Saffron Trail Stage 6 – Battlesbridge to Belfairs, Hadleigh

Type: Walk
Duration: 8h - 1d

Facilities

Routes

  • Length of route (miles) - 12.5
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About

The sixth stretch of the Saffron Trail is 12.5 miles long. It starts at Battlesbridge and finishes at the entrance to Great Wood, Hadleigh. 

This path is impressive for the Crouch riverside between Battlesbridge and Hullbridge, but the watery parts are again trumped by the ancient oak woodlands around the hills at Hockley and Belfairs.

The Saffron Trail stretches 70 miles in total from Saffron Walden to Southend, passing through five county districts: Uttlesford, Chelmsford, Rochford, Castle Point and Southend.

The Rochford, Southend and Castle Point sections of trail are places to suck in woodland air and sea views. English bluebells, ransoms  and nettle tops in spring, overwhelm the taste buds and nostrils. From Hockley Wood south look out over the Thames Estuary and Southend Centre’s tower blocks; from the north, the Crouch Estuary is visible, almost as far as Burnham.

Hockley Wood is probably the highlight. It’s best seen in late autumn/early winter, once leaves have fallen and the fresh compost is overrun with fungi, slugs and rustling blackbirds.

Look out for red kite, buzzard and hobby. Muntjac are common but rarely seen as they’re illusive and fast.

Some of the other highlights between Battlesbridge and Hadleigh are featured below:

Please note: "A temporary footpath closure is in place across the railway line leading out of and into Blounts Wood as of May 9, 2022. Take the alternative crossing over the railway bridge (51.606276, 0.628464) by taking a short detour from the Saffron Trail along the footpath into Blounts Farm (51.604939, 0.632144). Follow the hill up towards Hockley Woods where the Saffron Trail can be re-joined at the entrance to Valley Forge Farm, High Rd, Hockley, SS5 4TA (51.600785, 0.633564)."

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Disabled access - Hockley Woods Car Park, Hockley SS5 4RQ

Catering

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

Parking

  • Free Parking - Limited off street parking around Danbury and Hadleigh.
  • Parking with charge - Public car parks at Hadleigh and Danbury

Property Facilities

  • Public toilets - Car park, Pooles Ln, Hullbridge, Hockley SS5 6PA John Burroughs Play Ground, Hadleigh, Benfleet SS7 2NQ Hockley Woods Car Park, Hockley SS5 4RQ Belfairs Park, Leigh-on-Sea SS9, UK

Routes

  • Accessibility of route - Urban parts of trail around the towns and villages of Hockley, Eastwood and Belfairs 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) - 12.5
  • Linear Route
  • Long Distance Path
  • Typical duration of route - 1 day (9 hours)
  • Woodland - Some tree cover at intervals along the trail

Suitability

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

Map & Directions

  1. START/END:– Battlesbridge. Hawk Hill, Battlesbridge, Wickford, SS11 7RN
  2. Hullbridge – paddle the River Crouch, a waist-high low tide ford across to South Woodham Ferrers. Care needed as the tidal currents are strong at all times. Good place for launching kayaks with free car park nearby.
  3. Blounts Wood – smell bluebells in spring. A small wood, that is notoriously difficult to navigate without getting lost, which is no bad thing if you carry a pack lunch.
    Blounts Wood
  4. Home Farm – take in one of the finest river-valley views in Essex – an 80 metre elevation over the Crouch. Best on a hot summer day when the breeze is cool.
    Home Farm
  5. Hockley Woods – tramp around one of largest surviving wild woods in Essex. Best in autumn after chestnuts and hazelnuts have fallen. Busiest in spring when the woods are full of bluebells.
    Hockley Woods
  6. Mount Bovers – star watch over the Roach Valley, Blatches Farm. Views out to Southend town from one of the darkest points on the trail. Move along the wooded tree line to find better lookouts.
    Mount Bovers
  7. Dodds Wood – listen to the rush of Prittle Brook after or during rainfall. The water meanders its way from Dodd’s Wood, into Great Wood and, out into the River Roach, 6 miles east on the Prittle Path via Priory Park.
    Dodds Wood
  8. Poors Lane Bridleway – look for snowdrops. They bloom here first in early spring before the daffodils and bluebells, along a ⅓ mile of ancient bridleway that was once an ancient salt route and smugglers track
    Poors Lane Bridleway
  9. END/START:– The entrance to Great Wood. Poors Ln, Hadleigh, Benfleet, SS7 2LA

Along This Route

  1. The tiny octagonal cottage based on the design of the 17th century Dutch settlers must be…

  2. A 280 acre ancient woodland, managed for the benefit of wildlife and the public.…

  3. Housed in a 14th century timber framed building in the centre of the High Street is a…

  1. The Rayleigh Windmill is a Grade II listed building more than 200 years old and an…

Previous Next

Along This Route

  1. The tiny octagonal cottage based on the design of the 17th century Dutch settlers must be…

  1. A 280 acre ancient woodland, managed for the benefit of wildlife and the public.…

  2. Housed in a 14th century timber framed building in the centre of the High Street is a…

  3. The Rayleigh Windmill is a Grade II listed building more than 200 years old and an…

Previous Next

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