Essex Way Stage 5 - Coggeshall to West Bergholt

Type: Walk
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 1d

Facilities

Routes

  • Length of route (miles) - 13
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About

The Essex Way stretches 82 miles in total from Epping Station to Harwich Old Lighthouse. This fifth stage of the Essex Way is 13 miles long. It starts at Coggeshall and finishes at West Bergholt, Colchester. 

The rivers Blackwater and Colne are an important feature of this walk, and the inland trail link between the two rivers is a simple, if long, way to connect Colchester (where the Colne meets the sea) to Maldon (where the Blackwater meet the sea). Colchester and Maldon are otherwise connected tidally along 24 miles via the Blackwater and Colne estuaries which are divided by the Mersea Island off shore.

The path is most scenic around the River Colne, which is in many parts still navigable. The walker who carries a packraft can take advantage of various launch points, although permissions are needed as most of the river is in private hands. Landowners and businesses along the river do sometimes offer rowing boats for hire but these services can tend to come and go. 

The highlights are the wild poppies around Teybrook Farm, the Jubilee Oak and sitting to watch kingfishers along the River Colne. Further points of interest can be found below.

Content provided by Stephen Neale

Facilities

Catering

  • On-site catering - There is 24hr catering in Colchester and limited catering along others part of the trail.
  • On-site light refreshments - There is 24hr catering in Colchester and limited catering along others part of the trail.

Parking

  • Free Parking - Limited off street parking around Coggeshall, and other villages and towns along the trail.

Routes

  • Accessibility of route - Urban parts of trail around the towns and villages of Colchester are suitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs. Other parts of the trail are not suitable. The terrain is generally flat but can get very muddy in winter. There are some steps and stiles.
  • Countryside - Yes, but some urban
  • Length of route (miles) - 13
  • Linear Route
  • Long Distance Path

Suitability

  • Dog Owners - Suitable for dogs, but must be kept on leads most of the time.
  • Families

Map & Directions

  1. START/END:– Coggeshall
  2. St Nicholas Chapel – touch the red walls that makes up what was once the gatehouse to Coggeshall Abbey. The bricks here are considered to be finest example of early English brickwork. Rarely open so you’ll need to get lucky to see inside. Founded by King Stephen and built by Cistercian monks in the 13th century. The chapel can still be hired for small weddings and baptisms, At the neighbouring Abbey Estate – listen to water trickling north from the footbridge across the River blackwater. The water flows north into The walk east a few yards into the Abbey Estate Livery, where the old Cistercian abbey used to stand. The river fed communal abbey fishponds which kept the Cistercian monks in food. The abbey was originally founded by King Stephen for the Savignac Order from the Mortain region of Brittany, but the order collapsed before the abbey was built.
    St Nicholas Chapel
  3. St Peter Ad Vincula – touch the sun and moon; find the south tower door to see ironwork decor of the lunar and solar movements. The decoration features the midday sun, the sickle moon and a cockerel crowing in the dawn.
    St Peter’s
  4. East Gores to Teybrook Farm – look for bees, wildflowers and butterflies along the fields edges where wild poppies grows beside flowering crops of mauve echium and borage.
    Teybrook Farm
  5. St Barnabas Church – look at the huge tower – the lower three tiers dating from Anglo Saxon times, made from septaria from Walton-on-the-Naze cliffs, flint, and Roman bricks from a local villa.
  6. River Colne – look for kingfishers along the long and wonderful river walk into north Colchester and West Bergholt
  7. Fordham Estate – listen for dear in late summer in the largest communal woodland in Essex.
    Fordham Estate
  8. Cook’s Mill, West Bergholt – relax for a moment in the chocolate box setting of mill and river bridge. Worth the 500 yard diversion south from the Essex Way at West Bergholt. Look out reed warblers around the river edge on the footpath loop anti clockwise back to the way.
  9. END/START: West Bergholt, Colchester CO6 3JB.

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