A Breath of Fresh Air
You are never far from luscious landscapes here and that's because the town is surrounded by havens of green space. Take time out from the bustle of the town centre with a visit to the classic Victorian Castle Park at the end of the High Street, awarded a Green Flag for its high standards.
Any gardening fan must visit the world famous Beth Chatto Gardens - inspirationally transformed over four decades with plants suited to the conditions. Don't miss the opportunity to take home some plants as souvenirs from the nursery, a favourite haunt of television gardeners!
At High Woods Country Park (once a Royal hunting forest) on the edge of town, you can take a marked walking trail through the greenery. Then soak up even more nature at a Local Nature Reserve. Fingringhoe Wick has a full events programme including children's activities related to its grassland, heathland, estuarine and freshwater habitats while Abberton Reservoir is a major place for bird watching and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The Town to Sea Trail takes you on a short, two and a half mile, journey from the town centre through to the historic port of the Hythe. Discover more about the areas heritage and wildlife through the fourteen unique, hand forged artworks located along the route.
If you enjoy walking then why not visit http://www.walkcolchester.org.uk/the-map which can help you plan your walks around Colchester, then afterwards you can add a walk or add photos to share with others.
The Dedham Vale has the official status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is perfect cycling and walking country and is the only way to really appreciate Constable's landscapes. Delight in discovering this quintessential English countryside at a more relaxed pace, the way that Constable himself did by taking The Painters' Trail, a cycle route taking in scenes and skies so favoured by some of Britain's leading artists. The Dedham Hopper Bus is running again in 2013 please click here to view this years timetable. It will start operating on the 2nd July and will stop at the end of September. More details will be published shortly.
Cycling art lovers will also like The Viewfinder Trail, a 17 mile cycle route around Colchester featuring signs in the landscape with contemporary impressions of the views en-route.
Or maybe it's simply being outdoors at one of our attractions or events, this section can help you get away from it all, get out & about or just get some fresh air.
With scenic coastal paths, quiet country lanes and woodland trails for all standards of rider, exploring Colchester and its surrounding area by bike can be as adventurous as you like with Outdoor Hire Centre. Why not hire a picnic bike (Classic Dutchies accessorised for pampered picnicing), shop in the farmers markets for your lunch and find your idyllic picnic spot whether it's under the Willow by the river or in a quiet corner of field, you'll find it near Colchester. Cruise quiet lanes, perhaps try the a section of the 'Painters Trail' (or all of it!) following Constable, Gainsborough through Dedham and beyond. Or cycle to some of the best coastal spots around, stopping only at traditional country pubs, fabulous tea shops and wonderful beaches as you explore Colchesters great outdoors with bikes hired from Outdoor Hire Centre.
For rentals of a day or more, Outdoor Hire Centre deliver your bikes to your hotel, guesthouse, campsite or holiday cottage at the start of your hire and collect them again at the end of the hire period.
Shorter, 'hourly' adventures can be enjoyed at any of their 'pop up hire centres' located at various times in Dedham, Mersea, Colchester and Marks Tey, for details please click here.