Wivenhoe and Colne
Circular walk along the Colne Estuary
Late spring or summer
Wetland birds and insects along the Colne; songbirds and wild flowers, including drifts of honeysuckle, in the woods and hedgerows.
Noise from the railway along the river, and from traffic on the road sections.
Start from Wivenhoe station or from the Rosabelle Avenue car park at Wivenhoe Woods
Flat or gently undulating terrain, mainly on well-defined unsurfaced footpaths; one lengthy section and another shorter section along the verge of busy roads.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Wivenhoe and Colne estuary
From Old Ferry Road, follow the quay along beside the river, detouring round Cook's Shipyard development while under construction and (presumably) through it along the quay when built, ending up at the Colne Barrier. After the Colne Barrier the seawall path resumes, with pastures to your left and beyond it the course of a dismantled railway. After converging with the former railway you enter a shady stretch next to the woods of Alresford Grange.
Stage BC: River Colne to Wivenhoe Road
Towards the end of the woods take a footpath on the left that leads up through the edge of the woods then beside an arable field, with a hedgerow on the left, then through a gate on to a surfaced bridleway/Green Lane, running parallel to the access road to Alresford Quarry and lined with big oaks. The final stretch of this bridleway is open with views over the Colne and Wivenhoe on the left, before it joins Wivenhoe Road.
Stage CD: Wivenhoe Road to Brightlingsea Road
Cross the road and turn right to follow the verge opposite. Just past two cottages a footpath leaves on the left via a style, across horse paddocks to a level crossing across the railway. Immediately after crossing turn left through a small wood. You come out on to a track for a short distance then the footpath turns off right into woodland just short of a bridge over a stream. Follow the path through the wood beside the stream, forking right where the paths diverge, then turning right when you join a farm track. Go straight on where the track veers left, passing a wetland down on your right. At a small wood the path turns left. Follow it through several arable fields, with the hedgerow on your right, until you come out on to the Brightlingsea Road (B1027).
Stage DE: Brightlingsea Road to Lodge Farm
Turn left to follow the verge for 200m, taking the first turn left, signposted Wivenhoe, cycle route 51. After 150m a footpath turns off right via a kissing gate, first open across meadow, then hedged both sides. It crosses a quarry access road, and just after take the right fork to follow it along the righthand bank of a large angling lake. Beyond the lake you emerge into a large area of open grassland. Take the grass track that runs straight ahead towards the houses opposite, converging with a section of allotments on the left. Turn left at the houses, then right on the paved track, coming out on to the Colchester Road (B1028) opposite the Horse & Groom PH. Cross the road to a footpath just to the left of the PH, turning left where it meets Tower Road, then 100m on right into Spring Lane. Follow Spring Lane until it becomes Broome Grove, where a footpath continues from the lefthand side of the road. This footpath brings you out on to Lodge Farm open space.
Stage EA: Lodge Farm to Wivenhoe
Head down across the mown grassland with scrub and trees on your left. At the bottom cross the railside path to a level crossing, turning left on to the surfaced path the other side. At first the path is wooded, but soon views over the Colne estuary open up on your right and after a while you come to the entrance to Ferry Marsh on the right. Go through the entrance gate and follow the path around the marsh towards the estuary, turning left along the seawall when you come to it, with views of Rowhedge across the Colne on you right. When the seawall path emerges on to the road continue straight on beside the Colne along Old Ferry Road.
Stage FA: Access from Wivenhoe station
On leaving Wivenhoe station and forecourt, take the middle road from the roundabout, which is West Street and, about 60m down, turn right into Rowhedge Ferry Road, which leads into The Shipwrights. At the bottom you come out on to West Quay, at point A, where you turn left beside the river.