cookie Like most websites, Essex Walks uses cookies.
 By browsing this site you agree to our use of cookies.
  Click to find out more


Essex Walks: Paglesham

  1. Description
  2. Directions
  3. Photos
  4. History

Description & Map

Title: Paglesham
Distance: about 13½ miles
Time taken: 5 hours
Location: Starting at Great Stambridge, 4 miles North of Southend
OS Explorer Map: 176
Grid Ref.: TQ 899 917
Parking:[Limited] In Ash Tree Court, Great Stambridge, SS4 2AX (one car only)
Bus:bus 60 (Southend - Canewdon)
Train: No train services
Refreshment: Stambridge: The Royal Oak
Canewdon: The Anchor Inn and The Chequers
Paglesham Eastend: The Punch Bowl
Paglesham Churchend: The Plough and Sail
PEAR Rating: PEAR Rating Parking: 1/3 Easiness: 3/3 Amenity: 3/3 Refreshments: 3/3

[Click image to enlarge]

OS map extract 
[Click image to enlarge]

Download and print all 3 for your walk: 1. pdf Download Directions PDF
2. pdf Download PDF photo-set
3. pdf Download Paglesham Map PDF
View online on 3 different interactive maps: Link to full screen OS map Paglesham Map (Ordnance Survey)
Link to full screen Google map Paglesham Map (Google)
Bing map Paglesham Map (Bing OS 1:25k)
Additional information: gpx GPX track
Elevation View Elevation Profile
Display local weather (toggle) Paglesham Weather
River Reach, Paglesham

Walk Description  

This is a fairly long walk but with plenty to enjoy along the route.
The scenery is beautiful throughout, with open farmland under the wide Essex sky, paddocks full of friendly horses, tumbledown farm buildings, distant views of St Nicholas Church, Canewdon and then a walk through the village itself; then there are views across the River Crouch towards Burnham, followed by a lovely walk on top of the sea wall alongside Paglesham Pool and Paglesham Reach. There is plenty of birdlife to see, and the boats bobbing around in Paglesham Reach are pretty in the sunshine. The boatyard itself provides a bustling contrast to the rural calm of this walk.


pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here

A. Park in Ash Tree Court, opposite the Royal Oak. This is a small residential road and the parking is limited, but a single car should be able to squeeze in. From there, turn right up the main road past the pub, and look for a small side road 'Stewards Elm Farm Lane'. Follow this as far as the majestic gates, then turn left onto an unsigned footpath (1).
B. This footpath runs south alongside a few paddocks. Walk along this path to the end of the paddocks, then turn right, heading west..
C. As you clear the paddocks, turn right (north) along the field edge so you are heading back north, until you come to the end of the field.
D. At the field end don't go through the gate but turn left so that the small piece of woodland is to your right. Continue on, heading east, until you come to a concrete farm bridge into the field on your right.
E. At this point there are a series of paddocks in front of you. Entry to the first is over a stile right in the corner of the paddock, by the hedge (2). When we walked this route there was an electric fence across the first paddock, with an access point to the right (north) end, using an insulated hook fastening. After this there are 2 more stiles to cross, before exiting the final paddock through (or over) a white 5-bar gate onto a farm track (3).
F. Once on the farm track turn right (north) away from the farm. After a while the track disappears and you find yourself on a footpath with more paddocks on the right. Keep going north until you reach a gate opening onto Apton Hall Road. Be warned; the traffic can go very fast along this lane.
G. Across the road immediately opposite this gate is a track north into a field. Walk along this until you pass some semi-derelict farm buildings belonging to Apton Hall Farm; after these look for the right turn into the farmyard. Walk past some more modern buildings and as you come to the last, you'll see a grassy track into a field on your left. Turn onto this heading north with the hedge on your right hand side.
H. Walk along this field edge and continue straight on into the next field. After a while the hedge on your right stops and you see your first view of Canewdon Church. Keep going north until you come to a hedge at right angles to your path (4). Ahead you can see a distant 5-barred gate; but turn right (east) keeping the hedge on your left, until you come to a gate taking you on to a bridleway.
I. Turn left on the bridleway and follow this until you reach Lark Hill road.
J. On Lark Hill Road, turn left heading north. After 50 yards or so the road takes a sharp left turn, at the junction with the private track to Woodford Meats Farm Shop. Stay on Lark Hill Road heading west for another 70 yards, and cross the small plank-bridge at the footpath sign on the right hand side of the road. This footpath cuts diagonally across the bottom corner of the field, to the hedgeline. Cross over the farm track and through another break in the hedge opposite where the footpath goes straight across the field up towards St Nicholas' Church, Canewdon. (5).
K. Go up to Canewdon Church, through the churchyard (exiting through the larger gate; the kissing gate is locked), past the Village Lock-up, and along Canewdon High Street. Continue straight on along Lambourne Hall Road until you see New Hall on the left.
L. About 200 yards after New Hall, turn left onto a gated track/footpath (6). There's some nice views across gently rolling farmland from this path.
M. Carry on to the end of this footpath, just after the gates to the fishing lake on your right. Then turn right near a fallen tree. This takes you behind the lake: you can see glimpses of it through the trees on your right. Once past the lake, head towards the footbridge you can see slightly to the left, across the field. You are now headed roughly eastwards across a series of fields linked by footbridges.
N. The second footbridge cannot be seen from the first; head in the direction of the farm buildings you can see across the valley until you spot it. Take in the views across the River Crouch!
O. Continue on from footbridge to footbridge: after the last one head for the line of bushes in front of you (7). Before you reach the bushes, turn right towards the farm.
P. Once you get to the farm, go straight ahead between the paddocks and onto a farm track. Exit the farm track by the gate onto Creeksea Ferry Road and turn left. Follow the road as it twists and turns, looking for a footbridge on your right (8). This takes you onto part of the Roach Valley Way.
Q. Follow the path straight ahead onto the marshes, then turn right as the path turns parallel to a line of electricity poles. Keep going for about half a mile, until you come to a gate which takes you onto the sea wall.
R. Turn left onto the sea wall, then after 100 yards or so, turn left again heading north east. You have wonderful views over the ever-changing marshes from here. After about a mile the coastline changes to a southeasterly direction; continue along the sea wall (9). Keep going for another mile until you reach Paglesham Boatyard (10).
S. You can divert here for a walk to the Plough & Sail (11), about half a mile away, or carry on, along the sea wall.
T. Leaving the bustle of the boatyard behind you, continue on in a south-westerly direction for almost a mile to Blackedge Point (12).
U. Keep going along the sea wall for another 3/4 mile to Stannetts Creek (13). Great flocks of birds use this area as a feeding and roosting place, particularly in the winter. Seeing hundreds of birds take to the air simultaneously as you approach is an awe inspiring experience.
V. Carry on westwards along the sea wall until you pass a clump of trees. At this point the sea wall is no longer walkable. Head 50 yards inland to a white shell lane (14), and follow this westwards parallel with the sea wall, and then northwards inland, to Barton Hall.
W. Turn left towards the metalled road and follow this until you see ahead of you a waymarker pointing back on to the sea wall. Don't follow it!
X. Instead, continue on the road, bearing round to the right. After about 50 yards you will come to Hampton Barns Farm; the footpath bears to the right, heading away from the road on a grassy track between a row of Mountain Ash trees, and some Leylandii (15).
Y. As you emerge from the avenue, you can see Great Stambridge in the distance. Continue along the field edge to the road, then turn right to go back to the parking.

pdf Download Description & Directions PDF here


Download PDF photo-set here pdf
1 Turn left to footpath 2 FP stile to left of hedge 3 Farm track
4 Turn right 5 Canewdon 6 Gate to footpath
7 Cross footbridge towards trees 8 Roach Valley Way 9 Sea Wall: Paglesham Pool
10 Paglesham boatyard 11 Plough and Sail 12 Paglesham Reach
13 Stannetts Creek 14 Shell track 15 Hampton Barns


St Nicholas, Canewdon


The church of St Nicholas dates from the 14th century, although local folklore states that the village itself dates from 1016: it is believed to be the site of a camp used by King Canute before the Battle of Assandune, which was the last and one of the most significant battles in allowing Canute to become King of England.

Canewdon has a rich folklore history. It has long been believed to be a centre of witchcraft. One legend has it that while the church tower stands, there will always remain six witches in Canewdon. Another states that if you walk around the church seven times (anticlockwise) on Halloween you will see a witch, and if you do this thirteen times you will disappear. In addition there are many ghost stories within the village, most again central to the church. The most famous ghost is the grey lady who reportedly floats down from the church's west gate towards the river Crouch. Not all the ghosts relate to ancient history: ghosts have been seen at the site of a particularly bad car crash in the centre of the village in 1989.

As you leave the churchyard on this walk you can see to your left the old village lock up, constructed in 1775 and sadly now longer in use.

Lion Creek Nature Reserve

At one time this was a creek on the southern shore of the Crouch estuary. It was cut-off from the estuary by a new seawall, and is bounded on three sides by the old one. The creek contains brackish water and in late summer has an attractive border of salt marsh plants such as Sea Lavender, Golden Samphire and Sea Spurrey. Sea Couch and False Oat are the dominant grasses, with a mixture of tall herbs. Where the grass is shorter, smaller plants can be found, including the localised Slender Birds-foot Trefoil and, on the seawall, Sea Clover.

There are many waders and ducks on the reserve. In winter birds of prey such as Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl hunt over the grassland and seawalls. The meadow alongside the creek supports a range of plants and insects including the Shrill Carder Bee, a national priority species.

Roach Valley Way

Roach Valley Way

The Roach Valley Way is a 23 mile circular route devised in 1986. At its most westerly point it passes through the ancient, peaceful woodlands of Hockley, providing a pleasing contrast to the coastal mudflats and salt marshes of the Roach and Crouch estuaries to the east. The route takes walkers through some of the oldest settlements in Essex, including Ashingdon and Canewdon (both of which are linked to the Saxon king Canute), Paglesham, Rochford and Hawkwell.

The route is supported by staff and pupils from Deanes School in Thundersley, who participated in the inaugural work in 1986, and have been helping with restoration work more recently, in liaison with staff from Essex County Council. The route is now clearly signposted throughout its length.



Paglesham ReachThe Parish of Paglesham consists of 2 hamlets, Church End and East End. Toghether they comprise on of Essex's oldest fishing villages. One of Paglesham's most famous residents was William Blyth (1753 - 1830), who managed to flourish both as a magistrate and as a smuggler. The coast locally was prime smuggling territory, with its creeks and rivers that were sometimes navigable and sometimes just mud, and with easy access to France. A sailor who knew the coast could easily avoid Revenue officers and bring in goods such as gin, brandy, tobacco, and primarily tea, avoiding the excise duty payable on such products.

The Plough and Sail in Paglesham East End has been an Inn for at least 300 years and remains pretty much unchanged since that time, although the price of a pint has gone up a bit. The Punch Bowl in Paglesham Church End is a timber framed 18th century building, probably originally a sail makers, although it has been in use as a pub for at least 200 years. William Blyth a.k.a. 'Hard Apple' is believed to have drunk there regularly, and on one occasion drank a few glasses of wine and then ate the glass!

The smuggling community and good burghers of Pagelsham lived lives that were intertwined - some authorities have suggested that all the inhabitants of Paglesham were involved in 'free trade' in one way or another. On one occasion a local magistrate John Harriott (who founded the Thames River Police) was in France looking for passage home when it occurred to him that he could hitch a lift with the local smugglers. At Dunkirk, the only smugglers he could find were from Kent, but they assured him the Essex men would be in port later that night. They had supper together, and the Kent men proposed a toast "Damnation to all Revenue laws and officers"! Harriott objected - as a JP he couldn't drink to this. Then he had a bet with them that he was right: he pointed out that the end of the revenue laws would mean an end to smuggling, as well. The Kent smugglers conceded, and changed the toast to "Revenue laws and officers for ever!" Soon after the Paglesham men arrived, and Harriott was taken safely home.

Stannets Creek

Stannets Creek was originally a navigable creek from Paglesham but has since been dammed up and now forms an important stretch of water for wildfowl, such as over-wintering dark-bellied brent geese.