10 stunning Essex walks to enjoy this autumn

By HarperLees

As unbelievable as it might seem, autumn has arrived. With the longer nights and darker mornings comes the opportunity to enjoy Britain’s countryside at its most spectacular, as leaves turn from green to rich gold, copper and bronze colours.

As temperatures drop, there’s nothing better than wrapping up warm and venturing out for a walk in the glorious autumn landscape to escape from it all. And, where better to do it than Essex, which has some stunning locations offering beautiful landscapes as well as an abundance of wildlife?

Read on to discover 10 great walks to enjoy in the county this autumn.

1. Thorndon Country Park

The park provides the opportunity to enjoy wonderful walks through ancient woodlands. With more than 500 acres of land, there are plenty of walking routes to enjoy whether you want a short stroll or a long walk. Both provide plenty of wildlife to see, including birds that can be spotted around Childerditch Pond. You could also visit the park’s Nature Discovery Centre, which offers an education room and activities.

2. Gernon Bushes Nature Reserve

There is plenty to see within these ancient woodlands, which have ponds, rare marsh plants and flowers. Its paths pass former gravel works that have been transformed into natural bogs, and from there you can spot rare plant species including marsh fern, lady fern, bogbean, marsh valerian, and the pink ragged-robin.

3. Belfairs Woodland

A third of this beautiful 1160 acre location is woodland, some of which is more than 1,000 years old – making it the earliest woodland recorded in Essex. As you walk through the woodland, you’ll see several species of flora and fauna, including several nationally threatened species. You may also spot wildlife such as the dormouse and the great spotted woodpecker.

4. Thameside Nature Park

As you walk through the park, you could see a variety of wildlife including short-eared owls and water voles. You could also enjoy splendid views across the Thames Estuary and visit the Nature Discovery Centre with café. The 120-acre site was once a landfill site but has now been “given back to nature”, providing a habitat for coastal and wetland wildlife, grassland fauna and flora.

5. Epping Forest

Spanning more than 8,000 acres, this green oasis offers nine waymarked circular trails that you can make the most of this autumn.  Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging walk, there’s plenty to choose from. Because much of the forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy, including deer, newts and various birds.

6. Aubrey Buxton Nature Reserve

This beautiful nature reserve is spectacular during autumn. Venture through the ancient woodland, flower meadows or leafy lanes, and you could see a variety of birds including nuthatch, owls and three species of woodpecker. There are also three main ponds, thought to be around 200 years old, where you may see a rare great crested newt coming up for air.

7. Wivenhoe Trail

This 10-mile route runs along the side of the River Colne from The Hythe to Wivenhoe. Starting at Wivenhoe Quay, the walk offers unrivalled views of the river’s salt marshes and mud creeks. Watch oystercatchers, terns and little ringed plovers as they dip and dance over the natural footpath.

8. Norsey Woods

This lovely woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a nature reserve. It is divided by rides and pathways, many of which are thought to date back to the Iron Age. From these you may be able to spot the wood’s wide variety of animals and plants, while enjoying the sounds and scents from the forest floor.

9. The Naze Centre

If you’re looking for a coastal walk this autumn, this is one you should try. With its various walks alongside a number of habitats, you may spot animals and birds including barn owls hunting in the grassland. You may also see the dark-bellied brent geese, sedge warblers, and whitethroat that use the Naze as part of their migration.

10. Hanningfield Reservoir

This is a fantastic place to visit if you want to see wildlife while on a walk. Its 870-acre nature reserve has mature woodlands and wild meadows, making it the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some time with nature. There is a labyrinth of foot trails through ancient oaks and a myriad of bird huts, from where you can watch the swallows and swifts.

Get in touch

We hope you find the suggested walks useful, and take the opportunity to enjoy some bracing walks among nature this autumn. If on the other hand you would like to discuss your wealth or investments please email us on info@harperlees.co.uk or call to speak with us on 01277 350560.