WALKING IN THE DISTRICT

The Maldon District is an ideal place for walking and has seventy-five miles of meandering coastline, numerous nature reserves and diverse landscapes. The extensive network of footpaths and quiet country lanes enable the casual explorer, as well as the more dedicated rambler, to enjoy the open farmland and waterside areas of the area, whilst taking in the big skies and extensive panoramic views.

COASTAL WALKS

Burnham-on-Crouch Quay

This is a very pleasant and relatively undemanding stroll through the attractive yachiting centre of Burnham-on-Crouch and nearby countryside. A decent stretch of the walk is alongside the scenic River Crouch. There is a lot to see along the way, including birdlife, historic buildings, river views and boats of all shapes and sizes. Burnham has a large number of pubs, restaurants and cafés, so there is plenty of choice for refreshments at the end of this walk.

Distance: 4.25 miles (6.8km)

Time taken: 2 ½ hours

Sea wall at Goldhanger

This lovely walk combines a good stretch of walking in Essex farmland with a decent hike on the sea wall alongside the estuary of the River Blackwater. The walk starts and finishes in the charming and historic village of Goldhanger, with its old cottages, two pubs and 11th century church of St. Peter's. Along the way, there are red hills (formed as a result of generations of local salt making), inter-tidal saltmarsh and mudflats, and boats harvesting the oyster beds.

Distance: 8 Miles (12.8km)

Time taken: 3 ¼ hours

Tollesbury
Tollesbury Wick Marshes is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and you can enjoy either a short or long walk around this spectacular nature reserve, which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. Both routes make for superb walks as they provide plenty of interest. There are good views of the Blackwater Estuary and Mersea Island, as well as excellent opportunities for bird watching. Tollesbury is now renowned as a yachting centre.

Distance: Short walk - 5.8 miles. Longer walk - 8.9 miles
Time taken: Short walk - 2 ¾ hours. Longer walk 4 ½ hours.
Saltmarsh Coast Trail

Along the coastline of the Maldon District, five Saltmarsh Coast Hubs are being installed as part of Maldon District Council's Dengie Gateway Project. These include:

These inspirational visitor information points make the perfect starting point for your journey and provide you with engaging facts and details about this fascinating part of Essex's Discovery Coast.

Saltmarsh Coast Trail
Additionally, audio posts, signage and waymarking will continue to be installed. This work has been undertaken as part of the Maldon District Council’s Dengie Gateway Project funded by the Coastal Community’s Fund.

These inspirational visitor information points make the perfect starting point for your journey and provide you with engaging facts and details about this fascinating part of Essex's Discovery Coast.

Additionally, audio posts, signage and waymarking has also been installed. This work has been undertaken as part of the Maldon District Council’s Dengie Gateway Project funded by the Coastal Community’s Fund.

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

Shut Heath Wood

This fascinating walk explores the myriad of lanes and footpaths encircling the villages of Great Totham and Wickham Bishops, and in springtime provides the perfect opportunity to see Maldon District's most spectacular display of bluebells in Shut Heath Wood Nature Reserve. There are four pubs on or close to the walk route, all of which serve food.

Distance: 5.9 miles (9.5km)
Time Taken: 2 ½ hours

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation
This very attractive walk provides a good opportunity to sample some of the delights of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, such as the scenic Beeleigh Falls and Hoe Mill Lock. The full version of this walk allows you to pass the beautifully situated 13th century church at Ulting.

Distance: Full walk - 8.9 miles. Short walk - 5.9 miles
Time taken: Full - 3 ¾ hours. Short - 2 ½ hours.
New Hall Vineyards, Purleigh
This walk explores the lonely countryside around the hilltop village of Purleigh, and provides an opportunity to visit a working vineyard and an historic World War I aerodrome near Stow Maries. Sections of this walk form part of the long distance St. Peter's Way; look out for the distinctive red logo on many of the footpath signposts.

Distance: 8.7 miles (13.9km)
Time taken: 3 ¾ hours
Tractor Ploughing in Bradwell-on-Sea
WICKHAM BISHOPS & LITTLE BRAXTED

This walk takes in some of the charming scenery around the villages of Wickham Bishops and Little Braxted. The longer version of the walk provides an opportunity to visit one of the smallest churches in Essex, which has an extravagantly decorated interior. There is quite a lot of walking on roads, lanes and pavements, making it a good walk to do after wet weather.

Distance: Full circular walk 5.2 miles and short circular walk 4.1 miles
Time taken: Full circular walk 2 ½ hours and short circular walk 1 ¾ hours
WOODHAM WALTER

This walk starts and finishes in the ancient rural village of Woodham Walter. The views across rural Essex are lovely. The terrain is varied, with arable fields, horse paddocks, woodland and the Woodham Walter Common nature reserve. This thirty-two hectare area of woodland is part of a large network of nature reserves which make up the Danbury Ridge Complex.

Distance: 4.9 miles (7.9km)
Time taken: 2 hours
Beeleigh Falls
This most enjoyable waterside walk provides the perfect introduction to Maldon's countryside and riverside. You will explore the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, see the scenic Beeleigh Falls and walk along the sea wall beside the Blackwater Estuary, with fine views of Maldon. Heybridge Basin (near the halfway point) has a number of opportunities for refreshments.

Distance: 7.25 miles (11.7km)
Time taken: 3 ¼ hours
The Blackwater Rail Trail closely follows the disused Witham to Maldon Railway which opened in 1848 and finally closed in 1968. The track runs from Maldon and goes through Langford and Wickham Bishops before finishing in Witham. Some sections of the track have no public right of way, and there are alternative routes in place for you to follow. The trail is one of several parks and spaces run by Essex Country Council.

The Friends of the Flitch Way have recently renovated the disused railway platform of Langford Halt, four benches were installed, along with two interpretation boards. Along the route, you will be able to see the 19th century Timber Trestle Bridge in Wickham Bishops. There were originally six wooden viaducts which served the single track railway of the Witham to Maldon line. The two remaining viaducts are the last surviving wooden railway bridges in England, and is now listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Distance: 8.1 miles (13km)          Time taken: 3 hours
 

PUB WALKS

The Chequers, Goldhanger

This attractive linear walk takes you from the charming riverside town of Burnham-on-Crouch in a steady climb across the final outlier of the rolling farmland of central Essex, before reaching the ancient town of Southminster; you can then make the return journey to Burnham by train.

Distance: 6 ½ miles (10.4km)
Time taken: 3 hours (without pub stops)

This is an extremely pleasant walk which takes you through attractive Essex farmland and down quiet country lanes. There are many beautiful country houses to look at along the way, and some lovely scenery to admire too. One of the key features of this walk is that it provides the opportunity to visit two historic country pubs which are locally renowned for serving fine ales and excellent food: the Hurdlemakers' Arms in Woodham Mortimer and the Bell in Purleigh. There's also another characterful village pub on the route, namely the Fox & Hounds in Cock Clarks. Pub opening times vary - please check beforehand.

Distance: 6.9 miles (11.1km)
Time taken : 3 ¼ hours (without pub stops)
MALDON REAL ALE TRAIL

Maldon has a long and proud tradition of brewing beer; today the Maldon District boasts three breweries (Maldon Brewing Company, Mighty Oak and Wibblers), all of which produce an excellent range of award-winning ales. This short walk around Maldon provides a perfect opportunity to sample some local beers in four pubs which have good reputations for their range of well-kept ales; most of them also serve food.

Distance: 2.75 miles (4.4km)
Time taken: 1 ¾ hours (without pub stops)
THREE DENGIE PUBS

If you like far-reaching views, attractive countryside, dismantled railway tracks and village pubs, this is the walk for you. The walk allows you to sample three superb examples of village pubs on the Dengie Peninsula (the pubs have varying opening times - check with them beforehand for details). All three of the pubs visited on the walk offer an excellent range of beers (often from local breweries) and all serve food.

Distance: 6.6 miles (10.6km)
Time taken: 2 ¾ hours (without pub stops)

ST. PETER'S WAY

St. Peter's Chapel, Bradwell-on-Sea
St. Peter's Way is a forty-five mile walk that takes you through the countryside of Essex, from Chipping Ongar to the Saxon chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell-on-Sea. The route of St. Peter's Way is clearly signposted and waymarked in both directions. Most of the walk is reasonably flat, but does include kissing gates and stiles.

Beginning at Chipping Ongar, St. Peter's Way takes you through the village of Blackmore, Mill Green, past Margaretting, through Stock and West Hanningfield, East Hanningfield, Bicknacre and Cock Clarks. Heading into the Maldon District, the route takes you through Purleigh and Mundon, past Maylandsea and Mayland, through Steeple, St. Lawrence, Tillingham, and finally the route takes you up the sea wall to St. Peter's Chapel which was built in 654.

This chapel is one of the oldest largely intact churches in England and was built using the remains of a Roman fort called Othona. This was a Saxon Shore Fort which was a heavily defended military installation built in the third century. It was one of nine Roman forts that were located exclusively in the South East of England.
 

DENGIE NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE

On the final stretch of St. Peter's Way, as you walk along the sea wall towards the chapel, you will pass the Dengie National Nature Reserve. This reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is made up of 3105 hectares. The reserve is a large and remote area of tidal mudflat and saltmarsh between the Blackwater and Crouch estuaries near Bradwell-on-Sea. The site is home to nationally and internationally important wintering populations of wildfowl and waders, and in summer supports a range of breeding coastal birds.

The flats between the tides and the saltmarshes at high tide provide extensive feeding areas for these populations. The formation of cockleshell spits, ridges and beaches is of geomorphological importance and shows coastal erosion and deposition processes. There are significant numbers of Knot, Turnstone and Dunlin, as well as good numbers of Oystercatcher, Wigeons, Golden Plover, Curlew, Pintail, Shelduck and Bar-tailed Godwit.
 

FITSTEPS IN THE MALDON DISTRICT

Join one of the many free FitSteps Walks going on around the Maldon District throughout the year. The FitSteps Walks are led by trained volunteers, and are suitable for all abilities, from beginners to seasoned walkers. The walks range between one and four miles and take place along safe, town and country routes. It is a WfH accredited walking for health scheme supported by a partnership including Maldon District Council, NHS Central Essex Community Services, and Provide Community Service Enterprise.