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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



Book Tickets



  • 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


  • 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


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


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


Map & Directions

Road Directions

If you are travelling by car from London, take the A13 to Hadleigh or Southend. If travelling from the north take the M11 to the M25 and then sit the M25 at the A13 junction. If visiting from Colchester or Suffolk enter Essex via the A12.

Public Transport Directions

There are regular rail and bus services between Southend and Hadleigh, and rail services between Southend and Leigh. The c2c service operates between London Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness via Southend. For more information visit – Hadleigh is 2.5 miles north of Leigh Station. There are numerous direct bus services into Hadleigh and Southend between Shoebury, Chelmsford, Basildon, Rayleigh and Stansted. For more visit or

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

Type:Walking Route

Poors Lane, Benfleet, Essex, SS7 2LA

What's Nearby

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