Saffron Trail Stage 7 – Belfairs Wood, Hadleigh to Southend Pier

Type: Walk
Duration: 8h - 1d

Facilities

Routes

  • Length of route (miles) - 8
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About

The seventh and final (or first if walking north) stretch of the Saffron Trail is 8 miles long. It starts from the entrance to Great Wood, in Hadleigh, and ends at Pier Hill.

The path follows pavement and then crosses the A13, before hugging the line of the River Thames and the England Coast Path for the last 6 miles.

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 hills of Castle Point are the best river views in England. The sea-level, coast walk is almost as impressive, dominated by the smell of cockles, Thames mud, low tide creeks and fishing boats. Southend Pier is a spectacle that needs to be ridden rather than seen. 

The highlights of this stretch are the hills. Hadleigh Country Park hosted the 2012 Olympic Mountain Biking events, and the peaks tower surprisingly high over the Thames estuary.

Look out for seals from old Leigh to Southend. You can go out onto the mud flats at low tide to find oysters.

Please see below some of the other highlights between Hadleigh and Southend.

Content provided by Stephen Neale

 

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Facilities

Catering

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

Parking

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

Property Facilities

  • Public toilets - John Burroughs Playground, Hadleigh, Benfleet SS7 2NQ Hockley Woods Car Park, Hockley SS5 4RQ Belfairs Park, Leigh-on-Sea SS9, UK Bell Wharf Toilets Shorefields - on Western Esplanade next to Palmeira Arches Café Toulouse, Western Esplanade, Southend

Routes

  • Length of route (miles) - 8
  • Linear Route
  • Long Distance Path
  • Typical duration of route - 1 day (8 hours)
  • Woodland

Suitability

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

Map & Directions

  1. START/END:– The entrance to Great Wood, Poors Ln, Hadleigh, Benfleet, SS7 2LA
  2. Great Wood – look for rare wood ants. Although in decline nationally, they thrive here. The insects can be seen building giant nest mounds in spring between the sweet-scented bluebells
    Great Wood
  3. Adders Hill – adders are common in warm weather, but mostly around the Thames’ lower Hadleigh Marsh below. Best seen on a warm, quiet day in late spring. Great views from on top for ship watching, west along the river to London, and east to the mouth of the estuary.
    Adders Hill
  4. Hadleigh Castle – scramble around the ruin of a 13th century castle, perched above the Hadleigh marshes. The castle was built by Hu-bert de Burgh, refortified by Edward III and more recently became a post for customs officials looking out for smugglers.
    Hadleigh Castle
  5. Belton Hills – watch the sunset over Hadleigh Castle and Coryton from the dead-end road over Belton Hills.
    Belton Hills
  6. Leigh cockle sheds – taste local seafood after the trek down from Belton Hills. There are four pubs beside the river and cobbles.
    Leigh cockle sheds
  7. Grand Parade Pool – enjoy a low tide paddle or dip in a Victorian paddle pool. Also good for crabbing and shrimping. Nets and lines are sold in nearby kiosks
    Grand Parade Pool
  8. The Crowstone – touch the eight-metre tall obelisk that once marked the boundary of the City of London’s control over the River Thames. The current stone is almost 200 years old and is best seen at low tide.
    The Crowstone
  9. START/END:– Pier Hill, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1EA

Along This Route

  1. Brings to life the fascinating past of the longest pleasure pier in the world. Artefacts,…

  2. The impressive remains of a mighty fortress constructed over seven centuries ago;…

  3. Hadleigh Park offers something to everyone, it is both beautiful and diverse with one of…

  1. If you walk along Southend-on-Sea's High Street, towards the sea, your eye will be drawn…

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Along This Route

  1. Brings to life the fascinating past of the longest pleasure pier in the world. Artefacts,…

  1. The impressive remains of a mighty fortress constructed over seven centuries ago;…

  2. Hadleigh Park offers something to everyone, it is both beautiful and diverse with one of…

  3. If you walk along Southend-on-Sea's High Street, towards the sea, your eye will be drawn…

Previous Next

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