Chappel Viaduct with train. Photo: RT Photography

The Colne Valley

The 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 Beautiful Borough continuing through Chappel, then close to Fordham and West Bergholt before ultimately ending in Colchester Town 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 distace footpaths running through the area - including both the Colne Valley Path and the Essex Way.

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

Stay in the Colne Valley

Wakes Hall Lodges

Enjoy the luxury of your own self-catering holiday lodge surrounded by a 500 acre estate in the tranquil beauty of the Colne Valley; complete with your own private hot tub!

Self-catering with 5 units, £765-£1293 pupw sleeps 1-5

Greenlands Barn

Heavily timbered converted Essex barn for two people in a quiet rural location. Four Star Gold ground floor accommodation with private garden. Ideal for touring or a restful break. Convenient for Colchester, Lavenham and the coast.

Self-catering with 1 unit, £400-£450 pupw sleeps 1-2

Things to do in the Colne Valley

The Colne Valley Path
Walk the Colne Valley Path or The Essex Way

Two long distance footpaths wind their way through the Colne Valley; The Colne Valley Path itself and the Essex Way. Both are perfect ways to explore the area, and can be broken into bitesize 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


Chappel Railway Museum
Travel back to the Golden Age of rail travel

Explore Local Villages

Colne Valley Signs

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 furth 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.


Continue Exploring...

The Colne Valley extends well beyond the borough of Colchester, and by travelling a little further afield there are even more fantastic attractions to discover. All are within easy reach of Colchester Town Centre and perfect for exploring on a longer break in the area.