Colchester and the surrounding area has plenty of beautiful landscapes and parks for an afternoon stroll or a proper hike.
Heritage Trail & Guided Walks
The Ancient Colchester App developed by Colchester & Ipswich Museums also allows you to wander around Colchester Town Centre on a Heritage Trail and bring historic sites to life.
You can follow fascinating tree trails in various area in Colchester, a walk which changes every season!
- Join a scheduled tree walk at Castle Park or Highwoods Country Park, or pick up your own self-guided tree trail at the Visitor Information Centre.
- Discover the International history of trees in the University of Essex's Wivenhoe Park.
- Many of the gardens & parks in Colchester and the surrounding area have fascinating trees to discover, such as Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum, Green Island Gardens and Beth Chatto Gardens.
- You can even discover an 800 year old tree affectionately known as "old Knobbley" in nearby Mistley!
Town to Sea Trail
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. Download the Town to Sea Trail leaflet before you go to discover more about the area's heritage and wildlife through the fourteen unique, hand forged artworks located along the route, or even print off your own Town to Sea Family Activity Sheet for the way!
If you're up for a longer hike, the Town to Port Trail also follows the River Colne all the way from Colchester to Wivenhoe.
Explore Colchester or Dedham with one of our Treasure Trails, a fun activity for all the family. Follow the trail, solve the clues, see the sights and be in with a chance to win a cash prize. A perfect way to explore and have fun.
Choose from a Murder Mystery themed treasure trail of Colchester or a Treasure Hunt themed trail of Dedham. Trails are available to purchase from the VisitColchester Information Centre.
Fixing the Link
A one mile walking route links Colchester main railway station to the town centre.
On your journey you’ll discover a series of route markers combined with information plaques, revealing historical points of interest along the way.
The 20 minute walk crosses the River Colne, passes through the site where North Gate once stood, one of the six Roman gates in our town wall, and takes you past the landmark building, St Peter’s Church.
The Dedham Vale has the official status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is perfect for cycling and walking, and this is the best 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 following The Painters' Trail, a cycle route taking in scenes and skies so favoured by some of Britain's leading artists.
To help keep the area special and the traffic noises at a low, public transport is the best way to get to Dedham. For an ideal hike, we recommend taking the train from Colchester to Manningtree, then walking across the beautiful landscape, and finally stopping off for a well-deserved break in Dedham town.
Follow the River Colne down to Mersea Island, home to the Colchester native oyster, and the ideal place to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Go for a paddle on the beach, bird-watching in Cudmore Grove Country Park, or simply for a walk across the tranquil island.
Easily accessible by car or public transport from Colchester Town Centre, Mersea Island is ideal for a peaceful day out surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
Mersea Island is also a great place to discover local produce - a platter of fresh Mersea seafood, with glass of local wine!
Long Distance Footpaths
There are 3 long distance footpaths which pass through the Colchester area.
The Essex Way is an 81 mile walk from Epping to Harwich, which will lead you through ancient woodlands, open farmland,tree-lined river valleys and leafy green lanes, visiting historic towns and villages along the way.
The Colne Valley Path is a 22.5 mile walk from Great Yeldham to Colchester, which takes you through the valley, where you can take in the amazing scenery including the Chappel Viaduct and discover some quaint villages along the way.
The Stour Valley Path is a 60 mile walk following the River Stour through Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.