Our team member Megan took the train to Chappel & Wakes Colne for a countryside walk in June...

Here's how she got on!

During a period of ‘OK’ weather in early summer, my partner and I decided to escape the town centre to explore the countryside. 

We hopped on a train and alighted at Chappel & Wakes Colne station which is about a 20 minute train journey from Colchester Train Station via Marks Tey. The station is home to the East Anglian Railway Museum (although we did not visit the museum on this occasion) and was also the starting point of our 3.3 mile walk out into the wild.     

View of the East Anglian Museum Railway Museum from a bridgeWe exited Station Road to the right and roughly followed the railway line north, first alongside the road, and then on public footpaths through fields and woodland. Despite the weather not being the best, it was dry, and thankfully not muddy underfoot.

A warning sign at a level crossing that reads 'STOP LOOK LISTEN Beware of Trains' and a grey concrete sign for a public footpath

We came to a point where we could cross the train tracks and then headed west across more beautiful open fields surrounded by hedgerows bursting with life. We had a brief run in with a hare but neither of us were quick enough with our cameras to catch evidence of this.

A panoramic photograph of a green field of long grass or wheat, lined with pylons, with a dramatic cloudy sky overhead

When the fields ended, and we hit a road, we headed southwards. There was no footpath on this stretch of road, so we exercised caution by walking in single file and were happy to be wearing bright colours. Luckily this part of the countryside is quiet – we may have been passed by 5 cars at most, so it felt pretty safe. On this part of the walk, we passed several houses and cottages, all with delightful gardens to marvel at.

Large white and yellow daisies growing wild in a hedgerow

Honesty time, at this point it became clear I had worn completely the wrong footwear and I was suffering from a blister, so we cut the final part of our walk short, and headed east along the A1124 (a main road, which has footpaths) to complete the loop.

the chappel viaduct viewed from the road which leads to the east anglian railway museum

For those wearing more appropriate walking attire than I, the walk continues down to and along the River Colne, giving you more peaceful fields to cross and stunning views of the Chappel Viaduct as you approach it.

the arches of the chappel viaduct viewed across the river colne from the pub garden of the Swan Inn

Luckily for us, the Viaduct can be viewed from the charming Swan Inn & it's pub garden, where we stopped to rest my feet and shared a pizza and a couple of beers. The perfect ending to the route, whether you cut it short, or complete the whole circuit! We stayed in the Swan’s garden beside the river until it was time to catch our train back to Colchester.

2 beers on a picnic table at the swan inn, and a vegetarian pizza

Went spent about 1 hour 30 minutes walking at a slow pace, but quicker walkers could probably manage the full 3 + miles in this time.

As mentioned some of the walk takes you along country roads with no pathway, also the public footpaths entering fields and woodland were overgrown in some areas, and the ground was uneven underfoot.

There are steps at one point in the walk, as well as a few kissing gates & stiles. Therefore the walk would not be suitable for people using wheelchairs, buggies or for people with limited mobility.

We followed this map from Essex Highways: https://essexhighways.org/uploads/files/public-rights-of-way/walks/chappel.pdf which was relatively easy to follow. Having GPS on our phones helped too!

All in all it was a great little walk for a pair of town folk like us!

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve walked this route before – or if you have any other local countryside walking routes you would like to see up on the blog!


Chappel Viaduct
Industrial Heritage
Chappel Viaduct

Rising up from the horizon on the A1124 you will see the imposing Chappel Viaduct. The Victorian viaduct, with its 32 arches and total length of 346 metres, is thought to be the second largest brick built structure in England.

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