Colne Valley

The Colne Valley stretches from Great Yeldham in Colchester's neighbouring Braintree district, following the path of the River Colne through nearby villages including Castle Hedingham, Halstead and Earls Colne.

At Wakes Colne, it passes into Colchester's City Limits continuing through Chappel, then close to Fordham and West Bergholt before ultimately ending in Colchester City Centre.

Highlights of the area include the East Anglian Railway Museum, the spectacular Chappel Viaduct, and miles of scenic countryside which lends itself perfectly to the long distance footpaths running through the area - including the Essex Way.

The local villages hide numerous countryside pubs, picturesque churches, as well as typical English countryside and fragments of ancient woodland.

The Essex Way is a great walk to explore the area, and can be broken into bite-size chunks to tackle on a single trip. There are also a selection of shorter station to station walks along the Sudbury line

Taking pride of place in the valley is the 346 metre long Chappel Viaduct. It's 32 arches make it the second largest brick built structure in England. Trains still run regularly across it into Chappel and Wakes Colne Station - home of the East Anglian Railway Museum. The Museum is great to visit at any time of year but keep an eye out for their special events, including vintage fairs, days out with Thomas and Friends, and the ever popular Chappel Beer Festivals.

Nearby, Chappel Galleries is a popular commercial gallery focussing on fine art by artists with a local connection.

There's plenty of nature to explore close to the villages and significant woodland in the valley includes Iron Latch Wood, Hillhouse Wood and Fordham Hall Estate

Jump in the car (or take a bus) and head down the winding A1124, historically the old coaching route to Cambridge and complete with the strong selection of pubs and watering holes that you would expect from such a route.

Passing through villages such as Fordham Heath and Eight Ash Green, which enjoy a lively music festival in the summer months, you'll discover half-timbered pargetted houses typical of East Anglia lining the road, and picturesque village churches tucked away off the main track.  

Travel a little further from the road and you'll find West Bergholt, home of the historic St Mary's Church (managed by the Churches Conservation Trust), and the scenic Hillhouse Wood which bursts with seas of bluebells for a few weeks in the early spring.


For over 50 years the East Anglian Railway Museum has been transporting visitors of all ages back in time to discover the unique history of the region’s railways. The site covers over 10 acres, you can explore our Victorian station, goods shed and signal boxes to see how passengers and freight…

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. It was built between 1847- 1849 as part of the Colchester and Stour…