The Essex Way is a long distance footpath stretching for 82 miles right across Essex. It officially starts in Epping & ends in Harwich, but is signposted both ways. So you can choose to head from the coast and journey inland or start in land-locked Epping & walk to the sea.
Whichever direction you decide to walk in there is a unique hostel waiting to provide low cost comfortable accommodation for you and your group in Harwich. The 1912 Centre, a former fire station, provides great value hostel accommodation for groups of up 26. Situated in the heart of Harwich’s historic area, just 50m to the sea and promenade with all the towns amenities on the doorstep and rail and bus stations nearby, you may well decide to stay for more than one night.
The Essex Way is a lovely walk, 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. It is well signed but it is always best to have maps as a back up. You will need OS Explorer Maps: 184, 196, 195, 183, 174.
If you start in Harwich coast, the route takes you cross country to the Stour estuary with views across to Suffolk. The bustling town of Manningtree comes next, followed by a walk through Dedham vale and the Stour valley – right in the heart of Constable Country. After that you will cross open farmlands and pass thatched cottages and pretty villages, and the tranquil Colne valley, before reaching historic Coggeshall. More idyllic countryside takes you to White Notley and Pleshey, both with a rich history to tell. Then the villages become smaller, the countryside becomes quieter and as you walk the green lanes you can sense the presence of those who walked the way hundreds of years ago. A meandering wander along the banks of the River Roding takes you into Ongar which in turn becomes 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. For much more information visit Essex Walks website.
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