The Stour Estuary and Stour Wood
Spring or summer
Birds and butterflies in Wrabness NR; birds along the Stour Estuary; wild flowers and butterflies along the rides in Stour Wood.
It can be surprisingly cold along the estuary, even on a sunny day – check the forecast and take spare clothing in case.
Train to Wrabness station, or park at Wrabness NR (EWT)
Largely flat or gently undulating, except for steep climbs up to the railway; surfaced footpaths in Wrabness NR, otherwise unsurfaced footpaths and tracks; short sections on quiet roads.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Wrabness stn to Wrabness NR
From Wrabness station turn right down Black Boy Lane, then right again into Station Road, continuing past the end of Church Road then past Dimbols to a sharp righthand bend. A footpath goes off on the crown of the lefthand bend that follows. Follow the signs through a wood, then up the railway bank, across the railway and down the other side into a meadow. Here the footpath runs diagonally across the meadow to the left, then along the verge of an arable field to Wheatsheaf Lane. Turn left to follow Wheatsheaf Lane past the end of Wall Lane and almost to the railway bank, where Wheatsheaf Close turns off right, leading to the entrance to Wrabness NR c. 100m down on the right.
Stage BC: Wrabness NR
From the entrance/car park follow the track into the reserve. At the disabled car park turn left past the barrier and up the slope, then turn right to follow the concrete path, then first left. It then becomes a grass path leading through woodland and then grassland, rejoining the surfaced path at the south-west corner of the reserve by the stock fencing. The surfaced path takes you to the north-west corner, with good views across the Stour Estuary en route, where you join the Essex Way.
Stage CD: Wrabness NR to Church Road
Turn right and follow the track back through Wrabness NR past dense scrub, then down steps or a ramp to the disabled car park. Exit left on a gravel track, then cross the footbridge over the borrowdyke and up to the seawall, turning right to follow it for 200m or so until it descends to (the end of) Wall Lane, which you cross to take a footpath opposite. This turns half-right then runs more or less straight between hedges until you pass a house and garden, turning right afterwards down to Church Road.
Stage DE: Church Road to Copperas Wood
Turn left to follow Church Road for c. 300m, past All Saints Wrabness, until you come to a track on the left which you follow past a caravan site and all the way down to bottom, where you turn right to follow the footpath along the edge of the arable field until you come up on to the (much lower here) seawall. Follow the path on or just inside the seawall beside meadows and through a small wood and a garden. Entering a second area of woodland, the path climbs away from the estuary up to the railway, which you cross via a bridge.
Stage EA: Stour Wood to Wrabness stn
Beyond the railway bridge turn right through the gate and follow the path through a meadow along the top of the railway embankment. After c. 200m you enter Stour Wood: follow the path parallel to the railway until you come to a white arrow, where turn left and continue until a public footpath crosseas, turning right to follow it through and, eventually, out of the wood, turning right by a cottage then through a gate and left, signed 'To the estuary'. Leaving the wood you cross a meadow then come to a farm track, turning right to follow it over the railway bridge, then immediately left on a footpath through grassland then through a wooded patch. You emerge by another railway bridge on your left, next to Wrabness station.