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The Best Coastal Walks In Essex To Do

These coastal walks in Essex, a county in the East of England, boast a diverse and picturesque coastline for walking that offers a plethora of options for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

With its stunning landscapes, rich maritime history, and an abundance of wildlife, Essex’s coastline provides an idyllic backdrop for strolls or more challenging hikes.


Coastal Walks In Essex

Whether you’re seeking serene moments by the sea, historical intrigue, or a chance to explore the county’s unique ecosystems, the coastal walks in Essex have something for everyone.

From charming coastal villages to rugged cliffs and salt marshes, these walks offer an opportunity to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the beauty of this fascinating region.

There are suggested walking itineraries in some of the areas mentioned, but of course, you can always choose your routes.

Firstly a top tip: If you want the perfect guidebook for walks in Essex then this is the one to get (on Amazon): Essex Outstanding Circular Walks by Dennis and Jan Kelsall.

The book has detailed guides for coastal walks in Essex as well as other areas.


Essex Wildlife Trust Reserves

Two Tree Island.

Exploring the Essex Wildlife Trust Reserves provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy some of the best coastal walks in Essex while observing the diverse wildlife and unique ecosystems of the region.

Abberton Reservoir:

Located near Colchester, Abberton Reservoir is a paradise for birdwatchers. The circular trail around the reservoir offers stunning views and numerous bird hides for observing a wide variety of waterfowl and wading birds.

The coastal paths surrounding the reservoir are part of the Essex Way, a long-distance footpath that passes through picturesque countryside and along the coast.

Two Tree Island:

Situated near Southend-on-Sea, Two Tree Island is a coastal reserve known for its tidal lagoons and salt marshes. The walk here takes you through a mix of habitats, and you can spot wading birds, wildflowers, and insects. The reserve is particularly popular for birdwatching, with its hides and observation points.

Blue House Farm:

This reserve, located near North Fambridge, offers a wonderful coastal walk along the banks of the River Crouch. The trail takes you through marshes and farmland, with opportunities to observe diverse birdlife and experience the unique atmosphere of the salt marshes.

Gunners Park and Shoeburyness Foreshore:

This reserve near Southend-on-Sea features a mix of coastal landscapes, including sandy beaches, tidal pools, and grassy areas. It’s a great spot for a family-friendly coastal walk with stunning sea views and a chance to explore the rich marine environment.

Colne Point:

Located near St. Osyth, Colne Point is a remote coastal reserve with a range of habitats, including mudflats, salt marshes, and grazing marshes. The circular trail provides an opportunity to enjoy unspoiled coastal scenery and is an excellent place for birdwatching.

These Essex Wildlife Trust Reserves offer a diverse range of coastal walks, each with its unique charm and natural beauty.

Whether you’re interested in birdwatching, exploring salt marshes, or simply enjoying the peaceful coastal landscapes, these reserves have something to offer nature enthusiasts and walkers of all kinds.

Make sure to check the specific reserve’s opening times and visitor guidelines before planning your visit.

Harwich

A coastal walk in Harwich offers a delightful experience filled with history, stunning maritime views, and the charm of a traditional British seaside town which makes for one of the best coastal walks in Essex.

Starting Point: Harwich Railway Station

Begin your journey at the Harwich Railway Station, a convenient starting point for visitors arriving by train.

1. Ha’penny Pier:

Walk from the railway station to Ha’penny Pier, an iconic spot in Harwich. This historic pier offers lovely views of the harbour, the Stour and Orwell estuaries, and the bustling activity of the port. Take a moment to admire the ships and fishing boats.

2. Harwich Maritime Museum:

Just a short distance from Ha’penny Pier, you can visit the Harwich Maritime Museum. Explore the rich maritime history of Harwich through fascinating exhibits and artefacts.

3. Historic Old Harwich:

Stroll through the charming streets of Old Harwich, where you’ll find picturesque Georgian and Victorian buildings, quaint pubs, and historic landmarks. Don’t miss the Electric Palace Cinema, one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in the UK.

4. Harwich Green and Beach:

Head towards Harwich Green and enjoy the open space and views of the beach. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade and enjoy the gentle lapping of the waves.

5. Dovercourt Bay:

If you want to extend your walk, continue to Dovercourt Bay, which is part of the same coastal town. The beach here is ideal for a relaxing stroll, and you can explore the lighthouses and beach huts that dot the area.

6. High Lighthouse and Low Lighthouse:

On your way back, visit the High Lighthouse and Low Lighthouse, both picturesque and integral to the maritime history of Harwich. They make for great photo opportunities.

7. Return to Harwich Railway Station:

From here, make your way back to the Harwich Railway Station to conclude your coastal walk.

This coastal walk in Harwich not only offers scenic beauty but also a deep connection to the town’s maritime past.

You’ll encounter historic sites, a charming town centre, and the tranquil ambience of the seaside. It’s a delightful way to spend a day exploring Harwich’s coastal treasures and one of the best coastal walks in Essex.

If you want to stay the night in Harwich then you can book hotels/B&Bs in Harwich here.

Frinton-on-Sea

Frinton-on-Sea, a charming seaside town in Essex, offers a wonderful coastal walk along its elegant promenade and beautiful beaches. Here’s a suggested route for a coastal walk in Frinton-on-Sea:

Starting Point: Frinton Railway Station

Begin your coastal walk at Frinton Railway Station if you’re arriving by train. From here, you can easily access the town’s lovely seafront.

1. Frinton Seafront:

Head towards the seafront, and you’ll find yourself on Connaught Avenue, the main street of Frinton-on-Sea. As you stroll down this picturesque avenue, you’ll be greeted by attractive Edwardian and Victorian architecture, which lends the town a timeless charm.

2. Frinton Beach:

The main attraction of Frinton-on-Sea is its sandy beach. As you reach the seafront, you can’t miss the wide, sandy beach that stretches for miles. Take a leisurely walk along the shoreline, listening to the soothing sounds of the waves. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to relax on the beach or dip your toes in the sea.

3. The Greensward:

Parallel to the beach, Frinton-on-Sea features a beautifully maintained greensward. This grassy area offers a perfect spot for picnics, playing games, or simply taking a break to enjoy the fresh sea air.

4. Frinton Golf Club:

For golf enthusiasts, the Frinton Golf Club is nearby and offers a pleasant view of the seaside. Even if you’re not a golfer, you can still appreciate the picturesque setting.

5. Martello Towers:

As you continue your coastal walk, you’ll come across the Martello Towers, which are historic defence structures. These towers add a touch of historical intrigue to your walk.

6. Connaught Gardens:

Visit Connaught Gardens, a delightful park featuring colourful flower beds, a fountain, and well-kept lawns. It’s an excellent place for a peaceful break and provides beautiful views of the sea.

7. Return to Frinton Railway Station:

After enjoying your walk along the beach and exploring the town, make your way back to Frinton Railway Station to conclude your coastal stroll.

A coastal walk in Frinton-on-Sea is a perfect blend of natural beauty, seaside ambience, and a touch of historical charm. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely day by the sea or a serene escape, Frinton-on-Sea’s coastal walk has something to offer every visitor.

Walton-on-the-Naze

A coastal walk in Walton-on-the-Naze offers a unique experience with its fossil-rich cliffs, historic landmarks, and stunning views of the North Sea. Here’s a suggested route for a coastal walk in Walton-on-the-Naze:

Starting Point: Walton-on-the-Naze Railway Station

Begin your coastal walk at the Walton-on-the-Naze Railway Station, which provides easy access to the town and its picturesque seaside.

1. Walton Pier:

Start your walk at Walton Pier, a prominent feature along the coast. It’s a great place to enjoy the sea views, amusements, and refreshments. You can also take a stroll along the pier for additional panoramic views.

2. Naze Tower:

Make your way towards the Naze Tower, an iconic local landmark. This historic tower offers exhibitions about the local area and the geology of the Naze. It also provides an excellent vantage point for birdwatching and viewing the surrounding landscapes.

3. The Naze Nature Reserve:

The Naze Nature Reserve is a significant part of the walk. You can explore a variety of habitats, including salt marshes, grasslands, and mudflats. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and seabirds, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

4. Fossil Hunting:

Walton-on-the-Naze is famous for its fossil-rich cliffs. If you’re interested in fossil hunting, explore the beach below the cliffs, especially during low tide. You might find ancient treasures like ammonites and fossilized wood.

5. Enjoy the Sandy Beach:

Continue your walk along Walton’s sandy beach. This is a great opportunity for beachcombing, sunbathing, or simply taking in the beauty of the North Sea.

6. Walton Maritime Museum:

Visit the Walton Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the maritime history of the town and its connections to smuggling and lifesaving efforts.

7. Return to Walton-on-the-Naze Railway Station:

After enjoying your coastal walk and exploring the natural and historical highlights of the area, make your way back to the Walton-on-the-Naze Railway Station to conclude your journey.

A coastal walk in Walton-on-the-Naze offers a unique blend of natural beauty, geological wonders, and historical intrigue.

Whether you’re interested in fossil hunting, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the refreshing sea air, this walk provides a memorable seaside experience and one of the best coastal walks in Essex.

Mersea Island

Embarking on a coastal walk on Mersea Island promises a delightful experience, with its serene beaches, salt marshes, and charming fishing villages. Here’s a suggested route for a Mersea Island coastal walk:

Starting Point: Mersea Island Causeway

Begin your coastal adventure at the Mersea Island Causeway. This is the road that connects Mersea Island to the mainland. Take a moment to enjoy the view of the surrounding estuaries.

1. Cudmore Grove Country Park:

Head towards Cudmore Grove Country Park, a nature reserve on the eastern side of the island. This park offers a mix of woodland, meadows, and coastal habitats. Stroll along the designated trails and enjoy the views of the Blackwater Estuary.

2. East Mersea Beach:

Continue your walk towards East Mersea Beach. The sandy shores and gentle waves provide a perfect setting for a stroll along the coastline. Take in the sea air and enjoy the tranquillity of the beach.

3. West Mersea:

Walk towards West Mersea, the main village on the island. Explore the quaint streets, visit local shops, and perhaps indulge in some fresh seafood at one of the village’s renowned seafood restaurants.

4. Company Shed and Fishing Huts:

Don’t miss the Company Shed, a famous seafood eatery with a charming rustic atmosphere. Nearby, you’ll find colourful fishing huts lining the waterfront, adding to the authentic maritime character of the island.

5. Mersea Stone and Oyster Pits:

As you continue your walk, you’ll come across the Mersea Stone, a historical marker that signifies the transition from the mainland to the island. Explore the Oyster Pits, where you can learn about the island’s rich oyster-farming history.

6. Mersea Island Vineyard:

For those interested in local produce, consider a visit to the Mersea Island Vineyard. Take a detour to explore the vineyards and perhaps indulge in a wine-tasting session.

7. Return to Mersea Island Causeway:

Complete your coastal walk by returning to the Mersea Island Causeway, taking in the scenic views one last time before concluding your journey.

A coastal walk on Mersea Island allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and maritime charm of this idyllic location.

Whether you’re exploring nature reserves, enjoying sandy beaches, or savouring local seafood, Mersea Island offers a memorable coastal experience and the opportunity for some of the best coastal walks in Essex.

Canvey Island

Embarking on a coastal walk on Canvey Island offers some of the best coastal walks in Essex opportunities with a mix of diverse landscapes, including sea walls, salt marshes, and a seafront park. Here’s a suggested route for a Canvey Island coastal walk:

Starting Point: Canvey Island Seafront

Begin your coastal walk at Canvey Island Seafront. This is a central point with access to the sea walls and picturesque views of the Thames estuary.

1. Canvey Heights Country Park:

Head towards Canvey Heights Country Park, where you can enjoy a mix of woodlands and open spaces. The elevated vantage points provide panoramic views of the surrounding area. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and appreciate the natural beauty.

2. Canvey Island Sea Wall:

Proceed to the Canvey Island Sea Wall, which offers a scenic path along the Thames estuary. The sea wall provides expansive views of the water and is an excellent spot for birdwatching.

3. Labworth Café and Seawall Gardens:

As you continue along the sea wall, you’ll reach the Labworth Café and Seawall Gardens. This is a perfect place to take a break, enjoy refreshments, and soak in the seaside atmosphere.

4. Canvey Island Promenade:

Continue your walk along the Canvey Island Promenade, which runs parallel to the seafront. This area is popular for its traditional seaside amenities, including arcades and ice cream stands.

5. Thorney Bay Beach:

Explore Thorney Bay Beach, a sandy stretch along the seafront. It’s a great place to relax, take in the sea breeze, and enjoy the coastal scenery.

6. Canvey Wick Nature Reserve:

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Canvey Wick Nature Reserve is a must. This reserve features a unique blend of habitats, including grasslands and former industrial areas transformed into thriving wildlife spaces.

7. Return to Canvey Island Seafront:

Conclude your coastal walk by returning to Canvey Island Seafront, completing the loop. Take the time to appreciate the maritime views and reflect on the natural beauty of the area.

A coastal walk on Canvey Island provides a mix of natural beauty, recreational spaces, and seaside charm. Walking along the sea walls, enjoying the nature reserves, or the traditional seaside attractions, Canvey Island offers a diverse and enjoyable coastal experience.


For more on the region take a look at the 10 best seaside towns in Norfolk to visit.


Essex

These coastal walks in Essex are a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural heritage waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to this charming county, these walks offer a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the soothing sights and sounds of the coast.

If you want the perfect guidebook for walks in Essex then this is the one to get (on Amazon): Essex Outstanding Circular Walks by Dennis and Jan Kelsall. It has detailed guides for many options for coastal walks in Essex as well as other areas.

From the scenic tranquillity of Mersea Island to the historic charm of Harwich and the vibrant nature reserves along the way, Essex’s coastline has something for everyone.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on these coastal adventures and create lasting memories while discovering the hidden gems that line the shores of Essex.


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