foxes, badgers, and even deer as you make your way around the grounds.

The paths are well-maintained and easy to navigate – making it suitable for all ages and abilities.

With spectacular views across open countryside, it’s easy to forget that you’re only a few miles from Colchester’s bustling center.

Take some time out here and enjoy being surrounded by nature – it’s a great way to escape from the stresses of modern life!

11. Mersea

Leaving behind the lush beauty of Markshall Estate, we now turn our attention to the stunning coastal town of Mersea.

Located on the Colne Estuary, this charming village is home to a number of delightful walks and hikes that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

The first walk we recommend is across the salt marsh from Mersea Island to St. Lawrence Bay.

This tranquil path leads through some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes in Essex – a combination of mudflats, creeks, and reed beds that are home to an incredible array of wildlife.

Along the way, you’ll be able to observe a variety of shorebirds, as well as seals basking in the sun on a sandbank.

The entire walk takes around three hours and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

If you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous, then head to Cudmore Grove Country Park.

Here you’ll find five miles of trails winding through ancient woodland, meadows, marshes, lakeside paths, and beachfront – perfect for nature lovers!

There’s plenty of wildlife to spot on your journey too; including deer, badgers, and kingfishers.

Plus with its fantastic views out over the estuary and surrounding countryside, it’s an excellent place to get away from it all for a while and soak up some fresh sea air!

12. Flatford Granary Loop From Dedham

The Flatford Granary loop from Dedham is one of the best walks in Colchester for those seeking a leisurely stroll with stunning views.

Starting from the picturesque village of Dedham, the walk winds its way through lush countryside and wooded areas before arriving at Flatford Granary, where you can admire the beautiful old brick building.

From there, you continue on to explore more of this area’s stunning scenery, passing several meadows and tranquil rivers as well as an old windmill.

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The walk culminates in a spectacular view of the River Stour, providing a perfect photo opportunity.

You’ll also enjoy a range of wildlife along the way, including swans and herons.

The route is well-marked and easy to follow too, making it ideal for all ages.

No matter your experience level or desired pace, this route offers something for everyone: an idyllic escape into nature that will leave you feeling relaxed and free – a rewarding experience that will stay with you long after your journey ends.

13. Willy Lott’s House

Set in the quaint village of Flatford, Willy Lott’s House is a must-see attraction for any nature lover.

Located just outside Colchester, this 17th-century farmhouse is an idyllic spot to take in some tranquil rural views.

The house was made famous after being mentioned in John Constable’s painting ‘The Hay Wain’ and has been preserved as a National Trust property since 1969.

It’s surrounded by meadows, woodland, and the River Stour which provides plenty of opportunities for exploration and picnicking.

There are also several trails around the house ideal for long walks or hikes, allowing visitors to discover all that this beautiful area has to offer.

Willy Lott’s House is a great spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life; it’s a true slice of paradise away from the crowds – perfect for reconnecting with nature!

14. Coney Field Wood Section Loop From Messing

The Coney Field Wood section loop from Messing is an idyllic hike that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With towering trees, tranquil streams, and stunning views of the countryside, this picturesque route will take your breath away.

The trail begins near the village of Messing and takes you through verdant fields, lush woodlands, and open meadows.

You’ll pass Coney Field wood before arriving at a viewpoint overlooking the River Colne valley.

The landscape is full of wildlife, with deer sightings being commonplace throughout the course of the walk.

The entire circuit is roughly three miles long and is suitable for all levels of hikers; however, it can sometimes be muddy so appropriate footwear is advised.

As you complete the circuit you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views across Colchester and beyond.

This walk is perfect for those looking to get away from it all and reconnect with nature in all its beauty.

So if you’re in search of a relaxing stroll or an invigorating hike in some breathtaking scenery, then look no further than this delightful loop around Messing village!

15. Hythe Circular

The Hythe Circular is a must-visit for walkers and nature lovers alike.

Located on the outskirts of Colchester, this route takes in some of the best views of the town’s picturesque countryside.

The trail starts from the small fishing village of Hythe and winds its way around fields, woodland, and marshland.

The path is relatively easy to follow and with a few gentle hills along the way, it’s suitable for families as well as experienced hikers.

As you stroll along, take time to appreciate your surroundings; look out for birds, wildflowers, and other wildlife that can be spotted in abundance here.

Stop off at one of the many pubs that line the route to sample some local delicacies or just enjoy a rest before taking in the final stretch of your journey.

Take the time to soak up all that this walk has to offer – fresh air, stunning scenery, and an almost spiritual sense of freedom. This is what walking in Colchester is all about!

Best Walks in Colchester – Final Thoughts

I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some of the best walks that Colchester has to offer.

From the stunning views at Highwoods Country Park to the peaceful stroll around Willy Lott’s House, there’s something for everyone here.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, Dedham and Fordham provide stunning routes with plenty of wildlife and beautiful scenery.

And if you’re up for a bit of exploration, don’t miss out on Chapel and Chalkney Wood or Wivenhoe and the Colne Estuary which both offer fantastic trails.

Overall, Colchester has some incredible walks that are perfect for all levels – whether you’re after an easy walk or something more challenging.

With so many options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your needs!


What are some easy walks in Colchester?

Some easy walks in Colchester are Dedham Vale, Constable Walk loop, and Coney field wood section loop.

What are the best circular walks in Colchester?

Some of the best circular walks in Colchester are West Mersea circular, East Mersea circular, and Highwoods Country Park circular.

What are some good family walks in Colchester?

Some good family walks in Colchester are Wormingford Hills, Abberton Reservoir Circuit, and West Mersea Circular Walk.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.