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The Best Walks and Hiking Trails in Essex

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Best walks in Essex

Essex is a beautiful county with a wealth of stunning landscapes to explore on foot. From the forest trails of Epping Forest to the sandy beaches of Mersea Island, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the best walks and hiking trails to experience in Essex.

Epping Forest

Forest Walks in Essex

If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil walking experience, the forests of Essex are the perfect destination.

Hylands Park

A beautiful public park located in the county of Essex, England. Covering over 574 acres of land, the park boasts stunning landscaped gardens, woodlands, lakes, and open spaces, making it the perfect destination for a day out with family and friends.

One of the main attractions of Hylands Park is the historic Hylands House, a Grade II* listed mansion that dates back to the 18th century. The house is surrounded by beautiful formal gardens, including a walled garden, rose garden, and pleasure garden, as well as a stunning lake that offers a peaceful setting for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

Garnetts Wood

Just a 30 minute drive from Roydon Marina Village, the wood covers over 35 acres of land and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

The wood offers several nature trails for you to explore, including a wheelchair-friendly path, allowing all abilities to enjoy the stunning natural surroundings. Along the trails, you will encounter a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and wetlands, providing a home to a range of animals, including badgers, foxes, and deer.

Epping forest

Connaught Water – Epping Forest Loop from Debden Green

A picturesque and peaceful walk that takes you through the heart of Epping Forest, one of the largest public open spaces in the Greater London area.

Starting from Debden Green, the walk takes you through a variety of terrains, including woodlands, meadows, and open fields, offering a diverse range of natural surroundings to enjoy. The loop walk is approximately 6 miles long and takes around 2-3 hours to complete. Along the way, there are several picnic areas and benches where you can take a break and soak in the peaceful surroundings. The walk is relatively easy, with some gentle inclines and declines, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Epping Forest – Connaught Water Loop from Loughton

Starting from Loughton, the walk takes you through ancient woodlands, meadows, and open fields, offering a diverse range of natural surroundings to enjoy. Along the way, you will encounter the stunning Connaught Water, a large lake that provides a home to a variety of birds and wildlife, including herons, cormorants, and kingfishers. The loop walk is approximately 7 miles long and takes around 2-3 hours to complete. Along the way, there are several picnic areas and benches where you can take a break and soak in the peaceful surroundings of the Epping Forest.

Hiking Trails in and around Essex

If you are looking for a longer walking experience, the Essex Way and Harcamlow Way are both popular long-distance trails that take you through the beautiful countryside of Essex.

The Essex Way

The Essex Way

A long-distance footpath that runs for 82 miles (132 km), it starts in Epping, in the southwest of the county, and finishes at the seaside town of Harwich in the northeast.

The trail passes through a variety of landscapes, including forests, farmland, river valleys, and coastal marshes. Along the way, you can enjoy views of historic towns and villages, ancient churches and ruins, and the beautiful countryside of Essex. A popular trail with walkers and hikers, and it is usually completed in around 6-8 days. Finish your hike with a stay in one of our luxury hot tub lodges to treat yourself to a well-earned rest.

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Walks near the River Stort

Roydon Marina Village, located on the River Stort, is a great starting point for exploring the countryside around Essex. There are several walking trails that start from here, including the River Stort Walk which takes you along the banks of the river towards Sawbridgeworth. Another popular route is the Roydon Woods Nature Reserve, a 27-acre reserve with ancient woodland, wildflower meadows and a range of wildlife to spot. The Nazeing Common Walk from Roydon Marina Village is also a great option, with views of the River Lea and plenty of birdlife to see. Whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, Roydon Marina Village has something for everyone.

Roydon Country Walk

If you are looking for a longer walk closer to the marina, this is a great option. Roydon Country Walk trail is approximately 5 miles (8 km) long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete, depending on your pace. It is a circular route that takes you through the countryside and woodland around Roydon, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

The trail starts at Roydon Village Hall and follows a mixture of footpaths, bridleways, and country lanes, passing through farmland and woodland, as well as some small villages and hamlets. Along the way, you can see several historic landmarks, including the ruins of Roydon Castle, which date back to the 11th century, and St. Peter's Church, a Grade II listed building that was built in the 12th century.

The trail also takes you through some areas of outstanding natural beauty, including the River Stort Navigation, a canal that was built in the 18th century to transport goods from London to Hertfordshire. Overall, the Roydon Country Walk is a lovely way to explore the beautiful countryside around Roydon and to enjoy some fresh air and exercise in a peaceful and tranquil setting.


Essex is a fantastic destination for walking and exploring. With a range of stunning landscapes to discover, from leisurely country parks to forest paths, there is something for everyone. So, lace up your boots and hit the paths

If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in our guide to dog-friendly stays. or our Lakeland Leisure Estate walks guide around our sister locations to stay


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