A young couple are cycling through the wooded area of the park.

Change gear and forget the traffic jams

We have suggested some cycling routes which take in just some of the beauty of our county. Bikes provide the perfect opportunity to explore further afield. The maps allow you to pick up the route at any point and follow it in either direction. Some of the maps also provide information on places of interest and attractions to visit along the way together with accommodation and places to eat. However, please remember that these are recommended routes only, and those straying away from it will still find many equally rewarding alternatives.

Essex is full of memorable outdoor moments. Enjoy wind-whipped rides through coastal country parks teeming with wildlife or gently pedal through the rolling landscapes of Constable Country.

Picture of a young woman standing by the pond in Finchingfield sitting on her bike.

Cycling around Finchingfield.

Pedal power to you

  A young woman on her bike in front of Thaxted windmill.

The route meanders through some of the most beautiful north Essex countryside. As with all routes you can start and finish wherever it suits you. Make sure you visit the attractive historic town of Thaxted with its landmark buildings and the ancient market town of Saffron Walden with a rich heritage and many attractions.

  Picture of a young woman with her bike infront of a statue in Braintree.

Braintree has a long and fascinating history - emerging from a Bronze Age valley settlement as an important and flourishing market town located at the crossroads of two Roman roads. Amongst the many attractions you can visit are the Braintree District Museum and the Warner Textile Archive Gallery.

Picture of a couple holding their bikes and standing in front of Hedingham Castle.

Cycle around these villages and you will discover textbook examples of traditional English villages. Finchingfield, described as the ‘most photographed village in England', won many awards for its picturesque setting. Coggeshall has an attractive village centre and is made up of nearly 200 listed buildings, many are timberframed dating back to the 14th century.

Keep riding

A young woman on her bike in front of Colchester Castle.

For a relaxing ride visit Constable Country. Its sublime gently rolling landscape broken by Dedham church and the mills and barns that Constable immortalised in the 19th century can be best explored on foot or by bike. For something more energetic and diverse head for Colchester, a place which offers a happy blend of heritage of international importance together with a strong contemporary atmosphere.

Picture of a woman holding her bike and standing in front of Hylands House.

Chelmsford, known as the birthplace of radio, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan town surrounded by picturesque villages each with their own charm and history. As you cycle towards Maldon the landscape slowly changes revealing the character of Estuary landscape. As you cycle down to the Quay the most impressive and spectacular view spreads in front of you - the graceful and majestic Thames Sailing Barges.

Picture of a sunset and a family group standing around holding their bike.

Home of the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Biking Games, this world- class sporting venue boasts a wide network of bike trails and paths suitable for a range of users and accessible for all. It's one of the largest country parks in Essex and with a mix of woodland, pasture, hay meadow and marsh with hedgerows and ponds. Whatever the weather there is always plenty to do at the park for the whole family.

Explore Lee Valley by bike

The Golden Circle

Walthamstow Marshes

This circular ride aptly starts at one of the most iconic cycling venues in the World – Lee Valley VeloPark. From here you’ll travel north through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before crossing onto the marshes of Hackney, Leyton and Walthamstow. Pedal alongside the beautiful River Lee and take in the scenery and sites along the way including the historically important series of filter beds that were used to purify London’s water in Victorian times and the Waterworks Centre nature reserve which is home to over 500 varieties of plants and one quarter of Britain’s butterfly species.


The Artway Route

Wood carving

Families will enjoy this circular route which sets off from Fishers Green and follows the sculpture trail at River Lee Country Park. Not only are these sculptures great to look at they’re also there to be explored and played on by kids and adults alike. Take a seat on The Giant Chair or imagine you’re exploring the seas in The Viking Ship, all the sculptures are different and just waiting to be discovered!




Fishers Green Foray

A cow at Lee Valley Farm

Cycle around the outer edges of the beautiful 1,000 acre River Lee Country Park and discover the diverse areas that make Lee Valley Regional Park simply unique in the area. Perfect for wildlife lovers, the route passes Lee Valley Park Farms where you can meet the meerkats and dairy cows or why not stop off at Silvermeade on the hunt for the elusive Water Vole that call the area home. One of the longer rides in our collection, this route has lots of stopping points to take a break including the Terrace Bar & Café at Lee Valley White Water Centre where you can enjoy some tea and cake whilst watching dare devils take on the rapids.


Explosive Pedal Power

Royal Small Arms Factory

This route begins with a bang at Gunpowder Park, where munitions were once tested, before heading to up to the ultra-modern Lee Valley White Water Centre where you might catch Team GB training on the rapids. The return leg follows the River Lee Navigation using the tow path, then cutting through Enfield Island Village linking up with the picturesque nature reserves where you’ll find a whole host of different plant species including the beautiful Bee and Pyramidal Orchid which grow between May and June. This route boasts a true mixture of urban, open space and waterways all in one ride.


The Tale of Two Rivers

Rye House Gatehouse

The tale of two rivers follows the River Stort and the River Lee Navigations as it takes in RSPB and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust nature reserves. Cyclists will pass through the picturesque riverside villages of Roydon and Stanstead Abbotts as well as Rye House Gatehouse – one of the first brick built buildings in the country which is rumoured to be haunted by a spirit from the 17th Century, known as the Night Watchman. 




The Cake Escape

A young couple sitting at a table drinking tea.
A group of three young people sitting on their bike and looking at each other.
A little girl on her bike riding along.
A young boy o  his bike is smiling and looking in to the camera.
A little boy with his arms folded over the handle bars and smiling at the camera.
Two young boys with their arms around each other's shoulder are smilingly looking at the camera.
Two young girls riding along a river.
A mother with her two boys holding each a bike and smiling in to the camera.
A young girl with face painting is holding on her bike and smiling.
The Cake Escape logo.

The cake escape is encouraging Essex residents and visitors alike to grab their bikes and cycle through some of the most beautiful places in Essex. The cake escape combines a little exercise with exploration of the countryside and the best of local café culture.

Whether you enjoy cycling, like cake, want to explore the Essex countryside or simply relish a challenge then The cake escape is for you – get on your bike and join the fun!

Cafés throughout Essex have signed up to be part of a new and exciting project to encourage cycling around the county. The challenge is simple. Participants apply on-line for a Loyalty log book, cycle to any of the Cycle Cafés signed up to the project and earn a reward stamp at the till after making a purchase. Each time cyclists collect four stamps in the Loyalty log books, they will receive a free slice of cake at the next participating café they visit.

To participate, find out more or see which cafés are ‘cycle friendly’ please visit the website.

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Featured Country Parks

Danbury Country Park

Chelmsford 0345 603 7624

Hadleigh Park

Benfleet 01702 551072


Featured Nature Reserves