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Essex Walks

  1. The Essex Way
  2. Instructions
The Essex Way - Backwards

The Essex Way: Backwards!

The Essex Way is a long distance footpath stretching for 82 miles right across Essex. Although it officially starts in Epping and ends in Harwich, the Essex Way actually is signposted both ways, so Essex Walks thought it would be nice to start at the coast and head inland. The route is lovely, taking you through ancient woodland, open farmland, tree-lined river valleys and leafy green lanes, with plenty of picturesque and historic villages along the way. We decided to break the route into sections so that each represented a moderately demanding walk of around 8 - 12 miles, and which could be accessed via environmentally friendly public transport. So each section of the Essex Way presented here starts and stops either within half a mile of a train station, or near a bus stop with a regular service to a major town. We have tried to indicate refreshment places along the route as well.

Hover cursor over links below to display each Essex Way section on the map.
Click on a link for detailed map and walk directions and photographs.

The Essex Way
 View entire long distance path
on fullscreen map:
Link to full screen os map The Essex Way Map (OS)
Link to full screen Google map The Essex Way Map (Google)
Elevation View Elevation Profile
pdf  PDF Guide to The Essex Way 

Essex Way sign Campaign to Protect Rural England

Walk Description

The Essex Way was conceived after a competition organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England in 1972, and the original dark green CPRE Essex Way plaques can still be seen on some parts of the route. However, these signs have been mostly superseded by Essex County Council plaques displaying two red poppies on a white disc.


Our version of the Essex Way starts on the historic Harwich coast, then takes you cross country to the Stour estuary with views across to Suffolk. Bustling Manningtree is next, followed by a stroll through Dedham vale and the Stour valley - right in the heart of Constable Country. Next, there are open farmlands, thatched cottages and pretty villages, then the tranquil Colne valley, before reaching historic Coggeshall. A further section of quiet countryside takes you to White Notley and Pleshey, both with a rich history. Then the villages become smaller, the countryside becomes quieter, and the green lanes retain a sense of the foot travel they have witnessed for hundreds of years. A beautiful meandering wander along the banks of the River Roding takes you into Ongar, and finally there is a woodland stroll through Epping Forest. The walk uses footpaths and bridleways in the main, with some lane walking and occasionally, some sections along the roadside.
The Essex Way is marked by waymarkers and fingerposts bearing the poppy insignia for most of its route and really, you don't need detailed descriptions to find your way. But here and there waymarkers are missing, and at certain times of year they might be obscured by vegetation; also some people like the reassurance of written instructions in case they take a wrong turn. The walk is covered by OS Explorer Maps: 184, 196, 195, 183, 174.
All in all, we hope these directions will be useful.


How to Use this Section


Key to icons used on the Essex Walks OS, Bing & Google maps :

  • parking Parking
  • Scenic view Scenic view
  • Panoramic view 360° Panorama
  • Food available Food
  • Rail station Railway Station
  • Bus stop Bus stop
  • Pub Pub
  • WC Toilets
  • Info Information
  • 1 Direction No. 1
  • 2 Direction No. 2
  • 3 Direction No. 3  etc etc

The full list of Essex Walks on this website is available under the main menu 'Short Walks' and 'Long Walks' links. 'Short' walks are between 3 and 19 miles long and are usually circular. 'Long' walks are 20 or more miles long. These include Long Distance Footpaths, such as the Centenary Circle, which have been divided into sections that take no more than a day, starting/stopping at convenient public transport links. Click on any one of them to get more details.

For each walk you will find:

The route map is interactive: you will see various icons along the route. The numbered ones tie back to the cross-referenced photos and show important points along the routes. The photos come up as a thumb-nail with a brief description, for more detail click on the thumb-nail and the picture will expand so you can see it more clearly. Click the back button to return to the route.

Other icons are explained in the key.

Once you have decided which route you want to walk, you can download and print off a pdf of the directions and photos to take with you.


Printing Maps

You can also print off a copy of the route map. The description page of each walk has an Adobe PDF document with a screenshot of the route on an Ordnance Survey map. Click on the link marked pdf Download Map PDF to view and print off a copy. However, these maps are fixed in scale and size - so you might want to use the interactive map, where you can zoom in on different parts of the route to get more detail and print these off separately. The Bing map for each walk will display the route on an 1:25K scale which has the best detail for walking.

If you are printing the screen direct from your browser, we would suggest using the Firefox Firefox browser for the most reliable results. When printing from your browser, you may want to optimise the map before printing. Drag the map so that the route appears on the top left of your screen. Go to Print Preview: you may need to toggle between portrait and landscape, and you may wish to alter the % print size. Due to the layered nature of OpenLayers graphical rendering, sometimes the map will not display in Print Preview. This can sometimes be remedied by playing with size / orientation settings in Print Preview. Allow time for all the map tiles to load before trying to print. Early versions of Google Chrome and Safari for Windows fail to produce consistent results in rendering the full screen maps.

Alternatively, for Windows 7 and Vista users, you can capture the screen or a selection of it with the " Snipping Tool " and print it out with Paint or other graphic program such as Picture Viewer or Irfanview . To use the Snipping Tool, first get the walk route displayed on the full screen OS Map, then go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool and drag the cursor around the area you want to capture. The captured map image can then be saved as a .PNG, .JPG or .GIF file for printing off.

Fold up the map, directions and photos and put them in your pocket, and go off and enjoy your walk, unencumbered!